Nurse calling it quits looks back on satisfying career

Diane Myers gives report to another nurse in the Emergency Department at Williamsport Regional Medical Center. Myers is retiring from 46 years of nursing. PHOTO PROVIDED

When she was a teenager, she volunteered as a health care worker, carrying out the menial but necessary tasks at her local hospital.

More than 50 years later, Diane Myers is retiring from what by all accounts has been a fulfilling career as a registered nurse.

Myers, 67, said she honestly can say she enjoyed her 46 years in nursing, nearly all of them spent in the emergency department of Williamsport Regional Medical Center.

“I really liked it every day I went in,” said Myers.

Friday will mark her last day on the job.

Looking back, she remembers the lives she touched —  both the patients she saw and the many people she worked with.

“It was a very rewarding career,” she said.

Myers experienced the many changes in health care over the years.

She saw how patient care improved and how technology helped transform emergency medicine.

“We do so much more for the patient now,” she said. “We have more tools at our fingertips.”

Myers said she wouldn’t change anything about how her nursing career turned out.

Her nursing journey actually began at the age of 13 when she was a Volunteen.

By her own estimate, she put in more than 10,000 hours as a Volunteen in her teenage years.

“I did that for at least three years,” she said. “It was answering call bells for patients. Giving them their meal trays. Passing water. Running errands for the nurses. That’s why I went into nursing.”

She also worked in the hospital cafeteria during summers of her high school years.

Upon graduating from Williamsport Area High School in 1967, she enrolled in nursing school.

When she finished up her education at the Williamsport Area School of Nursing three years later, she got a job as an emergency room nurse.

“I actually had wanted to go in the operating room and work,” she said.

But a nursing school instructor pointed her in the direction of emergency medicine.

She recalled that ER work was so much different in those early days of her career. It was the days before paramedics and EMTs.

“Physicians were just starting to work in the ER back then. They didn’t have advanced life support in those days,” she said. “We really didn’t do the things before that we do now.”

Like anyone else new to the job, Myers learned, but mostly she found her niche, her calling.

Over the years, she became a mentor to other nurses.

Robin Hammer, a registered nurse and co-worker, called Myers a very good nurse and mentor.

“She has trained other nurses and paramedics,” she said. “The number of lives she has saved is phenomenal.”

Hammer said Myers also is a very caring, dedicated and hard-working nurse.

Myers said she’s always liked the close exposure to patients and their families that comes with the care she provides.

There always is that hope to help them get better.

“It’s still very hard when you have someone who dies. You have an attachment to the families,” she said.

Myers noted the many excellent and hard-working colleagues she worked with over the years.

“You make friends in this job,” she said. “Many are like part of a close-knit family.”

Over the years, she worked different shifts and put in some long hours.

And yet, she swears she wouldn’t change anything about her career.

But now, she’s looking forward to retirement.

She wants to do some traveling with her husband, James, a retired nurse.

She said she may do some per diem work, but that’s about it.