Advance with MUSC Health

"This Place Raised Me:" Nurse celebrates 50 years of service at MUSC Health Kershaw Medical Center

Advance With MUSC Health
December 23, 2021
Nurse Sallie Barrett with fellow nurses.

Sallie Barrett, RN, started her nursing career as a candy striper in middle school and is now celebrating 50 years of dedicated service at MUSC Health Kershaw Medical Center.

Nurse Sallie Barrett with fellow nurses..

Barrett says she didn't choose a career in health care, but that it was chosen for her.

"I thank God for sending me in the direction of nursing," Barrett says. "I never planned on being here 50 years, but I knew this is where he wanted me to be."

Barrett, the longest-tenured nurse at MUSC Health Kershaw, says she couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

"This place raised me," Barrett says. "Taking care of people is the same everywhere, but this is my home. Why go anywhere else when I have the best co-workers, community and best leadership right here?"

Nurse Sallie Barrett with fellow nurses.

Barrett, who hates being the center of attention, says the hospital should be the one recognized for putting up with her for 50 years.

"You have to stay humble and remember that you are only as good as your co-workers," she says. "I've had some exceptional mentors, like Lou Roscoe and Kathy Clemons, who I've had the pleasure to watch grow professionally and personally."

Reflecting on her tenure, she says what she's enjoyed most is being a part of change and learning.

Nurse Sallie Barrett with fellow nurses.

"There isn't one specific memory, but all the moments over the years are close to my heart," she says. "I learn something new every day. I have had patients teach me how to play a lottery ticket, how to crochet and how to write a book."

She is very proud of helping to start the telemetry unit and watching it grow from four beds to 100 and of the bricks engraved with her children's names in the hospital's entryway. However, what she is most proud of is the long-term relationships she has created in the community.

Nurse Sallie Barrett with fellow nurses.

"It's just rewarding having someone trust you with their life and well-being," she says. "It's humbling when you see people at their most vulnerable and they trust in you to do whatever it takes."

After witnessing 50 years of changes in procedure, equipment and technology, her advice to the next generation of nurses is to trust in yourself and your skills.

Nurse Sallie Barrett with fellow nurses.

"Cherish nursing, for it truly is an art. I would advise you to learn from the experiences of those around you, ask questions, don't give up and stay humble. But most of all remember to always treat patients as humans first - never lose that human touch."