While some things change, others remain the same
It’s hard to believe, but Ginger Heere is retiring from OrthoKansas this June after 31 years. She’s seen a lot of changes take place since she started working at the clinic as an X-ray tech in 1990.
“When I moved to Lawrence in 1976, I was hired by the radiologists and took all of the orthopedic X-rays at the time,” Ginger said. “Drs. Wertzberger and Bailey were the local guys who went to medical school and started the orthopedic clinic. They really were groundbreakers.”
When the building at 6th and Maine was completed in 1980, the orthopedic clinic added its own radiology. From there, the clinic’s footprint and technology continued to grow, including the movement from plain X-ray film to computerized radiology and the addition of an MRI to the clinic.
“The first MRI unit was installed at OrthoKansas in 2001, taking the clinic to a more fully-comprehensive patient care service,” she said. “I studied to become an MRI tech and passed my boards. I’ve been an MRI tech ever since. “
The workforce has continually grown as well. Ginger was the only imaging tech for a time and OrthoKansas now has a staff of six. The addition of physician assistants and athletic trainers has also increased the capacity to care for patients.
“The PAs have been a big boost to the clinic. They’ve been a big help to the doctors and allow them to care for more patients than they’ve ever been able to,” she said.
Many things have changed over the years, but Ginger says one thing has remained the same – the relationship with the patients.
“The importance of patient care is still paramount,” she said. “You develop a relationship with the patient, have respect for the physicians and just do your best. That hasn’t ever changed.”
Ginger’s not quite sure what she’ll be doing in retirement, aside from playing some golf, getting involved in pickleball and volunteering at Corpus Christi Catholic Church. There are a few things she’ll really miss at OrthoKansas.
“I’ll miss meeting new people and seeing people I know in the community that have come in for care,” she said. “I’ll miss being around my coworkers. I've also been so fortunate to have great leadership. The physicians work hard and set the pace for the office. I respect them so much for that. I’ve really appreciated their work values.”