Retiring nurse spent 41 years in service at Ross
Ross Memorial Hospital’s Leanne Harding is set to retire after 41 years there — something the registered nurse was going to do two years ago but held off to help her hospital in the fight against the pandemic.
She was also in charge of RMH’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre and has been the lead on most COVID initiatives.
Harding has been working in Infection Prevention & Control (IPAC) for 32 years and has been the manager during the COVID years.
“I began making plans,” she explained, “in Nov. 2019 to retire at the end of that year, but then I started hearing in December what was going on in the world, and I realized I couldn’t possibly walk away. I practice IPAC with passion, and when you’ve been in it for 32 years, going on 33, you network with a lot of people, and you get to know what’s happening in the world, and that sort of prepared me to stay on.”
Harding has confidence in both those in IPAC and the COVID-19 Assessment Centre and says the teams will be operating well.
“We are always preparing for potentials,” she told the Advocate. “For instance, there was HIV and AIDS at the beginning of my career, and we went through SARS, H1N1, and we were preparing for Ebola back when that was a scare. We are constantly preparing for what might come, and I feel the entire team is ready for what the next wave or cycle is going to be, because this won’t be the last infectious disease that pops up in the world.”
Harding says she hasn’t been doing this on her own. “I had my director Sue Grant, who’s very supportive, as is the rest of the team. I’ve overseen and jumped in when needed, with the physicians, to pandemic workers to our nursing staff to our support staff to our admin assistance.”
She has plans to retire around the end of May, and in the meantime will be preparing the hospital for her absence before going.
Harding also said when she retires, she will return to help if ever needed. Her plans include volunteering for the Newmarket & Area Special Olympics. She also gardens. Most of all, however, she wants to spend time with her husband and two sons, saying the last two years have taken away a lot of time with them while on the job.