ELK POINT – Parkview Extended Care staff and residents bid a happy retirement last Tuesday to Marguerite Friesen, who has not only been in charge of the facility since the day it opened, but had her submission chosen for its name.
Friesen is the veteran of 41 years of nursing, 32 of those in Elk Point, and has been thinking back at “all the changes in the hospital since 1988. There were 17 pediatric beds then and 10 extended care beds. Diana Anderson was the director of care, and there were three RNs on each shift back then… there have been a lot of changes.”
Parkview has been “a really good place to work. I’m proud of Parkview, and it’s under good care of Alberta Health Services,” Friesen says.
It’s a far different situation here than in numerous long-term care facilities across Canada, many of them privately owned, where COVID-19 ran rampant with many fatalities reported, a situation that Friesen feels was “a real wakeup call for the government.”
The Elk Point facility has coped well during the pandemic, with all the staff wearing masks but residents still enjoying activities with recreation staffer Terri Wood, who was interacting with them, one on one until restrictions were eased somewhat. “Now they’re back to doing bingo, in small groups,” Friesen said.
Brittany Ross, originally from Wainwright and more recently the home care lead at Elk Point Health Care Centre, is “moving upstairs” to take over Friesen’s position and “I’m confident I’m leaving it in good hands. I look forward to the changes that Brittany and (Health Care Centre facility manager) Brenda Haire-Killam will make in the future.” While families have been unable to visit the residents during the pandemic, she knows they will again play a major role in the facility’s success in the future. “The families are just as important, they are an extension of our residents.”
After more than four decades in the profession, Friesen would still encourage today’s young people to go into nursing. “RNs are still in demand, and it’s a really good experience. Nursing is a great profession and I would do it all over again.”
Friesen and her husband Dave, who “isn’t retiring for a while” plan to stay in Elk Point, and her retirement will give her more time for her favourite activities of Nordic walking and geocaching. She is a member of the Health Care Auxiliary and says she “may join the Palliative Care Society,” and is also part of the town’s Recreation Committee. Friesen plans to do more crafts and plant more perennials, and as she wraps up what she says has been an interesting career, “now I’m ready to pass on the baton.”