When Glenda Miller goes to the grocery store or is out and about in Gettysburg, she seems to know everybody.
That’s because after 49 years at WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital – almost half of the time the hospital has been open – Glenda has been a kind, steady presence on its floors and imaging department, caring for countless people in her community.
Glenda, 69, was born at the hospital 31 years after it opened and has worked there as a licensed practical nurse since 1972. Other than a brief period she spent working at a local nursing home, it is the only job she has ever held.
She has no plans to retire from the hospital, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
“I love what I am doing,” she said of her current role working in the imaging department. “I am learning every day. I get the time to spend with patients. I have regular patients I get really attached to. Some I saw as children and now I see them as adults. It is fun.”
Her colleagues – physicians, her supervisor, co-workers, students who work with her – simply cannot say enough about her quiet, caring manner.
When Charlene Rosario started an ultrasound internship at WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, Johnna Ames, ultrasound team leader, made sure Charlene met Glenda, “who knows the department and its procedures like the back of her hand. She wanted me to observe her movements as she set up for procedures as well as interactions with both patients and staff.”
Charlene learned so much more than how to set up for procedures from Glenda.
“The highlight of the patient experience with Glenda is the rapport she establishes with them. Patients have arrived for their procedure with home goods they are eager to share with Glenda, after making a recipe she suggested during the prior procedure,” Charlene said. “Glenda is a visionary. She is always one step ahead. It speaks volumes when doctors, technologists and patients all want to know, ‘Where is Glenda?!’ A day off at work for Glenda is a day serving others elsewhere.”
Dr. Joseph C. Jones, a retired radiologist at WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, said Glenda “provided exceptional attention not only to the technical aspects of our procedures but to the well-being and comfort of patients.”
Glenda intervenes to reassure anxious patients when they need medication for sedation before a procedure, working to calm children as well as elderly or confused patients.
“Glenda’s intuition and inquisitiveness has been helpful during many procedures, when an astute suggestion was whispered quietly from the background,” Jones said, noting Glenda is always concerned about her co-workers as well, reaching out to a busy team member by saying, “You missed your lunch. May I get you something from the snack bar before your next case?”
“I have greatly appreciated her generous heart. She brings the love and care that she has for her family with her to work each day,” Jones said.
Miller said she has gotten to know the hospital well during her years there, working on a medical surgical unit, the maternity unit and the pediatrics unit before ending up in imaging. Over 49 years, the hospital building has changed, patient rooms have changed and procedures have changed. Glenda experienced the move from paper charts to an electronic medical record for patients. She has seen technology evolve, offering patients more treatment options.
Outside of work, Glenda, who is married and has a grown son, has been active in the Boy Scouts and 4-H in the community. She still works with a 4-H group that makes blankets for children in the hospital.
Glenda is not one to say much about what has led to her long tenure or unique success at her job. We will let her co-worker Johnna Ames, have the final word on that.
“She has adapted to so many changes,” Ames said. “She loves anything we throw at her. She learns from everyone and at any level. I wish everyone could be as genuine and nonjudgmental as she is. I’m grateful to work and learn from her as well. Most people her age are worried about what hobbies and retirement – not Glenda! She is selfless and caring at home and at work. She is a humble soul. She works circles around people a third her age. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone like her.”