In 1966 Georgene Gross began her career right out of nursing school (as in 2 days after graduation!) at Akron Children’s as a staff nurse. On May 31, she will retire from her position as operations supervisor at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics Alliance office. With a few detours in between, Georgene says she has come full circle having both started and ended her career with Akron Children’s.
Looking back, she has no regrets about the trajectory of her career – although her life may have been a little different had her original plan of becoming a kindergarten teacher come to fruition.
“My dream job was to become a kindergarten teacher, but my parents didn’t have the means to provide a college education,” she said. “Scholarships and grants for bachelor’s degrees were limited at the time, especially for females, so I had to come up with another plan. My best friend was going into nursing, so I thought ‘why not?'”
Georgene enrolled at Akron General’s School of Nursing and really liked the program but was unsure where she wanted to work after graduation.
“It just happened that my last rotation was pediatrics at Akron Children’s Hospital,” she said. “The moment I walked through the door I knew pediatrics was where I was meant to be. During my senior year, we used to walk to Children’s around 4 p.m. and we’d get paid $1 per hour to help feed the children their evening meal.”
Immediately following graduation Georgene worked on the toddler floor until it became necessary for her to move closer to her hometown of Alliance for family reasons.
“I accepted a job in the pediatric unit at Alliance City Hospital working the afternoon shift in hopes a day shift position would open,” she recalled. “After 7 years of waiting, one of the local pediatricians, Dr. Frank Lukez, offered me a position in his practice. I said yes because it was an opportunity for me to remain in pediatrics and work days.”
Georgene began to split her time between direct patient care and office management. After Dr. Lukez retired, she was offered a position at the Children’s Clinic as their practice administrator. In 2013, that practice was purchased by Akron Children’s and she became operations supervisor.
“Who would have thought 53 years after beginning my career at Akron Children’s that I would be retiring from there too.”
Over the past 5 decades Georgene has witnessed innovations in medicine that she says have changed things for the better.
“One example is the use of electronic medical records, which has advanced our ability to provide patient education and efficient and accurate care,” she said. “Also, vaccines that can now prevent so many diseases.”
Caring for 3 generations of patients in the community is also a highlight of her career.
“I had a former patient remember me as his nurse in the hospital when he was bringing his own kids in for an office visit,” she said. “I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to have touched so many lives, and I will take these memories with me into my retirement.”
Those plans for retirement include spending more time with her children, granddaughters and husband as well as having more time for her hobbies which include gardening and distance cycling.
“I am thankful for all of the great opportunities and experiences I have had and the support I have received from management to my wonderful staff and providers.”