Share A Memory
See below the stories and memories submitted by employees and patients. You can participate by emailing your memory to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WATCHING AKRON GENERAL GROW
I enjoyed watching the construction of the 200 building as it was going up. When I started here in July 1982, it was just a hole in the ground. The Accounting office was on the second floor, across from the blue elevators, and my window looked out to where the steel girders and beams where slowly emerging from the foundation. Where our offices were then is now the open hallway near the VNS store and the gift shop. A lot has changed in the last 30 years but I've always been proud to be a member of the Akron General team.
I respect many individuals at Akron General, but my first connection as an employee was with Dr. Paul Lecat. He embodies the philosophy of Akron General — Be Nice, Work Hard and Accommodate.
A TIGER IN THE HOUSE
In November of 1979, the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus was making its annual trip to the Richfield Coliseum. The circus had a 400-pound Bengal tiger named Radjah, who was having problems with his balance and trouble walking. Numerous veterinarians examined the big cat. One of them contacted Dr. Harvey Friedman, Akron General Chairman of the department of Medicine. Dr. Friedman suggested that they bring the animal to Akron General to undergo a CAT scan on our first CT scanner, which was installed a month earlier. The animal was sedated, brought to the hospital and scanned on the new scanner. Radjah was diagnosed with a small inoperable brain tumor. He was no longer able to perform and was sent to the winter home of the circus in Florida. The CAT scanner was really used to scan a cat.
I started at Akron General in 2002 as an NT. When I began my nursing career I had an amazing mentor, Irene Wlaszyn. She is an outstanding nurse who truly cares for patients as if they are part of her family. She knows when to be stern and also when to be compassionate and tender. I am not sure she will ever know how much her nursing practice affected me as a nurse. I have been a nurse for 10 years now and still think back to when she taught me the basic skills of nursing. She was patient and took time to show me the "ropes," always with a smile on her face. She defines everything Akron General looks for in its employees. She is hard working, kind and a team player. Irene displays true professionalism!
BORN AT PEOPLES
I was born here in 1952 and have the original Peoples Hospital receipt - I cost my parents a total of $148.00, which was very expensive as she had my brothers at home. I was their last child. I then started working here in 1970 with a break in service for a few years, now with a consistent service of 36 years – just can't stay away!
GREAT PATIENT ADVOCATE
My thoughts of Akron General are working on 52A with Joyce Moore. She is truly a patient advocate, she will answer call lights and attend to patient needs without hesitation. Patients are always priority one on her floor. She instilled those values in me as an employee. Joyce makes Akron General a great place to work and be a patient!
A HEARTFELT THANK YOU
My family and I recently came upon a very difficult time and needed to use some of the resources available to help employees in crisis. I must say that I am so very grateful that these resources were available. The overwhelming generosity that was shown by the employees who donated various items and the assistance given to us was truly touching. It warmed my heart and let me know that Akron General does care about and support its own employees. My situation was very stressful and the kindness shown to us made it just a bit easier to bear. My family and I are so very thankful and will never forget that Akron General was there for us. I am so glad I am employee here.
GAVE ME A CHANCE
When I started part time in Patient Accounts at Akron General, Mr. Paul Taylor gave me a chance. He did not think I would stay and when I showed him that I was not leaving, he awarded me a full-time position. I have never left Akron General nor our department because the employees here are my family away from home. They are supportive, caring and the most giving people I have ever met - at school or any job I have held. Anyone who met Mr. Taylor knew how loyal he was to his employees and how he worked hard to keep us all employed. I want to go on record to say "Kudos" to PFS and the wonderful people who work with me day-to-day (in my department and all through our hospital system).
A FAMILY TRADITION
My mother used to be a nurse's aide here back in the 1950's. She met my father here while she was taking care of his mother (my grandmother). They got married in 1956 and started a family soon after so my sister and I were born here at Akron General. I have been working as an RN here since July 2005, which is the longest time I have spent at one hospital.
Terri Keel was the first person who told me I had leadership potential and, in 1995, asked me to take the manager position of pre-surgical testing. She had a certain charisma that drew people to her and she was laid back, non-confrontational and had a laugh that put you right at ease. She took me under her wing and helped to educate me on physician and staff relationships. Terri encouraged me to go get my Masters Degree.
A Caring Experience
In November 2013, my husband had a knee replacement. All the staff was most kind and helpful from admission, to pre-op to post-op, and through the recovery process until discharge. The PT/OT and nursing staff on 52B were outstanding, prompt and knowledgeable. We could not have had a better experience! Thank you for making a potentially worrisome time a time of wonderful care and healing! And we are receiving excellent home health care through VNS.
LEARNING FROM MY PATIENTS
I remember my initial months at Akron general some 30 plus years ago taking part in caring for “Mrs. R.” Best I could describe her is she was the perfect model for a McCall's magazine cover. She was a beautiful women in her fifties and even more beautiful was the personality and grace with which she faced the aggressive cancer she fought. Her family was extremely supportive, as was our Akron General family. She would go through treatment at that time with a smile on her face, a pleasant word to all around her, and painted smiley faces on her toes to boot! Though I never painted smiley faces on my toes, nor exposed them at work, her attitude set the tone for my attitude for the rest of my healthcare career, one of gratefulness to care for patients. Though she was one fighting the aggressive cancer, and I was there to care for her, I'd always felt that she was in my life at that time to set the ground work for my approach to caring for many patients over the course of what has now developed into a most beautiful mission and life experience for which I am grateful to have.
STILL A RESIDENT!
I came to Akron General Medical Center in 2003 after graduating from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health. I was slated to be here for one year, a Transitional Medicine Year, and I never left. I fell in love with the people and the atmosphere at Akron General. It was a hard-working environment and one that didn't have that snobbish attitude about it that some large university hospital settings do. Medical students and residents were encouraged to ask questions of and seek education from attending physicians and not discouraged or scolded for doing so. Ten years later I'm still here and I'm glad I never left. I completed a residency here in Emergency Medicine in 2007 and have been with the EM group ever since!
LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE
I spent time at Edwin Shaw Sanatorium recovering from tuberculosis as a teen, as did my mother before me. It was a life-changing and life-saving time. That is where I met Delbert Souders, a part-time medical technologist who worked there and was a microbiology supervisor at Akron General. He was instrumental in hiring me, as was Dr. Dochat. Dr. Dochat was head pathologist for the lab. I can’t say enough about Dr. Dochat – he would call us “his girls,” a term I’m sure could not be used today. He was a very kind and respected man.
ANOTHER ANNIVERSARY REMEMBERED: MY PARENTS
My father was in Akron General Hospital on his 59th anniversary. The chef came to his room to offer a special dinner for my parents. He offered to make anything that they ordered. The nurses on the floor purchased a bouquet of flowers for the anniversary dinner. This act of kindness was very thoughtful and meant a lot to my parents and my family. We did not know it at the time, but it was the last anniversary that my parents would celebrate. He died the following January.
SUPPORTIVE AND CARING
Five years ago, my husband had emergency surgery. I was in the main lobby and my co-workers were leaving and asked if everything was okay. The news was not good and they grabbed my mom’s and my hand and formed a circle and said a prayer with us. This meant so much to me. My husband had three major surgeries, five hospital stays, radiation and chemo. He had contact with many departments in the hospital –Housekeeping, Nutrition, Nursing, Radiology and Wound Center. Dr. Papouras and Sandra, Chris and Dr. Okeke, and the wonderful nurses at the Cancer Center were all so professional, kind and caring. We feel he had the best care here at Akron General.
I was born at Akron General. Working here 30 years, I have so many great memories. Through the years I have seen co-workers have babies and grandchildren, and go through marriages, divorces and deaths of parents and loved ones. New employees and retiring employees, happy occasions and sad ones have weaved us into a very close-knit group of friends. I am thankful, blessed and grateful for my Akron General family.
In 2007, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. From the moment of diagnosis until today, I felt cared about, supported and never considered being anywhere else but Akron General for my surgery and treatment, which lasted for 18 months. I am now a six-year survivor and contribute this to the quality and awesome care (and attention) I received from my family at Akron General.
Akron General has a unique place in our Northeast Ohio community as a respected healthcare provider that cares about the people of this region and is a good place to work. I think most of us are proud to say we work for Akron General. For me personally, my community of co-workers is part of what has kept me working here for more than 30 years. We work very well together, drawing on each other’s strengths, pulling together and learning along the way.
CAN'T STAY AWAY
I have been at Akron General since I came to the Akron General Hospital School of Nursing 44 years ago! I received my diploma in Nursing from the school and left Akron General when I graduated. I worked at two other hospitals and always missed the "excitement and format of a teaching hospital." I returned to Akron General in 1973 as a staff RN on 4400, which was Orthopedics. I have had many career opportunities and offers through the years, but have remained for 41 years.
Experienced my future
In June of 2003, while expecting the birth of my second child, I unexpectedly became a patient at Akron General on the perinatal unit. At the time, I was happily working as a maternity nurse at another lower-level maternity hospital. I was hoping to deliver my baby at the hospital I worked at, where I was comfortable and confident with the staff I knew. However, from the moment I arrived at Akron General I knew there was something special about it. My worries were quickly put to ease. Every person I came into contact with from dietary to doctors treated me kindly and professionally. Everyone seemed happy to be at work, and shared what a good employer Akron General was. I was a patient for 18 days and never had a bad experience! Many staff encouraged me to apply to work at Akron General saying that I would fit right in; I did just that and in October after maternity leave I started my career at Akron General. I have proudly worked here for more than 10 years! I often tell people that I came to work here after the great experience I had as a patient!
Akron General is an incredible place where clinical excellence, care, friendliness, comfort, quality and compassion all reside. Akron General was my favorite hospital for years when I was not an employee but working in many of the hospitals in a six-state area. Akron General is now my hospital. Then and now, Akron General is uniquely different because of its wonderful and exceptional people.
During the night shift I can talk with my patients from time to time – one such patient shared a collection of positive Akron General experiences. While it's unfortunate to have multiple hospital stays in a year, I'm glad to know that each stay was meaningful for this person and that all the nursing staff this patient experienced had her best interest in mind at all times.
IN THE DARK
I worked night shift in the pharmacy. One night, the electricity went out. It was so hot and dark. We had to handpick all the meds for all the patients with flashlights until maintenance brought a portable light. Everyone worked together and we got our work done.
The healthcare difference
Throughout the past year my husband and my mother have both been recipients of the Akron General experience. Both of them felt safe and well cared for by an empathic, skilled and knowledgeable medical team of professionals.
Throughout the years, I have formed many close and long-lasting friendships with my co-workers. We have celebrated many happy times together and have also supported each other through the difficult ones.
My mom convinced me to apply for a job at Akron General when I was 18. I didn't get a call back right away but when a job opened up as an assistant in Nuclear Medicine I was ecstatic because originally I was in school for Radiology. I eventually became a Unit Clerk and have been working in the ER for six years. During this time, I changed my mind about school and decided to go for Respiratory Therapy because I love working in the ER so much that I still want to be here in some way shape or form. I also want to be a part of saving lives. Working in the ER has opened up my eyes to the amazing teamwork that transpires when a life is hanging in the balance. The ER is a fantastic place to work and I am happy to be a part of the team!
THOSE WERE THE DAYS
Mrs. Miriam Killian was the supervisor over the clerical staff in radiology. She was a great teacher and kept everyone busy. Back then there were no computers, only file cards. A huge rotating filing system that we would constantly be pulling the file cards and making sure nothing was misfiled.
I have fond memories of working in the emergency room back in the 1970's with Dr. Roussi, who was head of the emergency room. He was instrumental in helping to develop the paramedic program at what I believe was then Akron General Hospital. I worked the midnight shift. The hospital had a friendly, family atmosphere. Sometimes everyone would bring in breakfast foods and we would make a great breakfast right there in the emergency room in the middle of the night. The care was great, the staff was great, the working conditions were great and everyone seemed to get along very well. The doctors talked to the staff. They got to know the people they worked with and the staff got to know them. It made you want to do a great job and the doctors knew it and worked hard to maintain that type of atmosphere.
I worked in radiology back in the 1970's and it was the same. Caring staff, great radiologists, some who are still here working, and the Christmas party every year was fun and our families were invited to attend. There were plenty of things to do when there were lulls in the patients coming in and people chipped in and helped one another.
Gary Tomcho may have been short in stature but there is no one taller in wisdom and wit. He taught me how to deal with union issues and department staff concerns, and had more common sense then any other person I know. He taught me to respond quickly to physician concerns and gave me projects to expand my leadership capabilities. He once told me that I had the ability to make a pig squeal and that was a compliment.
Brian Sipe and the Cardiac Kids on TV on a Sunday afternoon on 3100. Patients in the waiting area in front of the tube, open heart scheduled for the next day or perhaps a cath. Us nurses were armed with our nitros assessing the stress level; after all, they WERE the CARDIAC KIDS. Cyndi Pileggi, RN, passed out homemade dog bone necklaces reminding patients to keep the stress low. Those were the 80's.