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VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Celebrates Women’s History Month

Margaret Perry, one of the first employees at Community Memorial Hospital in 1954, worked in Central Sterile.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) is celebrating Women’s History Month by sharing the story of one of the first employees at the hospital back in 1954.

Nearing her 88th birthday next month, Margaret Perry vividly recalls details about her job back then. She worked in Central Sterile, making sure all operating room tools and equipment were properly sterilized. She could name specific procedures and remembered a time when they had to pull nurse anesthetists from Petersburg General in order to perform surgeries, sometimes late at night. “I have spent every hour at that hospital, day or night. It was my home away from home,” Ms. Perry explained.

She faced challenges at work like anyone else. Sometimes coworkers would question why she was able to work in the operating room. She already had experience from a prior job at Petersburg General, which positioned her for a better job at CMH. She knew the value of her skills and accomplishments.

She described the culture at the hospital in the 1950s, “It was like a small family. Everybody knew everybody, they shared knowledge and helped each other out.” Ask any employee today and you’ll get a similar answer.

When Ms. Perry retired, she still worked part-time at the hospital. She doesn’t get around as well as she used to, but she still lives in South Hill and takes good care of her health. She is very proud of her son and daughter and enjoys visits from her grand-dog.

Margaret Perry, one of the first employees at Community Memorial Hospital in 1954, worked in Central Sterile.

Margaret Perry, one of the first employees at Community Memorial Hospital in 1954, worked in Central Sterile.