For the past 44 years, Suzanne Meyer, RN, has been part of the Mercy family—just like her mom before her. Now three of her daughters are following in her footsteps.
“It was Sister Carla in dietary who set me straight,” says Suzanne (Zimmer) Meyer, RN. “She said she wouldn’t hire me because I’d missed too many days of school. She told me to come back in three months with a better attendance record, and I would get the job.”
That was 44 years ago, and Suzanne was still in high school. Since then, she’s held positions in several Mercy departments (including food services and the EKG lab), finished nursing school, and raised five daughters.
Today, as a nurse in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), Suzanne often sees three of her children in passing because they have followed in her footsteps. Jennifer Meyer, RN, coronary care unit (CCU); Patrice Meyer Tillapaw, RN, surgery; and Kristina Meyer, unit assistant (UA), ICU, are all Mercy employees.
“My mother Meta Zimmer actually paved the way,” Suzanne says. “Born in Greece, my mom emigrated to the United States with her parents when she was only four. She started working at Mercy when the facility was still located in downtown Canton.”
Meta supervised radiology billing and worked for Mercy for many years. Two of her sisters, Mary Lou Lombardy and Bettie Conley, also worked at Mercy, and her daughter-in-law Kathy Zimmer currently has 39 years of service at the medical center. After she retired, Meta volunteered with Mercy Senior Friends for several years before she died in 2010.
“Mom was always proud of being part of Mercy,” says Suzanne. “And she was so pleased that I and her grandchildren worked here, too.”
Jennifer started her career as a receptionist in same-day surgery 18 years ago, taking advantage of Mercy’s education reimbursement program to finish nursing school. This year Jennifer was recognized during National Nurses’ Week as one of five recipients of the 2017 Mercy Clinical Excellence Awards.
After Jennifer accepted the CCU position 15 years ago, Patrice took her sister’s place in same-day surgery while attending nursing school. Kristina, like her mother, joined Mercy in food services, later becoming a UA in rehab and now in the ICU. Kristina has completed preliminary nursing education requirements.
Suzanne and her daughters joke about seeing each other more at Mercy than outside of work, although that will change after Suzanne retires this summer.
“I’m really happy for Mom to have this opportunity enjoy retirement,” Jennifer says. “She has been an inspiration for me in my career. In a way, nursing and Mercy have always been part of our lives.”
Suzanne adds, “Mercy has been good to us, and we have tried to do the same—to care for our patients and for the hospital.”