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Anyone who asks Betsy Stavnitski if she “used to be a nurse” will receive a quick response. “I am a nurse,” Betsy says proudly. Retired or not, Betsy will always be a perfect example of what a nurse should be.
Betsy graduated from nursing school in 1958 and immediately earned a role as an instructor for nursing students. When she became pregnant with her first child, she was dismissed from the job and informed “a pregnant nurse is not an acceptable instructor for students.” She shares the story wryly today, adding “Can you imagine? But that’s the way things were done then.”
Like many women of the era, Betsy did not return to nursing until her three children had grown. When her youngest son was a junior in high school, she completed a refresher course at Miami Valley Hospital. “It was wonderful,” she remembers. “I learned so much!” She joined the Miami Valley staff in orthopedics, transitioned to infection control and ended up managing the orthopedic team. For the next thirty years she gave her loyalty and love to “the Valley.” This year, Miami Valley and Premier Health returned her affection with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her career in nursing. Her award notes that “Betsy strived to keep the patient and family 1st by leading compassionate and safe care….Many of us marvel at Betsy’s professionalism, spirit and direct communication skills. Betsy served with dignity, class and the utmost respect for the patient and the care team.” After retirement Betsy served as a volunteer, as a member of the Miami Valley Foundation Board and on other committees, extending her loyalty and contributions beyond the end of her nursing role.
Betsy is humble about her recent Premier honors, noting that her “colleagues on the floor work so hard, mentally, physically and emotionally.” Asked what has changed the most over the course of her nursing career, Betsy says “Technology. The art of nursing has not changed, but the science has.”
As any of her colleagues can tell you, when it comes to the art of nursing, Betsy is one of the Miami Valley’s finest artists.