46 years of memories lead to milestone retirement for Ginny Norsten

Published in Medical Professionals Tag:

Author: Staff

The Watergate scandal was in full swing and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” was the top hit on the Billboard music charts. That same year the Willmar Clinic completed a 25,000 square foot addition and a fresh new employee, Ginny Norsten (then Ginny Grausam before marriage) began her first day at the Willmar Medical Center on September 17, 1973.

As one year turned to two, the clock slowly ticked the days away, and soon Ginny Norsten had spent nearly five decades serving patients and staff while contributing to the success of the clinic system in our communities.

1978 - Ginny as a receptionist in the Willmar Clinic.

"I started as a receptionist," said Ginny. "At that time there was a desk in the middle of the waiting room. My job was to weigh, and take the height if needed, for the patient. I would then take them back to the exam room. After writing the weight/height on the paper charge ticket, we would attach it to their chart and put the patient’s chart in a box on the wall. I ran all day back and forth to the dumb waiter which carried charts from the lower level of the clinic where medical records were located. At that time, all the services were located on the main floor."

Through the years Ginny held many different roles. Her initiative, willingness and ability to cultivate teamwork moved her from her first job as a receptionist to the reception manager which included managing staff for all the affiliate sites at that time.

"I also served as the Employee Support Manager," recalls Ginny. "I orientated new staff, as well as doing initial computer training for our reception and nursing departments, and I completed orientation for new providers." You might have also met Ginny when she filled in as a patient greeter at the front of the Willmar main clinic a time or two!

2019 - Helping with EPIC training

While there were many changes that Ginny remembers over the years, she feels the transition to the Epic electronic health record system at the clinics in 2019 was probably the biggest. "The time and energy put into preparing for Epic go-live was unbelievable. We have such great staff that put in so many hours. I worked closely with many team members and I loved every minute," Ginny shared. "It was fun getting to know the CentraCare staff in preparation for the transition, and I enjoyed the weeks leading up to go-live working together. Everyone did a great job!"

2012 - With Dr. Darrell Carter in Granite Falls

There aren’t many areas or clinic employees in southwest and west central Minnesota that Ginny Norsten didn’t meet, greet or train in some way during her 46 ½ years with Willmar Medical Center/ACMC/Carris Health. She enthusiastically served as a site manager for the clinic in Granite Falls and as an interim site manager for the Redwood Falls clinic. She has celebrated weddings, new babies, graduations, retirements and even deaths with her wide circle of colleagues and work friends.

Her last position before retirement was as the Patient Support Manager for the Willmar clinics. The receptionists, referral team members and interpreter services reported to Ginny.

With a smile and a laugh that are familiar to many, Ginny reminisced that she has truly loved the variety of roles she has served in throughout her years in healthcare. She particularly enjoyed assisting with the different locations when there were mergers and integrations into the system.

“I felt like our entire team always came together doing whatever needed to be done to make it a success,” said Ginny. “We met a lot of great people and helped them to feel welcomed into our ACMC (and now Carris) family.”

However, while Ginny says she loved working with all the employees, she admits that driving the rural roads in southwest Minnesota during winter months when the weather was horrible may have been her least favorite part of the job.

When asked about her future retirement plans, Ginny shares that she’ll be busy helping with her three grandsons. “I plan to be known as my favorite title, Grandma Ginny, and get to know all of my grandsons’ friends,” smiled Ginny.

Undoubtedly Ginny will tackle this next chapter with the same dedication she has shown during her multi-decade career. The mark she has left on thousands of patients and staff won’t soon be forgotten.

Barb Olson, Pat Tengwall & Ginny Norsten, pictured in 1988, all retired in 2020 after more than 40 years each with the health system.

Retiring during a pandemic does not allow for the celebratory party with in-person well wishes, hugs or gatherings of co-workers to reminisce. But for Ginny and all of the team members who have retired during this time of social distancing, we genuinely thank them for the countless lives impacted and for making Carris Health a better place to work and care for others.