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Nurse Celebrates 45 Years of Service at Osceola Regional Medical Center

January 25, 2013

Donna Barkley

Kissimmee, FL – She’s scrubbed in the operating room, assisted in the pharmacy, she’s even helped prepare food for her patients—in the last four decades there isn’t much Donna Barkley hasn’t done for Osceola Regional Medical Center. On January 14th, 2013 Barkley celebrated her 45th year of nursing at the hospital.

“It was called Osceola General then. We had somewhere around 55 beds. It was two floors - upstairs and downstairs,” Barkley remembered.

Since then, Osceola Regional has grown exponentially. It’s now the largest hospital in Osceola County and home to facilities like the Central Florida Cardiac and Vascular Institute, Baby Suites, NICU and the Orthopedic and Spine Center to name a few. By year’s end, the hospital is slated to have 317 beds.

In 1968, Barkley moved from Prince Edward Island, Canada to Kissimmee, where she began her career at Osceola Regional as a staff nurse. She was promoted to Director of Nursing, and for the last 20 years has served as Nurse Supervisor where she regularly connects with patients and acts as a sort of “housemother” for the nursing staff. Senior Accountant, Sue Willingham (who has known Barkley for more than 30 years), says her knowledge of the hospital and warm heart make her an invaluable asset.

“She can walk faster than anyone in the hospital, and she always helps anyone who needs it. I love that she still wears white nursing uniforms,” Willingham said.

Just as Osceola Regional is committed to excellence, quality and service, Barkley has proved her commitment to her staff and patients. She assisted with the delivery of the first set of triplets in Osceola County.  She also helped to implement the hospital’s electronic medical record.

Vicki Hughes, Director of Perioperative Services and who has worked at Osceola Regional since Barkley hired her 38 years ago says Barkley’s wealth of knowledge sets her apart. “She has the respect of the whole medical community because of the superior job that she does every day for staff, patients, families and physicians.  We are fortunate to have this wonderful nurse and friend among us,” Hughes said.

“ (She has)the knowledge and never minds getting her heart and hands into a difficult case,” Inger Rao, CNS, CNOR, Perioperative Educator and 40 year veteran of Osceola Regional agreed.

While Barkley has seen plenty of changes in the last 45 years she says she looks forward to the new 60 bed wing and the trauma center.

“We’re just going to be ready to get bigger and better and ultimately think of our purpose in being here, and that’s for our patients, “she said.

Barkley continues to be a pillar for clinical excellence and enjoys serving the Osceola community, and says she’s not quite ready to hang up her nursing clogs.

“What’s next for me? Retirement,” Barkley laughed. “But I’m not hoping to do that for a while. As long as I’m able to keep going I’d like to continue working for another few years if possible. I have longevity in my genes.”

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