A lasting legacy treating Pantexans

  • Posted: Monday, March 25, 2024, 10:23 am

After working as an Occupational Health Services nurse for approximately 52 years, Betty retired this year.
After working as an Occupational Health Services nurse for approximately 52 years, Betty retired this year.

Life looked a lot different for Betty S. at Pantex in 1972––she was one of three on-site occupational health nurses, she had to dress in all white, and she was not allowed to wear pants. However, one thing that did not change was her continuous dedication to treating patients.

“I liked the things I was doing to help increase the health and well-being of the people at Pantex. It was a journey that I’m glad I took,” Betty said.

That journey lasted almost 52 years. Betty was hired at Pantex straight out of nursing school and recently retired at the beginning of 2024.

“It was challenging, but my goal was to do the best I could. Life gives you ups and downs, but you just work with it and try to make sure every day counts,” Betty said.

Building 12-2 was where Betty started her career. It was the brand-new central health facility, and she worked in that building until 2018––when Occupational Health Services moved to the John C. Drummond Center. Each decade brought changes that Betty had to adapt to.

“In the late `70s, they decided we could wear pants, which was more comfortable than skirts, and then in the `80s, we could wear colored uniforms,” Betty said. “In the `90s, I became the head nurse.”

Betty remained diligent in being trained to take care of everything from yearly physicals to emergency situations. She was even on-site during the 1977 explosion.

“We heard this boom, and then just right after, we knew that it was a major explosion,” said Betty. “When the fire department notified us they were bringing in casualties, we got set up for that and took care of the patient they brought to us that was still alive, and we ended up stabilizing him and got him to the hospital.”

Throughout her time at Pantex, Betty is proud of what she did to reduce occupational injuries and raise safety awareness.

“We worked with safety to help people become aware of what they needed to do so they would not get hurt,” Betty said. “You’re doing a job, and you want to do it well, but you want to do it safely.”

When asked if she had any advice for current and future Pantexans, Betty emphasized the importance of continuing education, training, and having a questioning attitude.

Betty said, “You are already trained for what you know how to do. When something comes along that you do not understand, ask for help.”