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Retired nurses return to hospital to give helping hand

Retired nurses return to hospital to give helping hand

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Retired nurses Barb Besecker (left) and Susie Delph return to help at the hospital.

The call went out for help, and they answered.

Two registered nurses, Barb Besecker and Susie Delph, who both retired in 2020 from Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, were asked to return to the hospital to help with COVID-19 vaccinations. Both responded with a ‘yes.’

Besecker said that she was called in late November around Thanksgiving telling her of the need at the hospital. She was told they didn’t want to take a nurse off the floor and thus were inviting retired nurses to help with the process of vaccinating the employees and medical staff.

“When I heard about it, I was happy to do it,” Besecker noted, committing three to four months to help the hospital.

Likewise willing to jump in and do her part, Delph shared that “when you see all this going on with COVID and see what the nurses are going through, I thought this was the least I could do to help nurses. I couldn’t be on the front lines, but I could maybe slow down the front lines,” she said.

Not only have the nurses that have returned provided that tangible help of giving vaccinations, but Delph noted that “coming back, a lot of us have helped with morale of the staff and let them know (we) are still backing them.”

Besecker retired in May 2020 after serving at the hospital in the medical/surgical unit. Watching her mom, who was also a nurse, is what inspired her to become one as well, she shared.

“She inspired me and she always knew what to do.”

Besecker credits her mom for her strength and her kindness from her dad. That combination has helped in her nursing career.

Starting out babysitting and then granny sitting, Besecker said she became a candy striper and then a nursing assistant, which she liked, but she wanted to do more and therefore chose to go into nursing. She became a bedside nurse, she shared, because she “always wanted to serve and care for people.”

Besecker remained a bedside nurse her entire career because, as she shared, “I felt that was my gift and talent from the Lord. I feel I have a lot of patience and empathy.”

She also expressed her thanks for always being blessed with good health and for her loving and supportive husband, Jim.

Delph, who was nicknamed ‘Mama Sue’ during her time at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, retired in January 2020 after a nursing career which started at the hospital’s former location on East Center Avenue. She noted that she “moved the first ICU patient over from the old hospital to the present.” She worked in the ICU for 13 years, after which she went to the emergency room where she worked 10 years, and then her final move to the recovery room where she retired.

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Delph attributes being drawn to help others to her having to remain at the hospital until she was about five years old, along with her desire to help take care of animals.

“I thought I would either be a veterinarian or a nurse,” she said.

Later in life her grandfather became sick, and Delph shared that she stayed there in the waiting room. It was this experience, along with the nurses who took care of her for so long when she was young, that “just drew me to that aspect of life (I was) called to be a nurse," she said.

Her career of helping others has also gone beyond the hospital walls. Delph also served for 32 years as a first responder with the Lake Norman Fire Department. Already a nurse when she started at the fire department, Delph noted that she began there in 1979 with the fire department auxiliary and then went out on some fire calls and taught first responding.

“It was nothing for me to go out at 2 a.m. and then come in at 6:45 a.m. and still have the same patient,” she said.

Delph’s teaching experience has also included instructing the CNAs at the Mitchell Community College Mooresville campus.

When asked what has stood out to them as they have returned to the hospital to lend a helping hand, Besecker said that “everyone here is so dedicated to give the best quality care to every patient every time.”

Delph shared that “I didn’t know how well loved I was until I came back in.”

Leigh Whitfield, director of marketing and public relations at the hospital, concurred with the comment saying “This was so true. People would see Susie and smile! You couldn’t see the smiles with the masks on, but you could see it in their eyes.”

Whether it was in the midst of their nursing careers or when preparing to finish their years of nursing, both Delph and Besecker have sought to encourage others and be faithful to that calling.

When encouraging others who have expressed an interest in becoming a nurse, Delph said that she tells them they should “go into it with your heart. Follow your heart, don’t follow a paycheck.”

As she was making plans to retire, Besecker said she thought about finishing her nursing career in May, which is the week of nurses, as Florence Nightingale was another inspiration to her.

And, a vital scripture that Besecker shared that is important to her is from Matthew 25:21, which shares the parable of the talents and says, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

“The last thing I want to leave of my life is be who God made you to be. That’s what I want to encapsulate. Not me, but what God led me to do,” Besecker shared. “I’m not special, “but I believe God has used me in my life.”

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