Intensive Care Unit nurse Pat Trueblood is retiring today after caring for patients for 45 years at King’s Daughters’ Hospital. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/
Intensive Care Unit nurse Pat Trueblood is retiring today after caring for patients for 45 years at King’s Daughters’ Hospital. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/
When King's Daughters' Hospital closes its doors this morning, Pat Trueblood will be one of the last nurses to leave the Intensive Care Unit.

Trueblood has spent most of her career working at the downtown hospital which will close today after the final patient is transferred to the new hospital on the hilltop.

Just as King's Daughters' Health begins a new chapter in its 114-year history, Trueblood, too, begins a new chapter of her own.

She will not be taking her skills to the new hospital. She is retiring.

"I grew up here and grew old here," she said.

Trueblood and her husband, Bob, moved to Jefferson County in 1967 from their home in Dale. Her husband had received a job transfer, and Trueblood began looking for work once they settled into the area.

Trueblood, who had worked as a nurse before the couple's move, applied at King's Daughters' Hospital and soon began work as a licensed practical nurse.

Thinking another transfer with the telephone company would take place within a few years, Trueblood didn't plan to stay at the hospital very long. But the Truebloods started a family, and Jefferson County became home.

More than four decades later, Trueblood said it will be difficult for her to leave the building where she's dedicated so much time and care to patients over the years.

"King's Daughters' has been a great place to work," she said.

Trueblood experienced several changes at the hospital, including additions to the downtown building and advances in medical care services.

"I remember the first ICU," she said.

Several other expansions took place during Trueblood's tenure at KDH. A fourth floor was added to the hospital in 1971, and the Rinda F. Rains Wing was completed in 1978.

Just a few years later, two floors were added to the Rinda Rains Wing to add space to the expanding hospital. The Medical Office Building opened downtown in 2001, adding space near the hospital for doctors, physicians and other medical services.

"They kept up with the changes," she said.

Trueblood kept up with healthcare and nursing changes as well. She attended Marian University in Indianapolis in the late 1980s, earning an associate degree in nursing while working at the hospital on the weekends. She also returned to school to earn a bachelor's degree from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1998 to keep up with nursing procedures and medical advances.

After earning her degree at Marian, she began working in the ICU and cared for the hospital's most critically ill patients.

"I love that type of nursing," she said of the ICU.

The one-on-one attention she could give to the patients proved to be a major draw for Trueblood to work in the ICU for the past 25 years.

Yet even within the one area of specialized care, she's seen several changes. Newer technologies have come available, limiting the need for nurses to constantly check in on a patient to monitor progress. Monitors now keep up with changes at one centralized area. With medical advances, patient demands for a faster healing time have become common as well.

Another major change over the years has been the switch in paper patient records to electronic forms.

"And that was quite a challenge to learn," she said. "You just have to keep learning."

Even though Trueblood enjoyed her years at King's Daughters', she began planning for retirement a while ago. She thought about retiring last year, yet she decided to stay on until the hospital moved to the new location. But she's already made a few plans for her retirement.

"I can't imagine myself not working," she said. "I have to keep active."

The Truebloods plan to do some traveling. She and her husband hope to visit Alaska and take a winter vacation to Florida.

And while she doesn't plan to work at the new hospital, volunteering might be an option eventually, she said.

"I think it's very, very sad," she said of the downtown building closure, yet she understands the need for an expanded facility. "It's going to be like a new job for the nurses."

She'll work this morning to help prepare patients for transport to the new facility before saying her farewells to co-workers - and the building that's been part of her life for 45 years.