HCGH 40th Anniversary- Our Longest-Serving Employees

As HCGH celebrates its 40th Anniversary-  meet some folks who were in it for the long haul –

Joan Becker, Bob Simonsen and Nancy Guercio, today.

As HCGH celebrates it’s 40th year, we’d like to introduce you to our three longest-serving employees have been with the hospital since the beginning, witnessing its evolution from a small 59-bed facility surrounded by farmland to the current 249-bed medical center in the midst of a bustling community.

In October 1972, 15-year-old Nancy Guercio, PCA, ED, began working as a weekend employee before the hospital building even opened. A high school student, she worked in medical records in the Banneker Building, at the time home to the Columbia Medical Plan (CMP). She moved to the hospital when it opened in July 1973 and stayed when CMP left about a year later. She worked as an admitting counselor in the Emergency Department (ED) for several years, before moving up the ranks to serve as manager of Admitting. When her children were born, she began working part-time so she could be home to raise her three children. Guercio’s highest priority is her family and she appreciated the flexibility that working for the hospital afforded her.

A former Navy corpsman, Bob Simonsen, PA, Operating Room, joined the HCGH team in April 1973 and helped open the new ED. “A surgeon I had worked with in the Navy, told me the new hospital was looking for former corpsmen and medics to staff the ED, a very innovative move at the time,” explained Simonsen. After serving as a physician associate for a few years, Simonsen became the ED evening supervisor when he passed his physician assistant (PA) boards in 1975. He was then appointed the orthopedic PA for the hospital, in charge of the PA staff. Although he left his full-time position in 1990, he still works part-time in the Operating Room.

Joan Becker started working as a part-time weekend telephone operator in August 1973. A neighbor of HCGH, Becker was told about the part-time job by a friend who worked at the hospital. She and another part-time weekend operator would pick up work in the hospital on weekdays, assisting with hospital billing. “We would look at the bills and pull patient records and x-rays to compare the charges to what was actually done,” she explained. “We used to work out of a little conference room in the basement next to the double elevators, which is now the EVS closet.” Becker currently serves as the director of telecommunications and said, “The place has grown enormously. Every wall in this hospital has moved and I think I have moved every phone that is here.”

What Are YOUR memories of the early days?

If you would like to share memories of your time at HCGH, please send them to HCGH_news@jhmi.edu.