A Jewett woman has been both – a patient and a nurse.
Wendy Ledger, orientation resource nurse at the Union Hospital (UH) Lauren Emergency Center, can relate to the anxiety, concern and sometimes the fear patients experience.
She was a patient, too, several years ago when she received and then beat a diagnosis of breast cancer. The experience left her with a strong focus on patient-centered care, as well as working on community programs to increase awareness and education about prevention, including starting a 5K fund-raising run/walk known as “Wendy’s Walk.”
Ledger, a registered nurse with 16 years of experience at Union Hospital and a total of 23 years in healthcare, was the UH nominee for the Ohio Hospital Association’s (OHA) 2017 Health Care Worker of the Year Award. Ledger is one of many nominees from around Ohio who attended the OHA Recognition Dinner June 13 in Columbus.
“I want to help other women who are going through what I did and I want to help promote the message of awareness and prevention,” said Ledger, who received a diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer in 2008. “I was fortunate because of the support I received in my community, and I remember all of the great people who gave to me in my time of need. So I have been looking at ways to give back since then. Wendy’s Walk is an annual event that is a way to pay it forward.”
Ledger, a Harrison County resident, underwent four surgeries, six months of chemotherapy, 33 radiation treatments and was off work fighting the disease for a total of 11 months. Her experience is a reminder to her every day about providing compassionate, high-quality care in her duties, she said.
Ledger began her association with healthcare as a teen-ager when she spent two years as a “candy striper” volunteer at Harrison Community Hospital. She later served as a nursing assistant before graduating from nursing school and later earning a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Ohio University. She currently is pursuing a master’s degree in Nursing.
She also is an adjunct faculty member teaching nursing fundamentals at Eastern Gateway Community College and has served on various other nursing-related and community committees and programs.
In her role at Union Hospital, Ledger is the first clinical professional new nurses come into contact with in the hospital’s Emergency Center.
She said she takes the same passion she has for her job to promoting and growing Wendy’s Walk, which is held each October in Harrison County.
“There’s a lot of feelings that women and their families go through when they get a diagnosis like that,” she said. “If we can help them through an event like this, we need to do it and that’s why I know it is a wise use of my time.”
“Unfortunately, Wendy did not receive the award,” stated Darrin Lautenschleger, director of community relations for Union Hospital. “Of course, we are very partial around here, but her story and dedication are outstanding, and we think she would have made a perfect award winner. But hey, she is our nominee this year and we are pleased she received plenty of recognition locally.”
Information about Union Hospital and its services is available at www.unionhospital.org, and on the hospital’s pages on Facebook and Twitter (@Union_Hospital).