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Rankin turns in her stethoscope after 35 years

Susie Rankin holds a button Monday that her staff has been using to count down the days until her retirement.  Rankin had three days left because she is scheduled to retire today as director of Emergency and Urgent Care Services at Harrison Hospital in Bremerton, closing out a 35-year medical career. - Photo by Rogerick Anas
Susie Rankin holds a button Monday that her staff has been using to count down the days until her retirement. Rankin had three days left because she is scheduled to retire today as director of Emergency and Urgent Care Services at Harrison Hospital in Bremerton, closing out a 35-year medical career.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

In 1967 Harrison Memorial Hospital had about 400 emergency cases a month and Bremerton-native Susie Rankin started her career as an emergency room nurse.

Today she retires as Director for Emergency and Urgent Care Services closing out a 35-year career.

“I have mixed emotions,” she said while sitting in her semi-packed office.

“I am very excited. I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom, even though I don’t have kids at home anymore. It will be a fun chapter in our lives,” she said.

Rankin and her husband Larry, who earlier this year retired from the Bremerton Fire Department, plan to visit their granddaughter in Texas and spend more time with each other.

Rankin graduated from West High School and did her RN training at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma. A vacancy came open in the Harrison ER and she took it.

This was before radios, before EMT’s, during a time when people didn’t go to the emergency room unless they absolutely had to.

During her 35 years at Harrison she has seen four large construction projects, including the $12 million renovation and expansion of the emergency department. She has seen the number of emergency care patients go to 3,000 a month and felt the increasing demands on an Emergency Department — something Louann Bean will have to take on when she replaces Rankin Aug. 1.

Bean has a 20-year history with the hospital as an RN and more recently as project manager for the emergency room renovation and expansion.

“She has a vast knowledge of emergency services at this hospital,” Bean said of Rankin.

“She’s never gotten a shortimer’s attitude. She’s got her nose to the grindstone,” Bean said.

Rankin has been giving Bean tidbits of advice as she prepared to hand over her stethoscope.

“I’ve told her to be sure and take care of herself and to take time for herself. This is a huge job,” she said.

Huge responsibility comes, however, with huge rewards.

Helping people cope with the loss of a loved one or bringing a new life into the world have been a rewarding part of the clinical side of the job. The first baby she helped deliver 30 years ago still lives in the Bremerton area she said.

As for the managerial side of her career, she has found joy in watching her staff grow in their careers. For instance she hired Bean as an ER nurse in 1980.

“The commitment people give to this profession is very inspiring to me,” she said.

A nurse’s life in the ER

1990 - Rankin finished her masters in business and became a full-time manager at the hospital

1995 -- Harrison’s Urgent Care Clinic opens in Port Orchard

1997 - Harrison’s Sexual Assault program is established, Rankin also oversees that program

2000 - Emergency Department at Harrison Silverdale opens.

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