Homer Glen resident celebrates 45 years of service at Palos Hospital
In 1978, Grease premiered in theaters, Van Halen released their debut album, and Palos Hospital hired a medical transcriptionist who was launching a career that has spanned more than four decades.
Donna Boonstra, of Homer Glen, recently celebrated her 45-year service anniversary at Northwestern Medicine.
After taking classes on medical terminology and typing in high school, Boonstra began her career in health care as a medical transcriptionist at Palos Hospital in January 1978. Before long, she advanced to assistant supervisor and then supervisor.
When Boonstra started in medical transcription, medical records required a different set of technology. “I used an electric typewriter, and we used carbon paper so we had copies of the paperwork,” she said.
“I would have to type everything, and if I made a mistake, I would have to go back and use correction fluid to fix it.”
Over the years, she enjoyed the unique perspective of her role. “Even though there was no patient contact, I still kept in touch with patients in a way,” she said. “Ensuring the integrity of their medical records was imperative.”
To better support her work and challenge herself, Boonstra pursued a bachelor’s degree and went on to earn a master’s degree.
“I feel so fortunate that Palos and Northwestern Medicine have tuition reimbursement programs,” she said. In 2017, Boonstra became a Health Information Management scanning coordinator and then, in 2021, an administrative coordinator in Operations for Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group.
Boonstra says she appreciates the colleagues she has worked with over the years. When her sister passed away from cancer earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, those relationships helped her cope. “The overwhelming support of my Northwestern Medicine co-workers helped me through a difficult time,” she said.
“Through the years, I have been fortunate to work with many people who have made an impact on my life,” Boonstra noted. “A lot of time is spent together here at Northwestern Medicine with respect and support for one another.”
Since her birthday was just two days after her work anniversary, Boonstra had a combination birthday and work anniversary celebration with family and friends.
To learn more about Northwestern Medicine, visit nm.org.
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