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Employee Spotlight

Janice Overall retires after 47 years of nursing at Vanderbilt—most of it caring for children in the Pediatrics clinic

"I thought I'd only stay here three years. I've been here ever since!"

by May 8, 2018

Janice Overall, LPN, center, enjoys a laugh at her retirement party with two of the hundreds of colleagues she has worked with over the decades: Gerald Hickson, MD, senior vice president for Quality, Safety and Risk Prevention, and Meg Rush, MD, chief of staff of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Photo by Susan Urmy

Editor’s note: Janice Overall, LPN, recently retired after a remarkable career spanning more than 47 years at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She spoke to reporter Matt Bacheldor.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a nurse?

The first time I decided I was going to be a nurse was when I started helping out at my hometown hospital, Macon County Hospital in Lafayette, Tennessee. When I was a senior in high school, as I got closer to graduation, I said, “OK, now, what am I going to do?” And somebody said, “Well, why don’t you go on and be a nurse?” And I said, “Hmm, I can try that.” I went to Metro and got into the nursing program. They put me in Vanderbilt and I just kept working. And once I started working, it was so interesting, the things that I was doing, it was just so much fun. I thought I’d only stay here three years. I turned around and it was 10 years. Then I turned around again and it was 20 years. I decided there was no need in me going anywhere. I’m going to stay right here. And I’ve been here ever since!

What areas of Vanderbilt have you worked in?

I started in the general surgical floor (in the old Vanderbilt University Hospital), which was adults, and I worked there for about four years. That was really interesting. I had a lot of interesting patients. After the four years, I transferred down to the pediatric clinic (after a brief stint at the eye clinic.) Never looked back.

What has been your biggest joy as a nurse?

Helping my clinic win Clinic of the Year at Vanderbilt, then winning the Credo Award and getting my 45-year pin.

What has been your biggest challenge?

You’re going to run into negative people but you just have to do what you’re supposed to do, show them that you know what you’re talking about, know what you’re doing and handle the situation.

What are your plans for retirement?

Taking care of my grandchildren and traveling a little bit and helping take care of my sister. I have five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

What will you remember most about Vanderbilt?

I worked here for [more than 45] years. I did it. And that’s the main thing that I encourage my grandchildren and children: you’re there to work a job. You work the job and it might be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. but you give it your full and best work. Don’t be hopping around, chasing job after job, chasing money. Sometimes if you stand still, stay at the place, you might get exactly what you want.

Pediatrics, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital, nursing, Janice Overall, Gerald Hickson, Meg Rush