After a half-century of working as a nurse, Joan Norris has decided it’s time to slow down. The administrator of both the nursing home and assisted-living centre at Chateau Gardens in Elmira has decided to step down from her post in the nursing home and to only work three days a week at the retirement residence. She has worked at the residence for the past 23 years after leaving her spot as head orthopedic nurse at Grand River Hospital – K-W Hospital then – and will be succeeded by Helene Richard, who has spent the past seven years at Chateau Gardens and is the current food service manager.
“I’m 68 this year and it’s time that I slow down a bit,” said Norris. “You get to a point where you want to slow down a bit, and I have lots of other things to do.”
She says over the years she has gotten to know a lot of seniors who have passed through the doors of Chateau Gardens, as well as their families, adding it has been an honour and a privilege to care for them.
“When someone brings a spouse or a parent to a nursing home they are entrusting us with their care, and it really is an honour to have that given to you.”
In her 50 years as a nurse, she notes the job has changed considerably, but perhaps nothing more than the very tools of the trade.
“I was telling the girls the other day that when I started in nursing, nothing was disposable. Your syringes were glass and you sterilized them, the gloves you washed and sterilized – nothing was disposable back then.”
She says the memories will always stick with her and that she is very proud of the more than 30 awards the residence has garnered in her time as administrator.
“I just thank everybody for the support people have given me over the years. I’ve been so fortunate for the 50 years I’ve been in nursing I have really, really loved what I’ve done.
“I picked the right field.”
Next Thursday from 2-4:30 p.m., Chateau Gardens staff is holding an open house to thank Norris for her many years of service and invite the public to attend.