Sharon Crawford has seen a lot of changes in her nearly 34 years of employment at the local hospital.
"The biggest change is St. Vincent Hospitals coming to Clay County Hospital. I appreciate all that St. Vincent has done, especially the spiritual support we have now," she said.
Part of that support, encouragement and education for staff and patients at St. Vincent Clay Hospital is new recognition awards as a result of the Guest Relations Enhancement Associate Team wanting to recognize associates who've given extra effort to help patients, guests, physicians and other associates.
Crawford is the first recipient of the Superstar award.
"Everybody around here does more than their own share. You can do all you can do, but when other people notice it and thank you for it, it really means a lot. It hits home to be nominated for this award by my associates," she said.
Crawford began her work at the hospital as a nurse's aide on the second floor, which she referred to as the medic floor for long-term care patients. She then moved up to the third floor for surgery patients.
"It was a very busy floor. There were about eight or nine aides and each of us had eight or nine patients at any given time. I remember in the '70s when we had a blizzard and ice storm, they (hospital employees) drove out to get me to bring me in to work and I stayed here (at the hospital) overnight in an extra bed they had for me," she recalled.
Crawford said in '79 they did away with most aides and went to LPNs (licensed practical nurses) because caregivers had to be certified for insurance reasons. At that time, there was an opening in material management for a store room clerk and she was asked to move into that spot.
"I enjoyed working with patients and thought about going on to nursing school. But I had two little children at the time and thought it would be just too much time away from my family. So, I accepted the position. I'm so lucky. The grass isn't always greener on the other side and I truly enjoy my work. I'm proud to be here for almost 34 years," she said.
Crawford is responsible for invoicing, other paperwork such as printing forms and delivery of materials. She also takes pictures for the hospital scrapbook. Her associate, Martha Maurer, takes care of purchasing for all departments at the hospital except for pharmacy and dietary.
"Sharon demonstrates the core values of St. Vincent everyday in the selfless acts of kindness towards every associate and everyone she meets. She continuously looks for ways to help others in actions and deeds....Sharon has a heart as big as Texas and she is always doing things for her fellow associates. She is always pleasant and has a smile and a greeting to everyone...I have seen Sharon give when she didn't have it to truly give. She also goes all out at functions for our families and friends in the community on holidays and other events. If we ever lost her we would really be losing a great asset to our facility," were some of the associates' comments about her.
Winners receive a certificate, cash and a dinner for two at a restaurant of their choice. Additionally, the monthly winners will become part of the annual Superstar Award and voted on by associates at the end of the year.
Other new recognitions include the Fish Lips Award which is based on the number of associate thank you tickets placed in a drawing given bi-monthly and the Standard of Excellence quarterly award given to departments.