In this day and age it seems that people switch jobs as frequently as they change their socks…and some more than others. But for one local woman the same position was held for well over three decades, that is until her recent announcement of retirement. Her name is Pat Weatherall, but you may recognize her as a Registered Nurse at the Golden and District Hospital.
Pat began her career as a nurse after graduating from the Holy Cross nursing program in Calgary. It was a time when schooling was much different than it is today.
“When I was in school in Calgary, I think the cost was $250 for three years of training. This included everything from my room to books…everything! Now a days when some nurses come out of school they have such massive debt. Times have changed,” Retired Registered Nurse, Pat Weatherall explained.
Nonetheless, Pat graduated and was working in the industry of her choice in no time. In 1972 her tenure at the Golden Hospital began; it was a tenure that not even Pat could have realized would last so long.
“I’ve been there a long time. I actually worked with a nurse for whom I was present when she was born; that is something! I’ve been around women giving birth and then those daughters giving birth too,” Weatherall said with cheer in her voice.
But, there was a brief lapse in her impressive term at the hospital. It was in the mid-‘70s, a time when Pat says she overworked herself as a nurse; it was time for a break, although a minimal one.
In 1975 she opened a children’s wear store in Golden, but the store didn’t quite take off the way she may have wanted it to.
“I don’t think Golden was quite ready for a store of that nature at the time,” Weatherall mentioned about her attempt.
With the demise of her shop imminent, paired with a freak accident, it wasn’t long before Pat was back to her old self, being a Registered Nurse at the hospital.
“In 1978, my niece broke her leg. I was the one who took her to the hospital. Once I was back in the hospital I realized how much I actually missed it. So I closed down my store and went back to my true passion, nursing,” Weatherall said.
The next 30 odd years were spent where she belonged, spending many long hours at the hospital. Her love for children and helping others made her a pillar in the hospital and a pleasant face for all to see when forced to go there. Her time spent was very rewarding for her, even though many strange occurrences have taken place while on shift.
“One night while on the night shift, there was someone who broke a window in the basement and it set off the fire alarm. There were cameras in the hallways downstairs and I thought the guy had a gun. I quickly called the RCMP and they arrived with their guns drawn. They found the guy drunk downstairs, but with no gun…thank God,” Weatherall described one memorable experience.
Although this one memory was not the most pleasant and was somewhat frightening, most of her stories over her vast career have been fabulous.
“I have so many more good stories than bad. Like mothers handing me their children so I could take them into surgery and putting all their trust in me. To take care of their most precious possessions was amazing. I looked after them like they were my own,” Weatherall said in a caring demeanor.
No matter how you chopped it, the now proud grandmother of two has made quite an impression on the people of Golden over her years at the hospital. Her modest self gives much of her credit to her colleagues and doctors.
“We have great doctors here in Golden. They all work so hard over at the hospital,” Weatherall said in a modest tone.
Her strong passion for her work has been tough for her to let completely go of. She is currently working a couple days a week on her “own time” at the local clinic and just may have plans to head back to the O.R., a place she genuinely loves, for some casual work, again on her “own time”.
It seems that making a difference in the community has been something, and continues to be something she was put on the earth to do.
“I wanted to make a difference. No one goes into nursing to empty bedpans or to do bed baths, although these are important in their own way. You get into nursing to make a difference and I hope I was able to do that. I have some very special bonds with some families and they will be in my heart forever,” Weatherall concluded.