Nurse retires after 41 years of service at Chilton Memorial

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:48

    POMPTON PLAINS —On a Thursday in 1963, Catherine Rogers walked out the doors of Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing in Montclair with her registered nursing diploma in hand. The following Monday, she walked through the doors of Chilton Memorial Hospital, where she began a 41-year career that just recently came to a close. Apart from a single year in Chilton Memorial's medical-surgical unit, Rogers spent her entire career with pediatric patients in the hospital's Family Care Center. Her career at Chilton Memorial was continuous, except for two brief interruptions when her children were born. Rogers said she witnessed numerous changes in the nursing profession over her 41 years. In 1963, when she was a staff nurse at Chilton Memorial Hospital's original location on Newark Pompton Turnpike in Pequannock, she earned just $2.06 an hour. Today, entry-level nurses at Chilton Memorial are hired at more than $25 an hour. In 1963, Rogers worked alongside Forrest Chilton, MD, founder of the hospital, and registered nurses, Johanna Demkowicz and Winifred "Cookie" Tintle, two of Chilton Memorial's original 12 nurse who served as her mentors. "I was born in Pequannock," said Rogers. "In fact, Dr. Chilton delivered me, and later, my son. And I remember touring Chilton Memorial with my Girl Scout troop. Cookie Tintle showed us around. Little did I know then that I would grow up to become a nurse and work with her." Over the years, Rogers herself became a mentor like those who had influenced her when she was young. She became a real-life thread of continuity, a nurse who was able to explain to younger nurses how and why certain procedures were followed. "My decision to be a nurse was the best possible one I could have made," Rogers continued, reflecting on her career choice. "Although I had considered a career in fashion design, I believe that nursing was the right calling for me. To be at the center of care giving and to help patients get well is truly an exciting vocation. All in all, I look upon my years in nursing as truly gratifying. Nursing is a great career for those who want to make a difference in people's lives in a remarkably personal way."