The value of a flour
sack: the career of Tena Lyndon
Like Sophie Kettleson,
Tena Lyndon grew up knowing the value of a flour sack. Her family arrived
from Ireland in 1926 when she was three and her childhood years were spent
in an environment with very little money. The fact
that everyone else was poor may have helped, but she still learned to be part
of a family team - working all the hours God gave to keep food on the
table and shoes on the feet.
The home nursing care
provided by Tena’s mother when any of the children were sick likely
influenced the woman when she chose a career in nursing. However, a
bout with appendicitis when she was a teen, introduced her to Alice Keith,
the matron of the Vermillion Hospital who helped her to make up her mind.
her training, Tena worked in a variety of situations--the Vegreville Hospital
where she had trained, as the only staff person in the coal-mining town of
Mountain Park, private nursing, teaching. In 1964, she joined the staff at
the Norwood Auxiliary Hospital. It was a time when the focus for long term
care was changing from custodial care to quality of life care, and nurses
like Tena Lyndon made it happen.
Kettleson, by that time matron at Norwood, Tena was able to let loose all that
compassion she had for the elderly or the injured. Only two years later she
was asked to be matron of the newly opened Lynwood unit. Friends and colleagues
talk about the eighteen-hour days she worked and the continuous efforts she
made to improve the quality of the residents' lives. Raising funds was something
she was particularly good at and when the Edmonton Police Association donated
a wheelchair accessible bus to take residents to special events and outings,
they called the bus, "Tena's Dream."
the things that Sophie Kettleson and Tena Lyndon did for "their" residents
have come to be part of what's expected at other long-term care facilities.
Even as cutbacks and tight budgets have strained resources in these facilities,
there are other Sophies and Tenas who are giving their patients the quality
of life they deserve.
From People and Progress by John Patrick Gillese