Randy Freet’s path to a nursing career wasn’t a typical one – but it appears that path led him to the right place. Freet has spent his entire 32-year nursing career with Community Medical Centers, including 12 years at the former Sierra Community Hospital and 20 at Clovis Community Medical Center.
This former Marine who served in Vietnam used to be a cement finisher, but decided to switch careers while he was in the military. He became a nurse in 1977 and has spent most of his career on the night shift.
And after 32 years of it, he’s nowhere near ready to retire – not while Clovis Community is in the midst of an expansion that will double its capacity and make it the first full-service hospital in the region with all private beds. As a clinical night supervisor in the emergency department, he’s excited to be there when the new digs open for patients.
National Nurses Week is celebrated each year from May 6 to May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who’s credited as founder of modern nursing. And while Community Medical Centers aims to recognize each of its 2,200-plus nurses, MedWatchToday.com caught up with a few of Community’s longest tenured caregivers to get insight on the nursing profession.
What journey did you take to become a nurse?
Freet: After the military, I went to Fresno City College and then received a bachelor’s degree from Fullerton State. I came back to the Valley because my wife is from here. I always liked helping people. It’s a good job. I worked nights in the ICU at Sierra and also in the recovery room, before coming out to Clovis to the emergency department.
What are the biggest changes you have seen in the nursing profession in your career?
The No. 1 thing is salary. It has kept current with the times. The care has gotten better and there is more equipment. The computers have changed nursing 10,000 fold, not to mention that my female colleagues used to wear caps and capes.
What do you like best about working for Community Medical Centers?
Every day you learn, whether you are here one day or 30 years. I hope to be a good mentor to others. I am able to promote teamwork here. I am fortunate I have worked here all these years. The hospital corporation has been good to me. It’s a great place to work.
What is your most memorable moment as a nurse?
There have been so many nurses I have worked with, and I have learned from them. Learning from others is a memorable thing.
What is your best piece of advice for those going into nursing today?
Be kind to each other and try to help one another. You can learn from a tech, a doc, a clerk, just keep your ears open. Treat patients the way you would want your family treated.
This story was reported by Bonni Montevecchi. She can be reached at MedWatchToday@communitymedical.org.