Hillcrest nurse celebrates 40 years of service

by Claudia Loucks correspondent
Catie Vosburgh recently celebrated her 40 th anniversary as a registered nurse at Hillcrest Home, outside of Geneseo.

Catie Vosburgh has worked at Hillcrest Home in Geneseo for the last 40 years and said she has never had a desire to work elsewhere, and has no plans to retire…”I sometimes think about retirement, but I don’t have any definite plans to retire,” she said.

Her nursing position at Hillcrest began out of need, something she wasn’t happy about in the beginning. She grew up in Moline and after graduating from Moline High School in 1974, Vosburgh enrolled at the former Lutheran Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1976.

She was married in 1975 and worked at a hospital in Bloomington for about two years before moving to Geneseo in 1979.

“I had been staying home with our daughter and really didn’t want to work, but my husband encouraged me to work to help with our income,” she said. “I saw an ad in the newspaper for a day time nursing position at Hillcrest and I applied because day shift jobs are hard to find.”

She was hired and on the Friday before she was to begin working on Monday, Aug. 4, 1980, the young mother put her daughter in the stroller and went for a walk.

“I still didn’t have a babysitter and I was to start my job at Hillcrest on Monday, Aug. 4, she said. “As we walked by First Methodist Church in Geneseo, I saw a sign that read ‘Growth Day Care – new toddler program opening Monday, Aug. 4,’ the day my new job was to start. I did an immediate turn, enrolled her at day care and when she began the day care program on Aug. 4, I began my job at Hillcrest.”

Vosburgh admits she has been fortunate to have always worked days…”I worked as a floor nurse for the first 1 ½ years, and then I was asked to become the CNA instructor to teach nurse’s aide training classes in 1981-1982.”

She also was the service director and when she wasn’t teaching CNA classes, she was teaching in-service education classes to staff.

“That went on for a long time, maybe 20 years,” Vosburgh estimated. “About 15 years ago, we stopped CNA classes and there was a need for a rehab nurse to work with the therapy department so I had some additional training and I now work as a rehab nurse, always days and it has been wonderful.”

“I am so fortunate because I have loved every minute of all the positions I have had at Hillcrest,” she said.

In the last 40 years, Vosburgh has seen many changes at Hillcrest and said one of the biggest changes has been the “no smoking” rule…”When I first started working, residents were allowed to smoke when they wanted. It was then changed to smoking every two hours and finally to no smoking allowed. That was a positive change.”

She has also been part of many upgrades, renovations and additions at the nursing home including the addition of air conditioning throughout; the renovation of the dining room and the addition of the activity room and therapy room, as well as moving forward in becoming completely computerized as far as documentation.

When asked “what’s next,” Vosburgh replied, “I don’t really know, I sometimes think about retirement, but I don’t really want to retire as I am a person who gets bored really easily and I don’t want to become bored.”

“Hillcrest is such special place, a really good place,” she said. “When I started working here, I thought I would stay about two years and I didn’t think I would like working in a nursing home. My experience with working at a nursing home when I was in school was not a great experience and I didn’t like it. But that is not the case at Hillcrest, I do really like it here.”

Vosburgh has experience of working at other nursing homes while she has been employed at Hillcrest…”I did work evenings at other nursing homes while I have been here; one was nice and I enjoyed it, and one was not so nice.”

“I really appreciate the type of nursing home that Hillcrest is, a non-profit facility and the focus and care is all about the residents and doing what is best for them,” she said.

“Our residents are given what they need. I am lucky that I kept the job here when I was experiencing working at other care facilities.”

She is married to Steve Vosburgh and has a daughter, Nicole (Robertson) Myers, Columbia, Mo; a son, Eric Robertson, Conover. Wis.; a step daughter, Carolyn Brasmer, Port Byron, and one step-granddaughter.