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Mary Loftus - Jan. Employee of the Month

What is your role at Washington Regional?
I am proud to be a staff/charge nurse in the nursery/NICU on the Maternal/Child unit. I am also part of the SHARE support team, an NRP certified insurance instructor and I teach CPR to parents and caregivers of our premises.

How long have you been at Washington Regional? Why did you choose Washington Regional as an employer?
I am a master's prepared Family Nurse Practitioner by education who came to NW Arkansas in the late 80s. Washington Regional hired me to be Home Health Supervisor in 1989. After maternity leave I returned to mother-child services, declared night shift and was asked to work nursery by Dona Clark, R.N. I worked 15 years on nights until my family needed me to be homework taskmaster to my junior and senior high children. The switch paid off: they all received scholarships for college!

What do you like best about your job?
The best part of my job is the teamwork. I couldn't believe I was singled out for the Employee of the Month when I see myself as part of a team. I couldn't do what I do without the other staff. I feel this award is for everyone on the unit. Having said that, I am very humbled and surprised at how important this honor is to me. Yes, it is team work, yes the unit deserves this, but I'll keep the plaque at my home and display it with pride. My co-workers can come and view it any time, day or night!  

Describe your family.
My husband, David, is a farmer, a carpenter/contractor, and a landlord. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s when he put the hay equipment up for the season, he'd take the bulldozer out and start working on a house foundation. He would have it framed-in by winder and finish the inside by the time hay season rolled around again. Together with a small vending business, my family's four-pronged financial base includes my nursing, rental properties and the sale of cattle from the farm. My oldest daughter, Elizabeth, is married to Micah Gunsaulis, has an 11 month-old son, Matthew, graduated cum laude in 3 years from Boston University in 2008, graduated from the U of A law school and passed the Arkansas Bar in 2011. She is finishing her master of law at the U of A in agriculture and food law.  She hopes to work with Indian Law after graduation this May. Helen, my second daughter, is a chancellor scholar at the U of A, is a Pi Phi, completed her first major in Spanish and is a junior in the nursing program. She works as a PCA and translator at NWAPC. Emily, my youngest daughter, is on scholarship in animal nutrition at Kansas State University. I tell you I was rooting for both sides during the Cotton Bowl of 2012! My kids will roll their eyes toward heaven when I saw I attribute their continued success to the "5 Fs": our faith, our family, our friends, 4-H, and the farm.

What are your hobbies?
I am a master gardener with a 3/4 acre garden. I planted over 1000 sunflowers for my daughter's wedding in 2009. I am also a master food preserver and teach both youth and adults in Washington, Benton and Madison counties. I have taught the Regional Fair Judging School in food preservation. I am co-chair of the Washington County Junior Food Preservation and bring our county youth canned jars to District Fair in Fort Smith and State Fair in Little Rock. I figure if it only takes an adult to transport jars to these fairs to support junior canning, then let me be the one! The entries at our county fair show that support. Last year there were a record 848 entries in our division. The fair board is building new shelves for us! I also transported 186 jars to District and 256 jars to State.

What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
People may be surprised that in our two-story 1800 square-foot farm house in Goshen there is a library with nearly 5,000 books all in Dewey Decimal System. I noticed many libraries are in the Library of Congress system, but I'm not converting! (I don't have a card catalog system--that would be too much, don't you think?) My girls are all avid readers, a skill reflected in their studies.

What do you like best about Northwest Arkansas?
My husband and I are from Chicago and moved to NW Arkansas in 1988 to raise our family on a farm. We love that we have four seasons with spring and the fall being the longest.

What customer service skills help you manage your job duties?
Actually, this question should be answered by others I work with, but I feel I am an empathetic listener and do not judge people. In Women's Services we see families in change. I believe there are three genders: man, woman and the post-partum woman. The hormonal, physical and emotional changes are tremendous. This is the time we deal with these families. I believe a calm, non-judgmental approach is best, forgiving almost immediately any word or inappropriate behavior. Several years ago, Washington Regional provided a two-day seminar on people skills. Some called it "charm school," but I gleaned a lot from that course.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Working with the babies and the families are the most rewarding part of my job. As a Nursery nurse I liken my role as the one who helps them make the transition between two worlds, just like the picture of the angel crossing the bridge with the boy and girl. They don't know where they have come. Sometimes they're scared and a reassuring voice and touch is all they need. And I feel the Labor & Delivery and Nursing nurses provide that comfort. I am proud to be a part of that team.

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 Washington Regional
 3215 N. North Hills Blvd.
 Fayetteville, AR 72703
 (479) 463-1000


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