Glens Falls Hospital Nurse Celebrates 50 Years of Service

A Q & A With Sue Alden, RN, on a Half-Century of Service at Glens Falls Hospital

It's amazing that you've been here 50 years!
It’s actually longer than 50 years! I started in the fall of 1969. I was, at that time, an LPN on 2 North, which was Medicare/Medicaid/geriatric patients. I worked for about a year and a half, and then I had a baby and didn’t come back for three years.

And how did you end up in the Snuggery?
It wasn’t the Snuggery back then; it was just Labor & Delivery and Postpartum. When I came back to work, I was floating for a year and a half as an LPN. My sister Chris worked nights here in Postpartum. And her husband went to school in Syracuse, so she left, and they came and asked me if I wanted her job. She eventually came back, and we both went back to school while working full time and both graduated from Adirondack Community College in 1989 with our RN degree.

So while you were getting your RN degree, you were working full-time and also raising a teenager. How did you balance all of that?
Well, I was born a worker, so all I’ve ever learned to do is work! I have a pretty good work ethic, and I just persevere. You do what you have to do, and if you want it, then you do it.

What do you remember about when you first started on this unit?
Well, 3 South was Postpartum, and 3 North was Labor & Delivery, but I was only there about a week before this new wing, 2 West, opened.

So you’ve been close to 50 years in the same physical location. What are some of the biggest changes that you’ve noticed since you’ve started?
Well, of course, when we started with LDRP (Labor, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum Care) in the same room – we were one of the first hospitals in the area to have an LDRP. And uniforms – it used to be white dresses initially, and then the exciting thing was we were allowed to wear white pantsuits! And then color several years later.

You’ve seen so many patients in your time here. Have you ever had the experience where you’re delivering a baby, and the parent is someone you’ve also delivered?
Oh yeah, for sure! All the time. I think it’s kind of exciting to deliver a second generation!

Thinking back, who are some of the people who you feel have had a particular influence on your career here?
Diane Kerchner – I remember her encouraging me when I was going through school. And Terry Celadon was a big influence on my life. And Gwen Ely, she used to be a Charge Nurse here. Very supportive of her co-workers, always offering encouraging and kind words.

So what’s kept you here all this time?
I’m just a dedicated person. I like dealing with labor and deliveries. I like supporting mothers through their labor process and having a good outcome, with healthy babies. And these mothers really appreciate you if you give them a lot of attention, support them, and let them be a part of decision making and the labor and delivery process.

You’re retiring shortly. What do you think it’s going to be like after 50 years, to not work here anymore?
I’m busy now with a lot of things. I have a house to take care of. I’m from a very big family, and the older members of my family get together and have little music jam sessions. I took up the ukulele. I’m not great at it, but my brothers are all very good with their instruments. So they get together and play, sing, have lunch, and play some more.