Rockport — Barbara Young, endoscopy supervisory clinical care coordinator at Pen Bay Medical Center, retired from the hospital after nearly 40 years of service. Her last day was Friday, Jan. 6.

“Barbara is by far one of the most passionate nurses in her specialty,” said Frank Carozza, Community Health Assessment director of perioperative services. “She will absolutely be missed.”

Young worked as a nurse for six years in Newfoundland before coming to Pen Bay Medical Center in March of 1983. She started as a night shift team leader, and then moved to the procedure room after about a year. Barbara said the team was doing about five endoscopies a week and using Polaroid cameras when she started there. Over the years she watched as the endoscopy department grew and technology improved; the team now averages between 125 to 150 endoscopies per week, using high-definition video.

“I’ve seen the whole transition,” said Young. “It’s been my privilege. I’m passionate about GI. It’s been such a rewarding career.”

Young attributes much of her enthusiasm for her work to the mentorship of Dr. Neil Smith, with whom she worked very closely for many years at PBMC. She said when Smith came to PBMC in 1985, he brought his vision to build the endoscopy program. He encouraged her to become certified as a GI nurse and was a big proponent of education and community outreach. Young said Dr. Kirk Bernadino, who joined the team a couple of years after Smith retired, has continued to advance the program with the addition of advanced procedures and continued emphasis on community outreach.

“I had the good fortune of working with [Barbara] during my almost 30 years at Pen Bay,” said Smith. “During that time, she made significant contributions to the development, growth and management of the unit, and deserves much credit and thanks for what it has become today. Although she will be retiring, I’m confident that the results of her dedication and efforts to improve the quality and delivery of GI care to patients will continue to have positive effects on the health of the Midcoast community.”

Smith noted Young’s commitment to education, both in supporting endoscopy staff in continuing their education, and in providing education in the community through health fairs, conferences, and open houses during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

“In my mind, Barbara Young exemplifies each of the MaineHealth values as part of her everyday work,” said Ellen Leone, chief nursing officer at PBMC and WCGH. “One value that truly stands out is excellence, something that she has consistently demonstrated in her own nursing practice and has inspired other nurses and team members to achieve.” Leone noted that Young leads by example with her commitment to professional development and involvement in professional nursing organizations. Young has been a member of the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates for many years, most recently serving as Maine president. While her term ended at the end of 2022, Barbara plans to stay on as a member of the SGNA into her retirement.

“It has been my privilege to have Barbara as one of my nursing leaders,” Leone said. “I consider her a friend and nursing colleague and wish her all the best as she enters a new phase in life; forever a nurse.”

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