Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 29, 1999
Camrose hospital marks 75 years
By DONNA LYNNE SIEWERT
Special to the WCR
Invited by the town council, the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul established St. Mary's Hospital in Camrose 75 years ago.
The relationship between the residents of Camrose and surrounding area has remained strong, evident in the growth and success that St. Mary's Hospital celebrates today.
In 1924, the hospital officially opened with four doctors, five sisters and two nurses on staff.
The pioneering sisters faced many challenges. They remained committed to their mission, without the conveniences and amenities taken for granted today.
A school of nursing was formed that first year and continued for eight years until the standards for nursing care changed. A 50-bed hospital was seen to have limited learning opportunities for a training program.
A most rewarding experience for the sisters was that the hospital was granted full accreditation status for the first time in 1931. Out of 98 hospitals in the province, St. Mary's Hospital was one of 14 granted accreditation. This status continues to the present.
The $100,000 debt on the building was paid by 1933 thanks to contributions of townspeople who supported the sisters.
A new wing was added in 1949 and in 1969 another addition enlarged the facility. By the 1980s, St. Mary's Hospital was overcrowded and after much discussion with government and advisors, it was decided to build a new facility.
In 1989, the present hospital was built and is the largest acute care hospital in the East Central Region, employing over 300 people and providing a multitude of services.
Deeply rooted in the mission of the Sisters of Providence, the governing board, administration and staff continue to provide Camrose and area with compassionate, holistic health care.
This provides the faith and strength that is needed to continue forging ahead, growing with new technology and addressing the ever-changing needs of the community.
Out-patient services have taken on a new focus that could never have been imagined a few years ago. A number of services that were only available in Edmonton are now provided locally.
During 1999, events have been held to mark the milestone anniversary. The community has joined in the festivities and takes pride in its hospital. The museum display of artifacts set up in the hospital foyer, volunteer and auxiliary teas, re-dedication ceremony of the statue of the Virgin Mary, homecoming evening, Eucharist celebration and community anniversary banquet were enjoyed by many.
Just as the Sisters of Providence who came west from Kingston, Ont., walked hand in hand with the villagers of Camrose, St. Mary's Hospital supporters today come alongside and make this hospital succeed.
St. Mary's Hospital is a 76-bed acute care hospital owned by the Sisters of Providence and operated in cooperation with East Central Health.