KAWARTHA LAKES-After 40 years at Ross Memorial Hospital, many as Manager of Infection Prevention and Control, Leanne Harding is retiring.
“‘I’m the Community Coordinator for the Newmarket and Area Special Olympics so that will keep me busy. I’m going to do some gardening and spend time with my family and enjoy not being on-call 24/7 and at a moment’s notice, especially over the last couple of years.”
Harding spent the last two years in charge of the hospital’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre as well as her regular duties. In fact, she put off her retirement so she could help with the pandemic. She had some experience working with deadly highly contagious viruses having worked through SARS, H1N1 and the AIDS epidemic.
“It helped prepare us for COVID.” Harding says “We have a really good network, so no one knew what to expect when the pandemic was declared but we started to prepare in December even before the pandemic was announced.”
Harding started out working in the ER department and loved it.
“I love patient contact, I love working with my colleagues. I had taken several courses while working with the emergency department and I took an interest in infection prevention and control.”
According to Harding early on many people didn’t know what infection prevention and control was. Now it’s an important part of the hospital routine.
“It has been always staying on top of things, reading, networking and going to conferences. Staying ahead of the next virus, its been a personal challenge, you have to keep up on things.” Harding explains. “My bedtime reading is a little bit different than most people.”
Harding has been married for 44 years and has two sons and plenty of nieces and nephews whom she will enjoy spending more time with.
She is starting to transition away and wants to make sure the new IPAc system is in place and in order by the time she finally retires at the end of May.
“I truly love working AT RMH, I have worked here more than half of my life. It’s been my life, I’m really going to miss it. It’s going to be hard to leave everybody, they’ve become like family.” she says.
The feeling is mutual.
“Leanne Harding is the definition of an exemplary healthcare professional. For 40 years, she has dedicated herself to ensuring the safety of everyone who enters Ross Memorial. Pushing off her retirement so that she could use her expertise to help lead the hospital’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic shows how much Leanne cares for this hospital and community. We are truly grateful for the immense contributions she has made and wish her the very best in her retirement.” said Ross Memorial Hospital.