Gayle Hoelscher is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for March 2015. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.
After being a nurse on Boone Hospital Center’s oncology unit for nearly twenty years, Gayle Hoelscher wouldn’t want to work anywhere else – in fact, she knew this before she started her first day on the floor. Gayle says, “When I first applied at Boone Hospital Center, it was specifically for a nursing position on the oncology floor.”
Gayle’s interest in oncology started while working toward her associates in nursing degree at Central Methodist in Fayette, when she completed her clinical rounds at Columbia Regional Hospital.
“When I was in nursing school, everybody I knew thought I’d go into pediatrics, because I took care of kids,” Gayle says. She began her nursing education at 40, completing prerequisite courses at Columbia College during the evening, and providing childcare in her home during the day as well as raising her three sons. “When the kids were studying, I’d be studying,” she says.
Gayle’s first experience caring for cancer patients and their families inspired her. “Cancer doesn’t only affect the patient,” she says. “It affects their loved ones. You’ll have people staying with the patient overnight, and they need help, too. I like taking care of patients and families – I don’t care if it’s just getting someone a cup of coffee, taking the trash out of a patients’ room, or making someone some toast or hot tea at 2 in the morning. They might say, ‘That’s not your job,’ but my job is to do anything for them.”
Gayle has worked the night shift most of the time and says she enjoys the cooperation and support among other night nurses. “We have each other to depend on,” she says. “If a nurse has a patient who’s critically sick, we’re all involved, whether you’re helping that patient or covering for a nurse’s other patients.”
She also likes the pride that she and her teammates take in their unit and the care they provide.
“I like that I’ve worked with some of the same people for 10 or 15 years,” she says. “Sometimes it can be tough working on an oncology floor, because we do lose patients, and sometimes they can be very young. But again, you’re there for the patient and their family. I think if you continue to work this long on a unit like this, it’s more than a job. I feel like it’s a calling.”
Gayle also takes pride in the quality of care Boone Hospital Center’s physicians and staff provide all of its patients. “I think we have the best of both worlds here. We have a close community, and we also offer the type of care that they provide in Saint Louis or Kansas City. And I think our physicians do what’s best for the patient.”
Gayle grew up in Jefferson City and has called Columbia home for the last 30 years.
When not working, Gayle likes to stay active at the WELLAWARE Fitness Center and gets together with a group of friends once a month for dinner, as they’ve been doing since their children were little. She enjoys spending time and visiting with her three sons, Scott, Jason and Matthew, and her three grandchildren, and traveling with her husband Larry to a different part of the world each year.