Terry Marshall gave two years notice of her retirement to the Selkirk Medical Group, intending to hire her replacement and slowly hand over the reigns.
Then the pandemic hit.
As the medical office manager — aka office M.O.M. — Marshall and the team of physicians jumped into gear and within ten days all appointments were over the phone.
“You kind of learn to roll with the punches (in the medical field),” she said. “You might have a plan in your mind of what you want to get done that day but you walk in the door and the plan changes completely.”
The clinic spent much of the pandemic understaffed, as parents with kids struggled to find childcare and others moved onto different jobs.
“I was so proud to be a part of all of that, helping people to manage to get through it,” Marshall said.
|Terry Marshall circe 1998, prior to getting the medical office manager position. (Contributed)|
Though there have been many changes over the 45 years Marshall has been at the office, the pandemic was the most traumatic she said, chuckling at the bad timing of it all.
When Marshall was hired as a receptionist by Dr. Geoff Battersby in 1975, she didn’t have any relevant experience, having gone to school to study interior design and returning home with a distaste for city life.
“He took a chance on me and the rest is history,” she recalled with a laugh.
Battersby, who is now retired and lives in Vernon, said he had no doubt that she would be a valuable employee.
“She was a fast learner in the specifics of each of her positions and rightfully, she eventually became the clinic manager,” he said. “She was an easy-going person with a pleasing personality and very competent in every way. I thank her for her loyal service through the years and wish her good health and fulfillment in her retirement.”
Though Marshall started off as the youngest person in the office, she finished her last day of full-time work on May 28 as the oldest. She will be in and out for the rest of the year, acting as a mentor to the new manager.
“I would like them to emphasize her consummate professionalism, trustworthiness and hard work and dedication to supporting medical care for Revelstoke residents for the past what is it 45 years,” said Dr. Cameron Molder, who is currently the longest serving physician at the clinic.
Marshall learned to type on a typewriter, often transcribing for specialists when they came to town. She had to take the typewriter and copy of Taber’s medical dictionary home with her to do the work.
As she made her way up the ranks, technology continued to evolve.
|A photo from the archives of Terry Marshall in her early days. (Contributed)|
From a DOS operating system with the original eight-inch floppy disks to the introduction of Microsoft Office, which Marshall described as “actually making life easier.”
What really changed things was the 2010 switch to electronic medical records. Suddenly the paper charts, that took up a whole room of storage space, were no longer necessary.
The continuous change and daily chances to learn are what kept Marshall in the office for 45 years, she said.
“There is a lot to learn about people and the way they act and react in different situations.”
The hardest part through it all was watching people she knew in the community, neighbours and friends, going through hard times.
“It was hard not to take it personally.”
She also had a hard time when the public were abusive towards her staff, especially the receptionists who worked really hard and had to put up with a lot.
While managing a team that grew to be 20 administrative staff and 15 physicians, Marshall also raised two children, with her husband that she met while going to high school in Revelstoke.
She said she is worried about what she will do with all of her spare time, but also excited for the next chapter in her life which will include kayaking, gardening, baking and international travel, when the pandemic allows.
What she will miss most is the amazing people she worked with over the years, luckily she knows she will be welcomed back — especially if she brings baking.