Hospital honors veteran nurse

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 16, 2006

If Forrest Gump met this Ginny, he’d probably fall in love with her too. After all, it’s obvious her co-workers love her. They made her the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority’s 2005 Employee of the Year.

“I was shocked. I didn’t have any idea,” Ginny Long said. “I figured someone else would win.”

Long, who had been named LPN [Licensed Practical Nurse] of the Year and Employee of the Month a few times before, said she never expected to be the Employee of the Year in her 30 years as a BWWMH employee.

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“I was LPN of the year three or four years ago, but I never saw this coming,” Long said. “There are some great employees here and they had to choose between 12 of them.”

THA employees selected the winner from a list that included all of 2005’s Employees of the Month.

“This award is extremely tough to vote on because you have twelve very dedicated, committed folks from which to chose and the most important part of that is that this award is chosen by your peers,” CEO Mike Marshall said. “It’s not something I have a vote in, nor do the division directors or department managers. It’s strictly chosen by your co-workers. That to me is the biggest thing.”

Colleagues describe Long as caring, dependable and kind. Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital director of public relations Chrissy Brooker calls her fun, helpful and cheerful.

“I just can’t imagine her saying no,” Brooker said. “I don’t see that coming out of her mouth.”

BWWMH employee Rebecca Walker has worked with Long for almost five years and believes that the award couldn’t have gone to a better person.

“I thought she would win. She’s a good co-worker and she’s always willing to do what it takes for the patients,” Walker said. “She’s always willing to help us out so we never have to worry about whether things get done or not.”

“I love working here. It’s my life. It’s a good feeling when you leave work at the end of the day knowing that you’ve helped not just the patients, but their family members too,” Long said. “I enjoy the hospital and my co-workers and I wouldn’t work anywhere else.”

Having worked for five years together, Long and Walker have shared many fun times in the halls of BWWMH.

“I remember when we played that April Fools Day joke on Dr. Dismukes.” Long giggled. “This floor isn’t that busy so we usually have very few charts. But that day we filled Dr. Dismukes buggy up with empty charts and when he came in that morning and saw that thing filled with charts, he almost went nuts.”

But Long doesn’t just enjoy her time with co-workers, she said she also values moments spent with every one of her patients.

“I’ve always done med-surge nursing and there hasn’t been just one patient in particular to make my day,” she said. “But I’ve always loved old people. Even when I was young, I loved them.”

After growing up in Dayton, Long’s one and only move was to Demopolis, where she has seen the hospital go from a one floor building with 3 intensive care unit beds to the structure which stands today.

“I never thought Bryan Whitfield would grow the way it did before my eyes. It’s totally different and it’s something I never thought this hospital would be,” she said. “Mr. Marshall is being a great administrator and I hope he doesn’t leave. Without him, we wouldn’t have the new doctors and specialists that we have now.”

Although her daughter is in school at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Long said she has no plans to move from the small city she has come to love.

“I’ve thought about leaving in the past, but I just can’t. This is my home,” she said. “These years have flown by so fast and I am going to be here until I can’t walk anymore. Then, I’ll be a Pink Lady.”