Mary Gagnon, registered nurse and certified lactation counselor in the Burdick Family Birthing Center at Day Kimball Hospital, found that her life’s journey brought her full circle working in the same maternity unit she was born in.
In 1980, Mary started her first day as a registered nurse on the maternity unit at Day Kimball Hospital specializing in labor and delivery and post-partum care for mothers. Forty years later, she’s celebrating a milestone in an inspiring career of dedicated service to the hospital and the community. But for Mary, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.
“It has gone by so fast that it’s hard to believe, but it’s definitely a sense of accomplishment,” she said.
Mary, who knew from a very young age that she wanted to pursue a career as a nurse, obtained her licensed practical nurse certification from Windham Technical School in 1977, and her bachelor of science in nursing from Mohegan Community College in 1980.
During her time at DKH, Mary has worked as a labor and delivery, well-baby, sick baby, mother/baby, and C-section nurse, and as a certified lactation counselor for breast feeding mothers. She considers it both a joy and a privilege to provide woman-to-woman care and to be there for families during the birthing process.
“I’ve had many proud moments in my career as a nurse – easing someone’s pain; holding a hand; offering a kind word; cherishing good and bad times with my patients. Being a part of snapshots in my patients’ lives are my proudest moments,” Mary said.
Over the years, Mary has helped hundreds of couples in Northeast Connecticut start a family. Working for so long at DKH has allowed her to get close to generations of families that come in. “That’s the best part of my job, watching families grow,” Mary said.
Mary says one of the best things about working for Day Kimball is the family atmosphere. “All the people I’ve worked with over the years and the patients I have helped, they really are family to me,” she said.
Her fondest memory at DKH has been receiving Christmas cards each year from a patient whose baby she helped deliver. “It was a complicated pregnancy, but the baby is now a healthy young woman who also sends me Christmas cards every year,” said Mary.
It all comes down to loving what she does. Mary still feels passionate about her career and said each day as a nurse is an opportunity to witness the miracle of life. She takes pride in knowing that she played a role in helping to bring new life into the world.
When not at work, Mary enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending time with her family.
Photo caption (l to r): Kyle Kramer, Chief Executive Officer; Jeff Corrigan, VP of Human Resources; Mary Gagnon, registered nurse and certified lactation counselor; Dr. John Graham, Chief Medical Officer and VP of Medical Affairs and Quality; Renee Smith, RN, MSN, VP of Post Acute Services, Rachel Katsoulis, MCH Nurse Manager; and John O’Keefe, RN, MSN, Chief Nursing Officer and VP of Patient Services, celebrate Mary’s 40 years of service to DKH and the community in the Burdick Family Birthing Center at Day Kimball Hospital.