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On Friday I’ll say goodbye to the most fun-loving and compassionate, yet professional boss I’ve ever worked under. Carol Vander Meer, director of Neuroscience Services at Community Regional Medical Center, is retiring after 23 years with Community. I will truly miss all of her insights and professional guidance.
One of my co-workers, Jessica Dempsey, RN, says she’s so grateful for “how Carol takes her staff under her wing, teaching us and giving us opportunities to advance, and helping us find our way in this very different world.”
Carol is a born teacher and mentor. She was initially hired in 1983 as the Parent Instructor and later Clinical Instructor in the Education Training Department. She also served in Community’s Diabetes Care Center, as coordinator, supervisor and manager. In 2003, she became the manager in the 5-West Medical-Surgical unit and was influential in developing the first 5-bed stroke area at Community Regional. She is retiring after six years as the director of Neuroscience Services.
In 2008, under Carol’s leadership, Community Regional opened a dedicated neurovascular unit on the 9-West unit for specialized neurological care and includes an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and a Neuro Step-down Unit. Carol helped build our Center of Excellence, a multidisciplinary out-patient neuroscience care that integrates UCSF physicians and surgeons, Community Regional physical, occupational and speech therapies, dietary counseling, respiratory care, and social workers.
I’ll never forget the day that we received our Primary Stroke Center certification. Carol had put in so many hours of blood, sweat and tears. To see her give a sigh of relief and a jig in her office was so wonderful
We were all so proud to earn a Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission in 2010 as the Central Valley’s first certified Primary Stroke Center. We were re-certified again in 2012. Also in 2012 the Stroke Center was awarded the Bronze Award from the American Heart & Stroke Association “Get with the Guidelines” program.
Carol helped lead Community Regional to improve the care of stroke patients in the Valley. Her legacy will live on as specialized neurological care and services in the Central Valley continue to prosper.
Join me in wishing her well in her retirement.