South Shore Medical Center Colleague Celebrates 40 Years
The year was 1979. Jimmy Carter was president, the average annual salary was just over $10,000 per year, and a young Dottie was just starting out as a part time employee at South Shore Medical Center in Norwell.
The office, which was located at 75 Washington Street, was independently owned and significantly smaller than it is today. Dottie was working the “Switchboard" for the Medical Center at the time, taking calls from patients, doctors, insurance companies, and anyone else with a question, comment, or concern. It was in this role where she first realized just how patient-focused the organization was.
“Everything is about the patients here," she said. “It's always been that way."
"Throughout my entire 40-year career, it's always been about working together for the patients. We've had that 'As One' mentality for as long as I've been here."
“Mom, what's a Switchboard?"
The daughter of a Woolworth Girl and a Golf Course Landscaper/Groundskeeper, Dottie was instilled with a strong work ethic from an early age. That mentality was then passed down to her three children, John, Joseph, and Elizabeth, who all graduated college and went on to have successful careers. It helped that her parents lived next door, and her father would get her sons up and out during summers to go to work on the golf course. Both boys knew they had to be out the door at 5 AM or they'd have to answer to their grandfather.
Now that her children are grown and succeeding with families of their own in different parts of the world (she also has four grandchildren who she adores), Dottie is more motivated than ever to dedicating her time to helping patients and colleagues.
“Knowing that my children are all happy is such a great feeling," she said. “I'm so proud of all of them. And the fact that they're so successful and healthy gives me the extra energy and drive I need to continue working for the patients".
“I don't feel old…70 is the new 60"
After working in nearly every department in South Shore Medical Center, Dottie ultimately landed the role of “Surgical Scheduling Coordinator," a position she still holds to this day. Dottie's job is to schedule surgeries, confirm prior authorizations, and anything else it takes to ensure a surgery goes smoothly. When she started in this position, Dottie used a physical book and a pencil – always a pencil. She could never use a pen at work because so much of her job required her to erase and move things around.
“It's been great," she said. “When that door clicks open in the morning, I get this wonderful feeling. And when I leave at the end of the day, it's an even better feeling knowing that everything went smoothly."
"I just know that if I were having surgery, it would be nice to know that someone was out there making sure everything was in place. That's why I truly enjoy what I do. It's so rewarding."
Over the past four decades, Dottie's positive outlook has helped her form a number of wonderful relationship with nurses, doctors, and patients. But the friendships she's shaped in her role have extended well beyond the walls of the Medical Center. In fact, her interactions and dealings with South Shore Hospital have always been strong and supportive, even well before the merger.
“Back before block booking, I'd work with Michelle and Tracy in the booking office, who are by far the best. And when I was facing a challenge, I'd also work with Susan Wood, who was in charge of scheduling at the hospital at the time. I can't say enough about how much Susan helped me. She'd always go above and beyond to help me help the patients. I have to say that it was so wonderful when our paths crossed again when she arrived at the Medical Center as Vice President, Ambulatory Operations."
While she admits that she does miss the coziness and camaraderie of the 75 Washington Street building, she was quick to mention that the patients love the idea of having everything under one roof.
“Patients love that they can get almost anything done in the new building. They don't have to go to a separate office for much at all, if anything. And I've noticed that they're especially happy with the new café. It gives them a chance to take a break from it all and have a nice little date."
“The more things change, the more they stay the same"
A lot can change in 40 years. We've seen six presidents since Jimmy Carter, the average annual salary has jumped from $10,000 to over $52,000, and South Shore Medical Center is now a part of South Shore Health. But to Dottie Infusino Andrade, time can't change what she's passionate about. After all, it's 40 years later and she's still scheduling surgeries, still forming new relationships, and still putting the patients first. And to her, it's all happened in the blink of an eye.