Texas hospital's longest-serving nurse to retire after 45 years

Palestine (Texas) Regional Medical Center's longest-serving nurse is planning to retire in June 2023 after more than 45 years with the hospital.

Regina Parish is a licensed vocational nurse who's worked in case management at Palestine Regional Medical Center for the past 22 years. She first joined the hospital, then called Memorial Hospital, in 1979 as a nurse on the surgical floor. In 1986, she transferred to a discharge planning position before moving to case management in 2000 when the town's two hospitals merged to become Palestine Regional Medical Center. 

"Back in the old days, when there weren't as many resources for patients, she and her peers would all pitch in $1 every payday and then that would be their fund to help purchase medications for patients who didn't have the money," Tracy Marchky, BSN, RN, the hospital's chief nursing officer, told Becker's. "And to this day, Regina often pays patients' utility bills or helps them buy medication when they can't afford it."

Ms. Parish is well-known for building strong connections with the patients and family members she works with, often supporting them through some of the most difficult times in their lives. And her advice for new nurses? Nursing isn't always about chasing the dollar.

"Nursing is about having love in your heart," she said. "To be successful in the long run in nursing, you must make a commitment and be grounded in something."

Ms. Parish said her colleagues, who have become like family, and an approachable administration are two of the main reasons she's stayed at the hospital for so long. And Ms. Parish is not the only one — Ms. Marchky said the hospital has about eight nurses on staff who have all been with the organization for at least 30 years.

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