Ella Ahrens, RN, began her career at Anderson Hospital on December 20, 1976, as an OB Nursery Nurse. She described the days leading up to opening as exciting. “We cleaned, stocked our departments and even had scavenger hunts so staff could easily find their way around the hospital,” she explained. “It was the first and only time that all the staff of Anderson Hospital had Christmas Day vacation!” The OB Department was located on the second floor right above the main entrance featuring beautiful skylights which flooded the nursey with natural light. Ella said she wishes she could go back and visit that space one more time, thinking how small it was compared to the Pavilion for Women of today.
Ella had the privilege of caring for the very first baby born here 17 minutes after midnight on January 7th, 1977. Jennifer Shadwick, was born to Kathy and Garry Shadwick of Troy, Illinois. “I remember being given a flashlight to use the restroom because some of the electricity was not yet hooked up,” reminisced Mrs. Shadwick during an interview in 1997. “And the cafeteria had not been finished, so hospital food was not an option.”
In the past 40 years, Ella has since played a nursing role in all aspects of the obstetrics department. “I’ve worked in the nursery, labor and delivery, postpartum, even made a home visit,” said Ella. “I’ve come full circle. I’m back in the Nursery where I love it the most.” Her love of working in the nursery was clearly visible as a new father rolled in his baby girl and Ella took over with her skills appearing second-nature.
Think of all the life events that happen over 40 years. Ella was engaged, married, had children and even lost loved ones under her tenure at Anderson. “Anderson has played a major part of my life,” she said. “I am proud of our OB’s reputation in our community and even prouder of being a part of an amazing team of co-workers.”
Today marks Ella’s last day at Anderson as she begins a much deserved new chapter of her life: retirement! Best wishes Ella!!!!