Dedicated Nurse Leader Retires After 45 Years
It was more than 45 years ago when Lenora Addison, RN, BSN, MA, first stepped foot into South Baltimore General Hospital— now MedStar Harbor Hospital—to begin learning how to take care of patients. She was a student at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School aspiring to become a nurse. By the time Addison earned her high school diploma, she had satisfied the requirements to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and knew she’d found her true calling.
“I had fallen in love with taking care of people who are sick,” says Addison. “I was born to be a caregiver.”
For her first eight years as a licensed nurse, Addison worked on the hospital’s oncology unit. Eager to advance in her career, she took advantage of the tuition reimbursement program to continue her nursing education. She also pursued any opportunity to further develop both practical and leadership skills. Over time, she worked in every division of nursing and was appointed to an interim vice president role, which eventually led to her being named Vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer.
“Without a doubt, my journey taught me the importance of embracing change,” Addison says. “But regardless of where I was working or the title I held, it’s always been about taking care of people. No matter where I was standing or what I was wearing, I always have been and always will be a nurse first.”
Addison’s longevity at MedStar Harbor, combined with her commitment to excellent patient care, safety, and outcomes, earned her a reputation as one of the organization’s most valuable leaders. Stuart Levine, MD, who took over the role of president and chief medical officer in 2017, says that Addison played a significant role in shaping the hospital into what it is today.
“The members of our team who work directly with our patients all answered to Lenora for many, many years. She was the leader responsible for patient care and experience and she dictated the ‘tone’ of our hospital,” he notes. “She’s been a positive role model for so many people because she is a strong strategic thinker who is also a fierce advocate for nursing teamwork and safety. And she is well-liked, and that means a lot. When she speaks, people listen. She earned that respect.”
So, it was with mixed emotions that Dr. Levine and the rest of the team at MedStar Harbor bid farewell to Addison on April 1 as she ventured into the next phase of life: retirement.
“Lenora was a consistent and stabilizing force for our hospital for more than four decades,” says Jill Johnson, vice president of Operations. “Her imprint can be seen in every corner of the organization and will always remind us of her great commitment and leadership. We will certainly miss her.”
Thinking back on her career, Addison is proud of her accomplishments and feels fortunate that she was able to devote her working years to a single organization that truly valued her talents.
“One of the happiest times in my life was when my career was first beginning,” says Addison. “Over the years, I held jobs that I loved. I got to take care of so many people. I got to teach others how to take care of people. And now, I feel an equal level of happiness as I end my career. A door is opening for me to spend more time with my family and relax a bit.”
Addison plans to travel with her husband of 41 years, Leonard, and take time for the simple things in life during her best years to come. She is looking forward to taking part in grandparents’ day at her grandchildren’s school and will be spending a lot more quality time with her two sisters, who are also retired and live nearby.
“You reach a point in your career when you know the time is right to hand it all over,” said Addison. “I will always remember the experiences I have had and the people I’ve worked with, but the time is right. I am ready for this next chapter to begin.”