A nurse known equally well for her kindness as for her medical experience was celebrated by her patients, co-workers, family and friends at a retirement party held in her honor at North Big Horn Hospital last week.
Ruth Montanez is retiring from the hospital after spending 32 years of her 35-year career as a registered nurse serving patients at the hospital. Montanez said she has seen many changes over the years, including several changes in administration and procedures, with improvements along the way.
“I’m the person I am today because of the good people I have worked with over these years,” said Montanez. “I think we have a very good team here right now.”
NBHH CEO Rick Schroeder spoke highly of Montanez.
“Ruth is a wonderful woman,” said Schroeder. “She has grace, dignity and a deep abiding faith in God. She is a wonderful nurse. I have heard many times from patients about how much they loved being in her care. I have passed those compliments on to her, but she always says it is a ‘team effort’ and that she is just part of the team.
“Several years ago, when our granddaughter was unexpectedly born in our emergency room, I heard that Ruth was on duty that day. When I heard that, I knew that our daughter and granddaughter were going to be in very capable hands.
“Our facility and our community are going to miss seeing Ruth as often. So am I.”
Chief of Nursing Tina Toner also spoke highly of Montanez.
“It was so inspiring for me to watch Ruth graciously accept the well-wishes of her family, friends, coworkers, community and past patients, as we wished her goodbye this week,” said Toner. “Her professionalism, grace, years of experience, starched uniform and heart of gold are all things I’m so pleased to have experienced.
“Even being a nurse for 32 years, Ruth still had things she aspired to be better at. She never thought she was perfect. She always tried to be her best and never once thought she knew it all or couldn’t learn from her coworkers. She was very humble that way.
“Ruth has enormous faith and gratitude. She would never accept a compliment without reminding us that it was a ‘team effort.’ She made a difference in our hospital and in our community and is remembered and loved by many.”
Toner also noted how patient Montanez was with her patients.
“She would patiently describe things to her patients — a procedure that was about to happen, a medication she was giving them — explaining what things the patient should call her for,” Toner said. “She would laughingly refer to herself as a ‘dinosaur’ but she would adjust to changes and saw many of them over her years. Ruth became very proficient in every one of those changes and served as an example to others through her work ethic and attention to detail.
“I am better for knowing her and fortunate I was chosen to work with her, during the last years of her career. I read something recently that stated that it is a rare thing when a calling and a profession combine. Ruth is truly a servant leader, caring for her patients as a calling, not a job. She has made our profession very proud and she will be greatly missed.”
By Patti Carpenter