Jean Acker has passed the mammography torch to Abbie Turnage and is the new hospital’s first mammogram recipient.

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jean Acker began working at Crosby Memorial Hospital 18 years ago on a part-time basis as a mammographer.

“I showed up with an application, looking for a part-time job, and was told by the Human Resource woman that I should really get on board. She said they were going to be building a new hospital soon and it was going to be a great opportunity,” recalled Ackers.

Unfortunately, a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis forced her into medical retirement and she missed the new hospital opening by months. But her enthusiasm and love for her department and the hospital are as strong as ever.

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On Wednesday, Acker entered the newly opened Highland Community Hospital as their first mammogram patient.

“I have waited for this new building and we all have such a pride in our hospital. This is something for everyone. The entire community can share in this accomplishment.

“I am also happy for the technicians, because the layout of this department is so user-friendly. They no longer have to run throughout the department to gather things from separate areas. Everything is here for them in one place,” she said.

Giving her the tour and administering the mammogram was Abbie Turnage, R.T. (R)(M), who Ackers had personally trained.

“Jean taught me well,” said Turnage. “She has taught me so well and prepared me so well, that I feel there is nothing that can come at me that I will not be prepared for. In fact, they call me ‘little Jean’ sometimes, because I am honored to pass on that type of training to those I manage. Jean did a great job and I want to follow in her footsteps.”

Ackers appreciated the privacy of the new women’s area that the mammograms are now given in.

Turnage said, “We have tried to design the area so that the patients never have to leave in their gowns for diagnosis or to have results read. They have lockers with keys to put their belongings in and a beautiful sitting room to relax in, while they are waiting. It is everything we hoped to give to our patients and more.”

Ackers still retains her given title of “Mammo Goddess,” and still happily encounters women who tell her they will see her for their exam.

“I let them know that I am medically retired but they are still in the best of hands here at Highland. People come and know that the staff cares. They feel like they are treated with respect and concern. Now, I get to experience things on the opposite side of the desk and feel good about where I am.”