Thursday, May 6, 2010 2:35 PM

Beekman thanked for 39 years at Community

After 39 years Marge Beekman timed her retirement to coincide with National Nurses Week, which is celebrated each year from May 6 to May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who’s credited as founder of modern nursing.

Beekman’s departure from the day-to-day working world of nursing has brought lots of congratulations and poignant memories from friends, colleagues and administrators. And now, she and her husband plan to travel.

Here, in her own words, Beekman reflects upon 39 years as a registered nurse at Community Medical Centers.

What journey did you take to become a nurse?
Beekman: My sister and sister-in-law were both nurses and I just always wanted to become a nurse too.  I was a candy striper at then Valley Children’s Hospital. Candy striping will give you an idea of whether you like nursing or not. I went to work at Sierra Community Hospital in 1971 in the med-surg department. I worked at Sierra for 25 years. I was the last nurse to leave on the day it closed.  I then went to the California Cancer Center for three years and in 1998 came to then Fresno Community Hospital (now Community Regional Medical Center) and have been here ever since. I am closing out my career as director of nursing administration at Community Regional.

What are the biggest changes you have seen in the nursing profession in your career?
The biggest change is how a nurse can advocate for the patient by speaking up when needed.

What  do you like best about Community Medical Centers?
I will miss my friends, I really will, and our nursing leadership group. I learned in nursing you can’t be bothered by change. You need to do it with ease.

What is your most memorable moment as a nurse?
This was really exciting. We had a patient come to the urgent care at Sierra who had no prenatal care and was ready to have the baby. I got to deliver a baby girl.

What is your best piece of advice for those going into nursing today?
There is so much to learn and, to become the nurse you want to be, it does not happen overnight. It comes from having good preceptor nurses who help mentor you. I had had those mentors and I will never forget them.

Do you have a philosophy of nursing?
In my practice, I would always be ethical, honest and work with the physician to make sure the patient gets everything that is needed to help them get home to a normal life.

This story was reported by Bonni Montevecchi. She can be reached at