HGB nurse celebrates 50 years of patient care and growth

In 1968, Cheryl Laverty began her career at Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital (HGB) as a Licensed Practical Nurse, when the United States was at war in Vietnam, and Robert Kennedy announced his presidential campaign.

Over 50 years of working in health care, Laverty saw her fair share of patient care, policy, medicinal and treatment changes. When she was first hired at HGB the emergency room only had one bed, doctors worked on-call from home, and the ambulance doubled as the local hearse. Laverty was first hired to work on the medical-surgical floor, but she transitioned to the emergency room after finishing her RN certification. She currently works one day a week in endoscopy.

While working in the emergency room full-time for more than 25 years, Laverty also had three children. Her daughter, Erica Terwilliger, works as a registered nurse at HGB and Sparrow hospitals. Her sons, Aaron and Dustin, work at Alro Steel and General Motors respectively. She is proud of her children and happy to have had a positive influence on them and their education. “They all said that they went to school because they saw me get my bachelor’s in my 40s while I was working and being a mom, and that really inspired them,” Laverty said.

Managing her work and family, Laverty spent what free time she had kayaking, doing yoga, bicycling and gardening. Staying active, she said, was important for keeping her in shape, helping her deal with stress, and keeping her body and mind flexible.

Having worked in healthcare for so many years, Laverty has many interesting stories to share. One in particular she still loves to tell. “This was when I was house supervisor; I got a call from OB. They said there was trouble because a lady was having twins. So I went up there and Dr. Robert Leeser was with me, and I saw one twin was out, but the other one was sideways. It couldn’t come out, so we were all scared while trying to assist the birth,” Laverty said. Eventually, the physician was able to turn the baby and deliver him properly.

“I still know both those boys; they’re both fine now,” Laverty declared. “It was almost heroic because we all thought we were going to lose that baby boy.”

Stories about her patients and lifesaving moments like this are what Laverty said really come to mind when she remembers her years of service. When asked about her favorite moment, Laverty said it’s actually her collective memories every time someone remembers her for taking care of them, helping them through a surgery, or helping save a life.