Retiring nurse spent 41 years in service at Ross

By William McGinn

Leanne Harding.

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.


  1. Gp says:

    You are a special person and you should be proud of your service and dedication to your profession. Your mom and dad would be proud.

    • Karen Parker says:

      I am so happy for you Leanne!! You have always worked so hard for everyone trying to keep us safe!! It just won’t be the same leaving my 0300 messages lol. Enjoy every minute of your retirement❤❤🥰🥰😘😘

  2. Cindy Mark Peters says:

    What a wonderful and rewarding career, Leanne. You should walk away knowing the positive impact you have had on many issues and people over the years.
    Enjoy your family time and all your new adventures.

  3. Wessell Kelly says:

    I am going to miss you sooo much!! Leanne you have always been available and gone above and beyond in caring for patients and staff at the Ross. Thank you for staying on to weather the covid storm. You are truly an angel!!! ALL THE BEST 😇

  4. Robin Peeters says:

    Congratulations Leanne. What a wonderful career you have had. I’m am sure you will be truly missed. Wishing you all the very best in your retirement 😊

  5. Dorothy Chambers says:

    Congratulations Leanne! A well earned retirement- have fun, learn new things!
    Dorothy Chambers (Heaslip)

  6. Dolores Rodnick says:

    I am sorry to say that I have never had the opportunity to meet you but I just wanted to send you my heartfelt best wishes for your future retirement. I was a guest (read patient) at the Ross on more than one occasion but particularly at the beginning of the pandemic and I just wanted to say that I am sure your preventative work on the contagious outbreak was responsible, in part, for the way I was treated by staff. To me, they appeared to go about their regular routine with patients, cheering them up and trying to help them overcome their fears of Covid despite their own fears of catching Covid and bringing it home to their loved ones. Thank you very much. 😇😇😇

  7. Lynn says:

    Congratulations Leanne you deserve a happy retirement.

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