Espenshade reflects on 35 years with Hershey Medical Center

In October 1982, Epcot opened at Disney World, the USSR performed an underground nuclear test and Sue Espenshade started her career with Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Thirty-five years later, she’s preparing to say goodbye to her co-workers and volunteers – the people she calls her second family.

Espenshade first started with the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at the Rehabilitation Hospital, located in Elizabethtown at that time, after earning her nursing degree at Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing. There, she worked her way from night shift change nurse to assistant nurse manager, earning her bachelor of science degree at the College of St. Francis while she worked. In 1991, the Rehabilitation Unit moved to the new south addition of the main hospital in Hershey.

“It was a bit of a culture shock coming from a free-standing hospital ‘in the woods’ to a very large clinical setting,” she recalled.

Espenshade always enjoyed working with people, a key component for nursing, but as assistant nurse manager, she spent most of her time doing management and administrative work, and administration training. She decided to make a change and became the Medical Center’s first patient- and family-centered care coordinator in 1998, integrating patient and family insight into operational decision-making.

“It was wonderful to help introduce the concept that families have important insight into the way care should be delivered to their children,” she said of the position.

Already passionate about volunteer work, Espenshade became the co-chair of the employee fundraising committee for Children’s Miracle Network and coordinated hundreds of sales events. She made her mark in that position, earning the Kienle Humanitarian Nurses Award in 2000. The award recognizes exemplary care by providers, nurses and medical students.

Learn more about Espenshade and her 35 years at Hershey Medical Center in this Penn State Medicine article.

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Last Updated April 10, 2018