Special to Iredell Free News

As Iredell Health System celebrates its 70th anniversary, it’s not just a celebration of passing time. It’s a testament to the dedication and loyalty of the people who made and continue to make it all possible — its employees.

Iredell Health System has a long-standing history of caring for its community. What sets Iredell Health System apart is its deep connection to the community. Many of its employees are not just healthcare professionals — they are our neighbors, friends, and family members. In fact, Iredell Health System has more than 70 employees who have worked at Iredell Health System for over 30 years.

Lisa Warren

Director of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Lisa Warren, who has worked at Iredell Health System for almost 42 years, is the perfect example of this.

When Warren was in third grade, her family moved to Statesville. She grew up familiar with Iredell Memorial Hospital and understood the life-saving work of the healthcare professionals who worked there.

However, Warren had not always had a passion for healthcare. While growing up, she wanted to be a lawyer.

“The summer before my senior year, my father passed away at home. He had heart disease. I never felt so helpless in my life. He always wanted me to be a nurse, but I had no intention of going into nursing. But I knew I never wanted to feel so helpless again, so I changed my curriculum and got permission to add health occupation,” said Warren.

Later that year, Warren was accepted into nursing school at Davis Hospital School of Nursing.

“During my senior year of nursing school, HCA bought Davis Hospital. It didn’t take long to begin to see the corporate changes. I had always wanted to work for a nonprofit hospital. I had friends who had worked at Iredell for many years, so I applied and started to work at Iredell on June 28, 1982, as a new grad, or as we were known then, an RN Applicant,” said Warren.

Warren knew she wanted to go into the cardiac field, and that’s exactly what she did. Her first position at Iredell was as a telemetry nurse. Warren and her roommate from nursing school were two of the first telemetry nurses.

Nine months later, Warren moved to coronary care night shift before transferring to the intensive care unit, where she worked for two years. She then became a nursing supervisor, where she played a critical role in assisting with ambulance transfers for both cardiac and trauma patients. After 10 years, Warren transferred to the cardiac catheterization lab, serving as staff nurse, clinical coordinator, and assistant nurse manager. Six years later Warren moved to Cardiac Rehab, where she has remained ever since.

In her four decades at Iredell Health System, Warren has witnessed several advancements and changes, from leadership changes, to constructing the North Tower, to adding hospitalists, and to the creation of the Iredell Physician Network. Some of her earliest memories include wearing white uniforms with nursing caps and caring for patients in shared rooms and wards.

“I remember when I used to work nights, it was not at all unusual for all the night staff to join together in the cafeteria for a covered dish. At this time, there were only about 25 employees who worked nights,” said Warren.

She also remembers when Iredell Memorial Hospital first added a cardiac catheterization lab in 1991.

Years later, she also led the cath lab’s first upgrade and recalls the mobile cath lab that was stationed outside during the renovation.

“Even in the midst of growth and modernization, Iredell has remained the ‘hometown’ hospital. I believe the foundation is strong and its history provides the pillars,” said Warren.

Since transitioning to cardiac rehab, now known as Cardiopulmonary Rehab, in 2002, Warren has been instrumental in expanding the program numerous times, including:
• Moving from the YMCA and offering classes onsite in the outpatient services building;
• Adding telemetry monitoring;
• Expanding the physical space twice;
• Adding pulmonary rehabilitation;
• Adding NFPA health and fitness evaluation for firefighters;
• Adding supervised exercise therapy for peripheral artery disease; and
• Adding cancer rehabilitation

Warren has also implemented a Fit for Life program that allows rehabilitation graduates to continue to utilize the program’s services. What started as strictly a cardiac rehab program with three classes has now expanded to 12 classes accommodating different needs, with 120 patients enrolled at any given time.

When asked what made Warren stay at Iredell Health System for 42 years, she says it all boils down to feeling valued and respected.

“I have always had the opportunity to grow personally and professionally at Iredell. I have always felt like a valued member of the team, and when advanced to leadership roles, I have felt supported by administration, and heard and respected. I feel at home here. Iredell strives to maintain the atmosphere of family,” said Warren.

“What sets Iredell Health System apart from others is that the Board and administration here are aware of and listen to the needs of the community. They strive to provide services that are often only found at major medical centers. The leaders not only listen to the community, but they also value the input of employees. It’s nice to walk by Mr. Green’s (President & CEO) office and see his door open, as he genuinely welcomes staff to drop in,” she added.

As Warren reminisces on her experiences at Iredell Health System, she smiles. It’s clear that these years of memories bring her joy.

“Some would think my memories were really ‘old-age,’ but these events and memories are exactly what has molded my character as a professional, an employee, a friend, and a person. I wouldn’t change my experiences at Iredell for anything,” said Warren.

About Iredell Health System

Iredell Health System includes Iredell Memorial Hospital; Iredell Mooresville; two urgent care centers; Iredell Home Health; Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center; Community and Corporate Wellness; Occupational Medicine; the Iredell Physician Network and more. Iredell Memorial Hospital is the largest and only nonprofit hospital in Iredell County. The comprehensive healthcare facility has 247 beds; more than 1,800 employees; and has 260 physicians representing various specialties. Centers of excellence include Women’s and Children’s; Cardiovascular; Cancer; Surgical Services and Wellness & Prevention. The Health System’s second campus, Iredell Mooresville, is home to the area’s only 24 hour urgent care facility, as well as an ambulatory surgery center, imaging center, rehabilitation services, and physician practices. The mission of Iredell Health System is to inspire wellbeing. For a comprehensive list of services and programs, visit www.iredellhealth.org.

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