ASHER RETIRES FROM MURRAY-CALLOWAY COUNTY HOSPITAL AFTER 36 YEARS OF SERVICE
When Jill Asher began at Murray-Calloway County Hospital in 1980, she never imagined she would spend the next 36 years working at the same hospital with co-workers who would become like her family.
She began her career on the medical/surgical floor as an RN and then moved to labor and delivery where she stayed almost 2 years. When she began nursing she knew from her rotations during school that she wanted to work in the surgery department. However, the nursing director at the time, Nadine Turner, told her she needed experience first. Mrs. Turner promised Jill before she retired; she would help her move into a position in surgery. Ms. Turner came true to her promise and made that dream a reality prior to retiring and Asher transferred to the surgery department as the circulator where she would work for the next seven years. In 1989 she became Dr. Dowdy’s office nurse and first assistant. She continued in this role for 21 years. Asher returned to MCCH in October 2010 to work as a circulator and accepted the position of Perioperative Department Director in June of 2011.
Like many who have spent long careers at MCCH, Asher said the highlight to her career is the people she has worked with and patient interactions. This is what she has loves the most. As a first assist Jill enjoyed getting to work with the patient prior to surgery (pre op), assist during their surgery (intra op), and then be with them following their surgery (post op). She said patients were comforted by her being there each step of the way and she really enjoyed caring and helping them during their stay, completing the entire perioperative experience with the patient.
Asher says the biggest change has been philosophies among surgeons and the progression of advanced surgical procedures and technology. Jill remembers when a patient had gall bladder surgery they would spend 6 days in the hospital and take 6 weeks to recover. Today this is a different picture, gall bladder surgery is done laparoscopically as an outpatient procedure and patients are back to work in a few days. She said the advancements in surgery are numerous, patients who had total joint replacements used to stay for a week and now their stay is 48 hours. Most abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs have transitioned to stent graph placements. This changes the stay from 10 days, with a recovery of 2 months to spending one night in ICU and going home in 36-48 hours after surgery.
Having the opportunity to work over 36 years in the medical field and be a part of the advances that improve outcomes and care for patients has given Jill a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment throughout her nursing career.
“MCCH is my home. I’m really proud of this hospital and the support administration has always given the surgery department to be progressive,” she said. “Opening the Hybrid OR and implementing RF scans as the first hospital in the state are two of my greatest accomplishments.”
In her retirement, Asher said she plans on spending as much time as possible with her family including her sons Brian and Seth, daughter in law Addie, and her grandson, Niall. Both her and Ken, her husband of 36 years, look forward to travelling and are currently planning their next trip to the Northwest part of the United States. Jill also loves to fish and spends much of her time bass fishing on Kentucky Lake. Jill has taken on a love for capturing the outdoors and enjoys taking wildlife pictures as well.
“I love to be outdoors and just see Gods nature – from the fish to birds, the serenity of the water and the changing of the seasons,” she said. “I love it all.”
Asher will remain PRN at the hospital and work as an RNFA as needed.
Pictured left to right: Jeff Eye, VP of Patient Care Services, John Wilson, VP of Human Resources, Jill Asher, Director of Perioperative Services (Retiree), Beth Henson, Coordinator, Karen Franklin, RN, and Ellen Tidwell, Sterile Supply.
Photo by Melony Morgan