Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

I believe the second half of one's life is meant to be better than the first half. The first half is finding out how you do it. And the second half is enjoying it.

Frances Lear

Uncovering 25 years of Misericordia history

June 04, 2015

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The time capsule was officially opened June 1, 2015, exactly 25 years after it was buried.

A Misericordia Community hospital time capsule was almost lost forever. “It was like a month of ‘Where’s Waldo’,” said Jan Schimpf, Senior Operating Officer of Acute Services at the Misericordia Community Hospital.

Although an inscription on the bird bath at the front of the hospital indicated the time capsule was inside, there was controversy about whether or not it was buried underneath. “No one knew for sure if the time capsule was inside or underneath, “says Jan.  Eventually the granite bird bath was broken apart and a metal box was discovered in the base.

At the top of the box were three different hand-typed pages – an itemized list that spanned everything from audiovisual instructions, cassette tapes, hip replacement, and barium enema bag, cloth diaper with safety pins and even a dress-style nursing uniform and hat. The highlight was definitely the old photographs. Even as people shied away from having their pictures taken during the ceremony, all crowded forward to catch glimpses of themselves in the old photos.

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The photos’ reach extended all the way to Vancouver Island. Susie Coen, a retired nurse who worked for 35 years at the Misericordia Hospital, starting in 1971 as a candy striper, then an LPN and later an RN, saw the news coverage and recognized herself in an Emergency Department staff photo.

“Every skill and piece of knowledge I use comes from my time at the Misericordia . . . from the School of Nursing, to the hallowed halls that followed and to all the great staff that mentored me along the way,” says Susie. “I am forever grateful to the Misericordia Hospital for giving me the opportunity to have a career in nursing and to live the mission and values that were so evident in all the areas I had the pleasure of working in.”

In 1990, the Misericordia was an acute-care hospital with 540 beds (now 306), an independent hospital board and CEO. The hospital had a maternal focus with a large maternity ward and nursery. They were well known for improving the standards of care for newborns. The hospital was also making strides into respiratory therapy and orthopedics.

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When they opened the time capsule, they found a French apple pie recipe, retirement party photos and examples of day-to-day life in the hospital. Per diem rates, patient menus, news clippings and hospital brochures all served to paint a picture of the hospital at the time.

At the official ceremonies celebrating the completion of the first major addition to the old Misericordia Community Hospital in 1923; Archbishop H.J. O’Leary noted that despite the fact that the Misericordia was a Catholic institution, “there was no distinction of creed, race or politics when it concerned a patient.” Our spirit of service has not changed.

Check out the news coverage of the time capsule opening.