Dr. Gordon Dickie and Jacqueline Millman will be honoured for their 45 years of service at St. Joseph's service recognition celebration.
Registered nurse Jacqueline Millman walks the halls of St. Joseph’s Hospital and can’t help but remember where patient beds used to be - patients she served more than 40 years ago.
“Things have changed so much. I can still see where patient units and hallways used to be. It takes me back," says Jacqueline.
In 1971 Jacqueline was just 21 when she graduated from nursing school in London and embarked on a career as a registered nurse – a career she always knew was her true calling.
“I never gave it much thought - I just knew,” she says.
Jacqueline has spent the majority of her career working the night shift in Surgical Services at St. Joseph’s Hospital– taking the bus to work for more than 40 years.
Over the decades she has witnessed her share of changes, but it is these shifts in care that have kept her motivated.
“I remember when patients coming to have their gallbladders removed would end up staying in hospital for more than a week,” says Jacqueline. “Today, most are out within a day or two. Technology has really advanced recovery and care.”
Jacqueline’s dedication, along with more than 700 staff, physicians and volunteers, will be honoured during the Evening of Celebration on Oct. 19 for those who have reached career milestones with St. Joseph’s. The evening, along with the 25-Year Dinner for those marking 25 years at St. Joseph’s, is part of the Service Recognition Program. With 45 years of dedicated service, Jacqueline and physician Dr. Gordon Dickie are this year’s longest serving recipients.
Despite the transformative changes she has lived in health care, it’s the thousands of patients that Jacqueline has cared for that never ceases to amaze her.
“A patient’s attitude always inspires me,” she says. “Two patients can come into the hospital for the same surgery, yet it’s the patient who kept a positive attitude that seemed to recover faster – something I have personally seen during my time here.
Physician Dr. Gordon Dickie is also not a stranger to dedication. He too felt a career calling at an early age and knew he wanted to become a doctor. Graduating from medical school in Aberdeen, Scotland, Dr. Dickie was just 26 years old when he was recruited by Dr. Ian McWhinney in London, Ontario and moved his family to Canada to begin a 35-year career at St. Joseph’s Family Medical and Dental Centre (FMDC).
Dr. Dickie’s commitment and passion over the years also encompassed research and teaching in the Department of Family Medicine at Western University, and serving as president of the Ontario College of Family Physicians.
“Working in family medicine was very rewarding,” says Dr. Dickie, “Family doctors get to care for patients and interact with the community in so many different ways. I did full range of services including obstetrics, but I also loved teaching to over 70 different residents during my career.”
Like Jacqueline, Dr. Dickie also found inspiration in the hallways of St. Joseph’s.
“Coming to a Catholic hospital in 1971 the Sisters of St. Joseph were very much a part of the establishment and I wondered how a young Scottish Presbyterian would fit it,” recalls Dr. Dickie. “At no time was it ever an issue. I was welcomed with so much acceptance and positivity by the hospital and the whole community – something that has persisted to this every day.”
After retiring St. Joseph’s FMDC in 2006, Dr. Dickie was the lead physician for the Transitional Care Unit at Parkwood Institute. Today, he works casually with patients in musculoskeletal rehabilitation at Parkwood Institute and in the palliative care unit at London Health Sciences Centre’s University Hospital.
As both Jacqueline and Dr. Dickie take a look back in time at a 45-year career, it’s their connections with colleagues and patients that kept them coming back.
“I thought of retiring 10 years ago, but I would have missed the interaction with my colleagues – after so many years you become like family,” says Jacqueline.
"It was seeing the enthusiasm of students and residents and working with remarkable teams that kept me coming back,” says Dr. Dickie. “I will eventually retire, but I'm just not quite ready yet.”