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Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Retired Nurse Finds New Purpose as Hospital Volunteer at MidHudson Regional

Posted By: Advancing Care

For Barbara Grace, RN, WMCHealth’s MidHudson Regional Hospital is more than a healthcare facility — it’s like a second home.  

As a dedicated nurse, Grace worked in MidHudson’s orthopaedic unit for thirty years where she cared for patients seeking relief from musculoskeletal issues, sports injuries, joint pain and back problems. 

Upon retiring, Grace didn't stray far from her former place of employment. Instead, she embraced the opportunity to volunteer as a patient advocate in the very unit she served for three decades. Motivated by her strong connection to the hospital and its staff, Grace’s presence brought patients comfort. "This place is like family to me, so once I retired I just knew I had to give back," Grace shared. "I enjoy being on the floor, interacting with patients and staff and engaging in meaningful conversations."

Grace fondly recalls her daily chats with patients, acting as their reassuring voice. In her new role as a volunteer, she goes beyond providing a friendly face by making patients' stays extra special. Grace arranges visits from clergy members and chaplains, assists with food management, ensures patient comfort, maintains an accurate patient census and more. 

"When you're hospitalized after surgery, it can feel overwhelming, and at times, isolating," Grace emphasized. "It's important to connect with patients and ensure they know we're here for them, and that we’re striving to create the best possible experience." 

On the Other Side of the Hospital Bed 

William Thompson, MD

Little did she know, Grace was about to become a WMCHealth patient herself. When she began experiencing leg pain, Grace made an appointment with William O. Thompson, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at WMCHealth and long-time colleague and friend. After a thorough examination, Dr. Thompson recommended a hip replacement.  

Having worked in the orthopaedic unit for years, Grace had confidence in Dr. Thompson and his team, and she knew exactly what to expect. After successfully recovering from one hip replacement, she underwent surgery for her other hip and continued her healing journey. 

Like many others, Grace's life was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, temporarily halting her cherished volunteer activities while the hospital operated with essential staff only. Now back as a volunteer in a new administrative role within the patient advocate's office, Grace rejoices in reuniting with her "family" that she has grown close to over the past 40+ years.

She now holds an even deeper appreciation for the hospital and everyone who contributes to its seamless operation, especially those who supported her during her joint issues and necessary surgeries. "God bless Dr. Thompson, the physical therapists, nurses, technicians, secretaries and everyone involved in my case," she expressed gratefully. 

When asked if she plans to retire from MidHudson anytime soon, Grace quickly dismissed the notion: "I wouldn't leave for anything. As long as I am able, I will stay connected to the patient experience at MidHudson Regional Hospital and ensure that every visitor receives the same excellent care I was fortunate to receive." 

More on WMCHealth’s orthopaedic services