Parkridge Health System - January 02, 2024

A registered nurse's job is never considered “easy”. However, RN Sue Gregory makes it seem like a breeze. After a fulfilling and rewarding 45-year career as a nurse at Parkridge Medical Center, Gregory is retiring. But even on her last scheduled day to work, Christmas Day 2023, Gregory's selflessness and compassion for others shines through yet one more time.

A native East Tennessean, Gregory's career began as a medical technician at a small hospital in Athens, TN, before starting as nurse at Parkridge in the late 1970s. Sue recounts how different the times were.

“At that time, we had glass syringes,” she said. “Glass syringes with needles that you had to sharpen! Can you imagine? We thought nothing of it at the time.”

She highlights how so many aspects of nursing and healthcare have advanced over the years and how the ability to provide care for patients has been exponentially upgraded.

While the technology has changed during Sue's time as a nurse, a consistent theme remains: kindness.

A perfect example of this kindness is in the desire for her last day on the job, which happens to be Christmas day, is to give a another Parkridge nurse, a parent of young children, the day off to spend Christmas day with his or her family.

“[Kids] are only young at one time,” she said. “That's like a Christmas present to me [giving a young parent more time with their young family].”

In reviewing her career, Gregory has seen a lot: the swine flu of the 1970s, tuberculosis patients, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all these crises, she never wavered in providing compassionate care throughout.

The necessity of kindness and service also permeates her message to young nurses or those who are considering a career in the field with a serious tone.

“Remember you're there to help people,” she says. “You're helping someone who cannot help themselves. If you're not entering the profession to help someone else, you need to reconsider your career path.”

She has plenty of praise to go around for her current colleagues as well and highlights how Parkridge is the “best of the best”.

“I can't say enough: we have fantastic nurses at Parkridge,” she says. “All the doctors we have are amazing providers. People ask me where I'd go if I got sick. I say take me to '4 East'.”

Asked about her plans for retirement, she quickly answers “travel!” and recalls how she train-hopped across Europe with a group of friends earlier in life. Adventure seems to be a hobby in her near future along with the possibility of visiting Iceland.

However, she still plans to continue caring for people and being of service to others.

“I want to make my life as fruitful as I can to help others,” she declares. ”I want to put forward all the energy I can to be helping someone else.”

Thank you, Sue, for being a bright example of kindness and compassion at Parkridge and for the personification of “Care Like Family”.