‘It’s been like a family’
During Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital’s 50th anniversary, chief executive officer Linda Morrow also will be reflecting on the past 34 years she has dedicated her life to the institution.
Originally from Montréal, Ms. Morrow, who currently lives in Maxville, said she has enjoyed the benefits of working in a small, rural hospital.
“It’s been a wonderful place to work with good security, good environment and lots of job satisfaction and room for growth,” she says. “It’s been like a family. You know everybody so well. I remember thinking: ‘Will a small hospital have enough to offer?’ It certainly has.”
Ms. Morrow started with the HGMH as a registered nurse in 1981.
She has seen many improvements over the years. “One of the biggest changes is the emergency department,” she says. “Back when I started here our family physicians were doing emergency so we didn’t have a physician on- site all the time. We took care of a lot of patients and then the doctors would come in when we needed them.”
Around the early 1990s the Ontario government supplemented physicians in rural areas using an alternate funding agreement.
“It made it easier for us to recruit doctors. They had to be on-site 24 hours a day,” she says. “So that changed things a lot. It raised the standard of expectation in the community.” During the 20 years she worked as a nurse, Ms. Morrow covered all the departments and worked full- time in the emergency department. Ms. Morrow was the hospital’s charge nurse starting in the 1980s and she later took on the role of in-service education coordinator in 1990 to train other nurses. She was also involved in various projects, including computerizing the hospital’s scheduling and nursing work-load.
Ms. Morrow was the director of nursing from 2001 to 2006, when she took on her current position as chief executive officer, a role she has held for nine years.
In addition to introducing new ambulatory care, the HGMH has renovated its surgery area and modified its team approach to patient care.
The hospital has also added services such as ultrasound, bone mineral densitometry (BMD), pulmonary function testing, and cardiac stress testing.
Ms. Morrow comments one of the challenges over the past five years has been dealing with financial pressure caused by tight government funding: “It would be good if we didn’t have restrictions,” she says.
Ms. Morrow decided to move from her prior role as RN to the CEO position on the administrative side because she appreciated being able to help lead projects and be involved in its growth.
She adds she still misses her work in nursing now and then, especially the direct interaction with patients.
Ms. Morrow says her career path led her towards administration. “With my front-line experience as a nurse I felt I had something to offer,” she adds.
LONG SERVICE: Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital chief executive officer Linda Morrow has been with the institution for the past 34 years.