SHELBYVILLE, IL– Peggy Chapman and Michelle Oliver are a mother and daughter who have made nursing a family legacy. In many ways, Oliver’s career mirrors her mother’s and HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital has a big part in that tradition.
Then known as Shelby County Memorial Hospital, Peggy Chapman began working as a CNA in 1975. She quickly developed a passion for care and wanted to become a nurse. In 1977, she took a year off and attended Lakeland Community College to pursue her LPN degree.
“In those days, nursing school was eight hours a day for five days a week,” Chapman said. “By then, I had a young family, too. I had a two-year-old daughter and a six-month-old little boy at home.
“In 1978, I returned to Shelby Memorial as a full-time nurse, and I wanted to work in the maternity ward, but I had to be an RN because only RNs were allowed to work there. Through a scholarship from the hospital, I was able to go back to school for my RN degree. Without that help, I never could have done that. I took classes through a satellite program from Olney Central College. It worked out well for me.”
She continued, “Soon after earning my RN, the hospital closed its maternity ward, but I did help deliver the last baby born at Shelby Memorial Hospital. I then began work in the emergency department and in the intensive care unit, which became my love. I became the house supervisor in 1987 and was promoted to be the assistant director of nursing in 1990.
“Medicine and health care have changed a lot over my tenure of service. Documentation was handwritten then and requisitions for orders or medication were in triplicate. Now our records and orders are all electronic. Patients who had surgery were admitted for a minimum of a week and more often than not, ten days. A patient could only have two visitors at a time then, and visiting hours were strictly enforced.
“When Dan Colby came as the administrator, he worked hard to advance the hospital. I saw the first CT and MRI come to the hospital. The first CT was a portable machine. Now, the hospital has a 64-slice, permanent CT – big changes since then. We didn’t have dedicated emergency department (ED) doctors then. The doctors who saw patients through the day rotated and took shifts in the ED. A doctor had 20 minutes to respond to an emergency room call. Now, the hospital has a doctor in the ED 24/7.
Chapman concluded, “Leaving Shelby Memorial was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was a difficult decision. I left to go elsewhere but Good Shepherd is still home when I visit.”
Michelle Oliver grew up walking the halls of the hospital with her mother. She was nurtured with hospital stories and hospital friendships. As a small child, her dolls received Bandaids® for their invisible boo-boos. She played nursemaid to those in her family, too.
“As long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a nurse,” Oliver said, “I can remember being three or four years old and asking my grandfather what was wrong. ‘Does your head hurt? Does your stomach hurt? Can I bring you an aspirin?’”
After high school, Oliver received a scholarship to play softball at Olney Central College, the same college where her mother received her RN. After graduation in 1997 from Millikin University with her BSN, she began her career with HSHS.
Oliver said, “I have been connected with Good Shepherd Hospital for a long time. I was born there. My family was treated there. Many of my family members have passed away here. It feels like I was destined to have a career here, too. I loved the idea of coming back to Shelbyville when I was given the opportunity to become the chief nursing executive. I always see a familiar face or discover familial connections to people I know.
“Some of the older doctors called me ‘little Peggy’ when I would first go to the medical staff meetings at Good Shepherd. I feel like my family legacy has served me well as I return to my hometown and home hospital. I had big shoes to fill as I chose my mother’s path, and I couldn’t be happier with how I have spent the last 21 years.”
She continued, “I’ve had good mentors, strong advice and great support. My goal as a leader is to guide and direct those at the bedside to always make patient care the center of everything they do.”
Her mother added, “I have had 40 years of nursing experience and I still feel it was a terrific career choice. Nursing is a calling of compassionate service, and I am very proud of my daughter. I have watched her serve 60 plus hours a week without a complaint. It isn’t a job, it’s a mission.”
About HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital
Since its inception in 1916, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville (GSS) has been dedicated to excellence in healthcare for those living and visiting their communities. GSS has accomplished this by providing comprehensive health services and meeting the needs of patients served through their compassionate care, business integrity and community responsibility. GSS provides a 24/7 emergency department that is fully staffed by physicians and highly-trained nurses, and also features inpatient and outpatient services, including a 24-hour laboratory and an imaging department that meets today’s highest standards for diagnostic imaging technology. GSS has an advanced surgery department and an acute inpatient care unit. Dedicated to being a hometown hospital, GSS’ home health and rehabilitation departments are committed to excellence with a team of professional nurses and therapists providing a variety of medical services and rehabilitative therapies, all designed to help patients heal in their own environment. The group of visiting specialists in the outpatient clinic works closely with GSS to help keep the healthcare services local even if a specialized procedure or exam is required. GSS strives to be the first choice for the community’s healthcare needs. For more information about HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, visit www.hshsgoodshepherd.org.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 local systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.