Health care institution retires
Little Chute native to end 50-year nursing career at year’s end
12 / 18 / 2007
Maria Nelson, Media Relations
Affinity Health System
(920) 554-0686 (pager)
LITTLE CHUTE, Wis. – For 50 years, Audrey Driessen has cared for multi-generations of Little Chute families. All of that comes to an end on Dec. 28, when Driessen will walk out of the Affinity Medical Group Clinic in Little Chute for the last time as an employee.
And while this isn’t the first time she has retired—her first attempt came in 1998 and lasted six months before she decided to come back and work at the clinic on a part-time basis—Driessen promised her family that this would be a permanent retirement. “This isn’t a job, it’s a hobby,” Driessen says. “I wouldn’t have stuck around so long if I didn’t think that, but it’s time to move on.”
Driessen first became interested in the health care field when she worked as a high school student at
Following graduation from nursing school, she went back to
Driessen has seen a lot of change in the health care field over the years. “When I first started, the first thing I would do every morning was sterilize the utensils. The last thing I would do at the end of the day was clean and sterilize the gloves,” she says. “I made curtains for the clinic, and bed sheets. I did everything.”
“Today, there’s a lot more documentation that’s needed, Driessen says. “Disposable instruments are probably the best enhancement in health care,” she says.
In addition to seeing a lot of change in the field of health care, she has cared for generations of Little Chute families. “It’s gratifying to see adults who I cared for as children come in with their own children.”
Still, Driessen is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, their four children, 15 grandchildren and, come this spring, her first great-grandchild. “I’ve been blessed,” she says about her family.
In retirement, Driessen doesn’t intend to slow down. In addition to family time, Driessen wants to volunteer in the schools and in March, is planning a trip to Punta Cana, Mexico.
Driessen, who has never regretted entering the nursing profession, says the best things about her career are the patient interactions and the relationships she’s built with clinic staff and physicians. “Patient contact is my favorite part of the job,” she says. Whether I’m just visiting with them or giving them a hug when they need it.”
Earlier this year, Driessen was honored by Affinity Health System with its 2007 Northern Region Nursing Award, in part, for the relationships she builds with patients. “In my mind, the patient who is in our office is my prime concern. The patient on the phone is my second concern,” she says. “My third concern in the paperwork, so I’m here at night getting that done,” she says, laughing.
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For the Editor:
Affinity Health System, a faith-based regional health care network, is the Fox Valley’s second-largest employer, according to the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry. For the fourth consecutive year, Affinity has been named one of the nation’s top 64 health systems based on clinical performance according to Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. For ten consecutive years, Affinity Health System has been named to the SDI (formerly Verispan) Integrated Health Network Top 100, an annual assessment of the 100 most highly integrated health care networks in the nation. Both St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton and Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh rank among the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in terms of quality and efficiency, as determined by the 2007 Premier | CareScience Select practice National Quality Award. Members of Affinity include Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Health Foundation, Oshkosh; St. Elizabeth Hospital and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Appleton; Affinity Medical Group, a regional network of 25 family practice and specialty clinics – 22 of which are recognized as NCQA Level III medical homes, the highest level of recognition – in 14 communities; Calumet Medical Center, Chilton; and Affinity Occupational Health.