One of Bailey originals, Patty Griffin set to retire after 44 years
Patty Griffin, RN, radiology, will dress in her scrubs for the final time at Bailey Medical Center (BMC) next month, 44 years to the day she began her nursing career.
Griffin, a member of BMC’s original staff when it was erected in 2006, started her journey in the health care industry before she even had a license to drive.
“It’s very bittersweet,” Griffin said in describing her pending retirement. “I’ve loved it.”
Born in Florida, Griffin’s family moved to Tulsa as she neared her teenage years. While still getting accustomed to her new surroundings, Griffin became a candy striper at Hillcrest Medical Center (HMC) after being inspired by a book that covered the topic as a child.
Griffin had brief aspirations to become a dental assistant, but instead the young mother of two boys shifted her focus to nursing.
“I was young, and I had two babies,” said Griffin, who was 20 when she started at HMC.
On Sept. 12, 1978, Griffin began working on the eighth floor in the med-surg unit, an area that also cared for geriatric patients. Incredibly, Griffin applied to HMC’s nurse aide school 13 times before she was finally accepted. Following nine semesters of schoolwork, Griffin graduated and earned her registered nurse accreditation in 1982. As part of Hillcrest’s tuition reimbursement school program at the time, she was able to continue working at HMC upon graduation, a rarity during that particular era.
“Nursing wasn’t like it is now,” Griffin recalled. “There were more people who wanted to be nurses than there were jobs, so fortunately they had to keep me to pay back my tuition.”
She worked on the cardiac floor from 1982-88, then transferred to the cardiac cath lab for an 18-year stint. In 2006, as her family continued to expand, Griffin was alerted to an opportunity as a radiology nurse at the soon-to-open BMC.
“I had no idea what a radiology nurse did before I came here,” Griffin joked. “But it was a good situation for my family.”
Since joining the team, Griffin has watched BMC grow from its infancy into one of the pillars of the Owasso community.
“Bailey does a lot that boosts morale,” she said. “They celebrate a lot of things. It makes for a good environment. We’re all family here.”
Griffin said she is thankful for all of those who have played a role in her success.
“I would like to thank God and my family for being so patient with me over the years with the work I have done, and all the friends I have made,” she said.
As Sept. 12, 2022, Griffin’s final day at BMC, approaches, she has one piece of advice for those just beginning to blaze their own trail in the field of medicine.
“You have to really love this job, or you need to find another one,” she said.
Among Griffin’s initial plans in retirement is to travel.
“I like to tease the family and tell the boys that I’m going to turn 16 on Sept. 12,” she said. “I’m going to fly by the seat of my pants, just like they did.”
Griffin listed numerous colleagues who have made an impression in her professional life and said her career is highlighted by the relationships she has built, along with the changes in medical technology she has witnessed. But Griffin’s most important memories came from her patients.
“I’ve really enjoyed my patients,” she said. “It’s nice to see them get better and go home and do the things they were doing before. Giving them back their activity levels and the life they think they should have back, that’s special. I’m going to miss that.”