On December 13, Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) held its annual staff meeting and paid tribute to retiring, long-time nurse, Liz Norris.
When Liz announced her retirement earlier this year, staff were saddened. She has been a fixture with the organization for more than 40 years, starting with VNA under the direction of founder Bess MacCulloch, in 1955, just three years after the organization formed! After a few years, Liz wanted to continue her education in nursing midwifery and was accepted at Columbia University in New York.
During her time away from VNA, she worked with her father, until his health was failing. She found herself caring for him, and later her mother, when her health declined. It was during this time that Liz felt the need to get back to her health care roots, but also care for patients in their homes. Returning to VNA in 1980, she began working in the home health care division. Several years later, Liz moved out of the field and into the office. It was here that her ability to understand the health care needs of the community with a key eye for budget and business development were needed.
Liz oversaw the flu clinics throughout the Blue Water Area for 15 years. At the time, no one was doing anything like it. In its heyday, there were more than 40 flu clinics each year throughout the area. In 2015, the program ended due to the number of pharmacies, doctors, and other organizations offering a low-cost flu shot.
In addition to flu shot clinics, Liz also lead blood pressure clinics at senior living facilities in the area. Again, as things change, so do services. The facilities began to have their own nursing staff and the blood pressure clinics were no longer necessary. “Everything changes over time. You have to look at need, cost effectiveness, and other available resources,” says Liz.
While Liz may be retiring, she will still be present at Visiting Nurse Association and Blue Water Hospice (VNA/BWH). She plans to volunteer for the hospice service division, focusing on patients under hospice care who choose to remain in their homes. She will continue administering flu shots to staff at the annual VNA/BWH skills fair. Liz also plans to stay busy volunteering with her church, Woman’s Life group, and a local adult day program, where she currently assists with music exercise.
“Liz has been a true asset to this organization. We appreciate her many years of service and dedication to our patients and their families. It is because of her love for VNA and Blue Water Hospice, that we wanted to give something back to her, that’s why we are naming our board room in honor of her. On December 13, we officially re-named it the Liz Norris Board Room. It’s our way of thanking her for the thousands of hearts she’s touched in her more than 40 years with us,” says Angela DeLaere, president and CEO of Visiting Nurse Association Health Services.
Since 1952, Visiting Nurse Association has provided a continuum of care including home health care, palliative care, private duty, and hospice care to the people of St. Clair, Sanilac, Lapeer, and Macomb counties. Visiting Nurse Association and Blue Water Hospice is a non-profit organization that provides high-quality, cost-effective health care to any patient and family member with short-term, long-term, or end-of-life care. Learn more about the services offered by VNA/BWH by visiting www.vnabwh.com.