40 Years at St. Claire

Posted on: November 24, 2014 2:00 pm
Tags: St claire regional,

If you saw in October what looked to be Sr. Mary Jeanne Frances Cleves, SND riding a tractor in the Morehead (KY) Sears parking lot, your eyes did not deceive you. St. Claire Regional Medical Center (SCR) celebrated Sr. Jeanne Frances’ 40 years of service at SCR by honoring her with the gift of a Craftsman riding lawn mower.

Sr. Jeanne Frances said, “I chose the riding lawn mower because we had a farm when I was a child in Crescent Springs. I always saw farmers on their tractors in the fields and thought that someday I would do that, too! I knew we did not have a need for the mower here, so I asked if the provincial house in Covington could use it.” Sr. Jeanne Frances donated the mower to St. Joseph Heights. When the maintenance staff asked how she would get the tractor to Covington, she replied, "I am going to wear a sign that says 'St. Claire Medical Center' and ride it up! And a friend of mine will follow behind with food and gas. It will only take us six hours."

After serving as the emergency room coordinator and the employee health nurse coordinator, Sr. Jeanne Frances is now the patient satisfaction liaison at SCR. She interviews patients before they depart from the hospital to ensure that every visitor receives the best care possible. 

Sr. Jeanne Frances’ understanding of providing top-notch healthcare began in 1963.  Following a year of training as a nurse in the OB department at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Sr. Jeanne Frances left Northern Kentucky to facilitate the opening of St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, KY.

At that time, the trip from Covington to SCR took approximately four hours. Sr. Jeanne Frances remembered, “There was a gravel road to get to the site through Maysville, which took several hours. I thought to myself on the first trip, ‘If I ever get there, I’ll never want to leave again.’”

Despite being hours away from Covington, Sr. Jeanne Frances quickly felt at home in Morehead. She said, “Before the kitchen was finished in our house, we had one hot plate to share among four people. Each night we would decide who would get to use it first if we wanted a hot meal. Dr. Claire Louise told our neighbors and in no time at all, hot meals began arriving at our door each evening. Our friends in the area took turns cooking for us until the kitchen was finished.”

Sr. Jeanne Frances made many friends of all ages in Morehead. “I will never forget the little children on Allen Avenue," she said, “They were always outside playing and every now and then, I would join them. They would stand under my window and shout, ‘Sr. Jeanne! Can you come out and play tonight?’ Between the ladies bringing us meals and the neighborhood kids, that's how we won the town over and we all became friends.”

Sr. Jeanne Frances began her ministry at SCR by assisting in surgery. She did this for ten years before receiving a temporary medical assignment in Indonesia, which lasted until the end of the 1970s. Upon returning to the United States, Sr. Jeanne Frances followed the road once again to Morehead and resumed her work at St. Claire, this time in the delivery and emergency rooms. 

Because of her longevity at SCR, Sr. Jeanne Frances sees the third generation of some of her first patients in Morehead. In fact, she said, “A patient recently said to me, ‘I know you and you know the boy over there. Twenty years ago you helped deliver him!’”

After chuckling at that interaction, Sr. Jeanne Frances continued, “Another women told me, ‘Over the years, you have taken care of my mother and my daughter, who is a doctor now, and I know that your birthday is August 10.’ I asked her how she knew that and she showed me a scar on her ankle. It turns out she was checking out of the hospital years ago after a procedure on her ankle. It happened to be August 10 and she saw someone bring in a cake for my birthday. That’s when I remembered that she left the hospital and returned with a birthday gift, a day planner! It was so nice.”

Sr. Jeanne Frances, reflecting on her time as a nurse, said, “I do not represent only myself in this field, but also the Sisters of Notre Dame community, the hospitals I’ve worked at, and the Catholic faith. I am lucky to have 54 total years as a nurse. I always tell them I’m going for 54 more.”

Congratulations, Sr. Mary Jeanne Frances!

Frances Galbavy
Date: on December 5, 2014

You are truly amazing. You are always thinking of everyone else. Thanks for all of your kindness. It is such an honor to be named after you. Love, Fran

Marilyn and Jim Souders
Date: on December 3, 2014

Sr. Jeanne Frances, We are so proud of you! Seeing you on the tractor reminded us of seeing your Daddy on his tractor at the farm. He is definitely smiling down at you! Love, Marilyn & Jim

Marilyn and Jim Souders
Date: on December 3, 2014

Sr. Jeanne Frances, We are so proud of you! Seeing you on the tractor reminded us of seeing your Daddy on his tractor at the farm. He is definitely smiling down at you! Love, Marilyn & Jim

maryjo karch
Date: on December 3, 2014

Sr. Pinky! What a wonderful article/what a wonderful LIFE!! Congrats on 40 yrs., at SCR., and here's to 40 more! Love the tractor story....and YOU! God bless! Mary Jo/and Jack Karch

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