A Story of a Hospital

Written by Mary Kwiatek, RN
Originally published in the
Springville Journal, January 1975

This article was originally published more than 40 years ago, and written by Mary Kwiatek, a longtime nurse and administrator at BCH and JBR, and former volunteer through the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Foundation board of directors. It presents themes that are as relevant today as they were decades ago.

Progress – a definition – growth and development – continuous improvement  forward – onward movement. This tells the story of what happening at Bertrand Chaffee. To share in this progress lends a feeling of excitement and purpose to all involved.

You, the community, must be involved, for it’s your hospital and because of you we can continue growing.

Not so many years ago, B.C.H. was just a wayside station for patients until they could be moved to a more learned institution. There were several doctors on staff and a handful of nurses. Most of the people in the community have fond memories of the Old Homestead. Then, slowly, it started to grow. There was an awareness of the physical growth – groundbreaking, construction, fundraising. The new building seemed to be the answer, but again, the push of progress made us go on – another addition, dedicated citizens starting the painful process of finding funds to finance this new project. At last the dream realized. We could relax, but alas – progress, medical awareness – we need more. Once more the story unfolds – heads get together, another dream in the making – the Jennie Richmond addition is born.

Now, as we drive by we see an accumulation of dreams, hard work, PROGRESS – a forward and onward movement.

If we ended here, the most important element of the story would be left out, for there is more to progress than buildings.

As we grew externally and watched in wonder, the internal growth was far more exciting.

Physician sought us out to become a part of our onward movement. Applications came in at an overwhelming pace. Springville became known as a community with challenge. Our staff roster now includes family practitioners, general surgeons, obstetrician-gynecologists, urologists, oral surgeons, radiologist and consulting orthopedists. Quite an impressive list. These men not only see to their patients, but, meet regularly for educational purposes and serve on various committees to insure the community of safe standards of medical care.

From a handful of nurses to a full professional staff – progress. Each unit in the hospital has a registered professional nurse in charge at all times. There is also an adequate number of licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants. It has become nursing service policy that all licensed nurses have 20 hours of continuing education each year. This ensures the community of having the best qualified care available. An in-service program is provided by the hospital, where the latest Innovations in nursing, along with continued Improvement in life-saving measured are taught.


For the third year in succession, coronary care classes are being taught by physicians and nurses.

It is not uncommon for several of our nurses to attend lectures and seminars in Buffalo, as often is three times a month, on their own time.

We are very fortunate to have an administrator, a young man who only wants the best for his family and community.

Mr. [Roger] Ford realizes the needs of the hospital and does his best to see that they are met. He has willingly sent nursing personnel to educational programs around the country to bring back valuable information and share it.

Money is an ever-present worry especially in these trying times, but our new controller, mister Vasiliauskas, spends many hours attempting to make our funds meet the needs of our growing institution.

The rest of our Hospital family has also experience growth in progress.

Are dietary staff serves a larger number of people and yet manages to provide nutritional value to all concerned. This is quite a job considering the food problems and prices.

How well can we function without housekeeping and laundry? I shudder to think – praise and gratitude are extended to these departments, for we can certainly boast of a neat, orderly house.

If you spend any time at all in our hospital, you would hear several pages over the PA system constantly – one of which is maintenance. They are needed and wanted and most units at all times. The maintenance department keeps us warm, in repair and in check with all of our equipment and intricate systems.

Where do our supplies come from and who maintains them? Purchasing and Central Supply are synonymous with efficiency and expertise.

Without medical records and office personnel, we might end up in utter chaos, completely taken over by paperwork, billings and legal documents. Their work is needed and appreciated.

Since we have grown in leaps and bounds, we added two new departments, Inhalation Therapy and Physical Therapy. The work they do is essential to the well-being and proper management of the patient.

X-ray and Lab, two vital departments that work around the clock. Staff members take turns being “on call” for emergency cases. It is not uncommon for them to be called three or four times a night. Illness and accidents take place on holidays.

Our pharmacist keeps us abreast of any data concerning drugs used in our institution, fills our orders and provides us with an ever constant supply of needed medications.

It was our intention to give you a little insight into the happenings at B.C.H. Many people with specific duties and responsibilities make up the hospital family. They all have the same goal to make Bertrand Chaffee grow in order to offer the safest standards of care to our community. We shall continue to put the most important element is you! We need your continued support – without it our dreams can’t be realized.

Representatives from the Cattaraugus County Town Highway Superintendents Association present gifts for the youngest emergency department patients at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital

The Cattaraugus County Town Highway Supervisors Association delivered a supply of new toys and stuffed animals for the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Emergency Department on December 17. Staff in the ED gives out toys to its youngest patients and visitors. The Association also collected toys during the holiday season to deliver to Olean General Hospital, Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services and the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.

Representatives from the Cattaraugus County Town Highway Superintendents Association present gifts for the youngest emergency department patients at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital

Representatives from the Cattaraugus County Town Highway Superintendents Association present gifts for the youngest emergency department patients at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital

From left: Town of Mansfield Highway Superintendent Brad Hurley, Diane Metz of Suit-Kote, BCH ED Nurse Manager Penny Gardner, RN, Bill Phillips of Gernatt’s, Town of East Otto Highway Superintendent Tom Benz, and BCH ED Nurse Ken Wiedemann, LPN.

Cordelian Club Gives Handmade Ornaments to JBR

The Cordelian Club presented a set of handmade ornaments to the Jennie B. Richmond Nursing Home in November to decorate its Christmas tree and lobby.

The Cordelian Club has a 80+ year history of supporting the hospital, and once it was built in 1974, the nursing home, through fundraisers and charitable projects such as this one. Thank you to this dedicated group of ladies for bringing holiday cheer to our residents and employees!