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60 years strong, 80 years young

Albany Memorial honors longtime nurse Esther Rappold for decades of service

Esther Rappold, 80, hugs friends, family and coworkers at a surprise celebration for her 60 years of service as a nurse at Albany Memorial Hospital.

Esther Rappold, 80, hugs friends, family and coworkers at a surprise celebration for her 60 years of service as a nurse at Albany Memorial Hospital. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— As Albany Memorial Hospital Clinical Resources Manager Karen Julian escorted nurse Esther Rappold through the hospital parking lot, Rappold couldn’t stop asking questions. She had been told she was headed to a patient readmission avoidance meeting.

“She had 5,000 questions. ‘What time is the meeting? Shouldn’t we be going quicker?’” Julian said. “It was unbelievable getting her here. Now I know why she is so good at patient assessment … because she asks so many questions.”

The urgency of Rappold’s questions only further emphasized her dedication to the hospital, which she has walked the halls of for the past 60 years.

Only a few hundred feet away from the parking lot, about 50 of Rappold’s friends, family and coworkers waited for the 80-year-old nurse to walk through the Conklin Conference Room’s door. They had gathered to celebrate Rappold’s six decades of service at the hospital – a record-breaking number of years out of the hospital’s entire 900 staff members.

As the door opened, everyone yelled “Surprise!” Afterward, a seemingly timid, yet surprised Rappold hugged and thanked the crowd.

“This is very well deserved for her,” Don, one of Rappold’s sons, said. “Usually parents are proud of their kids, but we’re very proud of her.”

Sixty years at the hospital and still going strong, it seems like Rappold has hardly taken a day off in her life, minus a few weeks after giving birth to each of her three sons. Growing up the youngest of 10 in Coeymans, Rappold said many of her sisters were involved in health care in some form or another. At 17, she said, she made the “best choice I could make” by following in one of her sister’s footsteps and enrolling at the Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. Shortly after graduating, she jumped on board as operating room nurse in May of 1953 at Albany Memorial Hospital, later moving on to different positions until her current one as clinical resources management assistant.

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