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Retired nurses with Worthington ties honored by Swedish Hospital School of Nursing

Celebrating the 50-year class reunion in September, the “Golden Girls” honored for their nursing careers included Worthington resident Nancy Hofstee, Worthington native Margaret “Peg” Roos Lund, Marla Devaney Hassler and Becky McQuade Zuckweiler.

Nancy Hofstee
Nancy Hofstee, of Worthington, was one of four distinguished alumnae recognized during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Swedish Hospital School of Nursing's graduating class of 1972.
Julie Buntjer / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — Two of the four distinguished alumni recognized from the 1972 graduating class from the Swedish Hospital School of Nursing hail from southwest Minnesota.

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Celebrating the 50-year class reunion in September, the “Golden Girls” honored for their nursing careers included Worthington resident Nancy Hofstee, Worthington native Margaret “Peg” Roos Lund, Marla Devaney Hassler and Becky McQuade Zuckweiler.

According to the alumnae citation presented to each of the women, the award is given to women who “show inspiration and unselfish service to the community and humanity.” It also recognizes their leadership in professional, social and religious activities. The four honorees were nominated by their class, whose members are now scattered across the U.S.

“This recognition was like the frosting on a very good cake,” Hofstee said.

Lund, meanwhile, said she was shocked to be nominated for the award.

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“It was a delightful experience,” she added of the luncheon and recognition ceremony.

The class of 1972 was the second to last graduating class from the Swedish Hospital School of Nursing. The school offered an intensive three-year program for students to earn their registered nursing degree.

“In 1973, they ended the three-year diploma nursing education program,” shared Hofstee, adding that students didn’t get any college credit unless they also enrolled at Augsburg College.

Hofstee, born in Worthington and raised during her school years near Edgerton, enrolled in the Minneapolis college because she wanted a career in which she could help people.

“I like to teach, and you could teach patients,” she said. After earning her RN degree, she worked for the Swedish Hospital, which later became the Metropolitan Medical Center, in the surgical department’s pre-op and post-op setting.

“In those years, people stayed in the hospital until they healed,” Hofstee said.

She later worked at Fairview Southdale in Edina before returning to southwest Minnesota in the late 1970s to work at the Pipestone Hospital, then for Nobles-Rock Health Services in homecare.

The local public health job was ideal for Hofstee, who could use her nursing skills and teach. Her caseload included clients who needed nursing services a few times a week, to those who needed assistance once every couple of months.

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“Some could live cheaper at home and have home health care,” Hofstee said. “We worked closely with family services.”

A stellar student in her nursing program — Hofstee received awards at graduation in scholastic, talent and excellence in nursing — she didn’t rest on her laurels. In 1985, she returned to the classroom for certification in wound ostomy continence at Abbott Northwestern. Then, from 1994 to 1996, she was enrolled in South Dakota State University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She could take most of the classes at Minnesota West Community & Technical College in Worthington, and others in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“This program was set up to make the acquisition of a degree easier; partly to not have to drive to Brookings for on-campus classes,” Hofstee said. She graduated in May 1996 with high honors.

After earning her BSN, Hofstee transitioned to a job in Sioux Falls, working in home care, acute care, outpatient, consultations in long-term care and assisting colleagues in planning educational workshops. She was also instrumental in setting up a new outpatient wound care clinic.

To wrap up her more than 40-year career in nursing, Hofstee worked in long-term care at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne. She retired from there in 2016.

“These tough old veterans, they don’t mince words,” she said. “Those were the challenges. My last shift, nobody swore at me, nobody fell, no blood sugars were way off, nobody got extra sick — it was so nice to end my career that way.”

Away from her nursing work, Hofstee relaxed with music. She still plays organ for Westminster Presbyterian and First Lutheran churches in Worthington and was previously a choir director for two local churches. She is the current president of the Worthington Garden Club, is a member of the 20th Century Study Club and PEO, and a past member of the Early Risers Kiwanis.

Margaret "Peg" Roos Lund was one of four distinguished alumnae recognized in September during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Swedish Hospital School of Nursing's graduating class of 1972.
Margaret "Peg" Roos Lund was one of four distinguished alumnae recognized in September during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Swedish Hospital School of Nursing's graduating class of 1972.
Special to The Globe

Lund’s passion for nursing began at the very young age of 3, when she sometimes accompanied her mom — also a nurse — to work at Cashel’s nursing home (now the Dayton House) near downtown Worthington.

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“I would see her do things,” Lund said. “I learned how to make a bed with a patient in it before I knew how to write my name.

“When people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said a nurse, like my mom.”

Lund graduated from Worthington High School in 1969 and enrolled in the Swedish Hospital School of Nursing.

“We knew quite a few people who went to Swedish,” she said. “Mom said they’re good nurses and I think that will be a good school for you.”

After completing the three-year program in Minneapolis, Lund became an operating room nurse before landing an assignment as a private duty nurse for the mother of a doctor — in Honolulu, Hawaii. The woman was on dialysis and needed daily care and meal prep.

Six months later, Lund returned to southwest Minnesota and worked in Worthington Regional Hospital’s ICU for a couple of years before returning to Minneapolis.

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Lund met her husband on a blind date at the Armour Christmas Party in Worthington — they actually met the night before to learn a bit about each other — and the two married 11 months later.

“He had moved by then to the Chicago area, so I moved there after we were married and worked in critical care and post-op open heart,” she said.

Working with patients recovering from open heart surgery spanned most of her nursing career, shared Lund, adding that she worked with cardiac care patients for a few years before becoming health services director for a church camp at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Lund retired in June 2021, capping off a 50-year career in nursing.

“I loved the patients,” she said. “I liked the challenge of doing critical care — all of the equipment and the patients.

The patient’s families I enjoyed too — and I saved a few lives along the way,” Lund added.

She and her husband are now enjoying retirement near St. Louis, Missouri, where they get to spend their days taking care of a 2-year-old grandchild and welcome their 7-year-old grandchild after school.

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Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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