Joy Benedict is celebrating 40 years at Richmond's hospital and loving it

Frank Kourt/The Register

Joy Benedict, seated, confers with staff member Stacy Moore, human resources administrative assistant.

Some people get into the job market and change industries, let alone employers, several times during their career.

Joy Benedict has not only stayed in the health care field, but has worked in the same building -- first Pattie A. Clay Hospital, and currently Baptist Health Richmond, for her entire 40 year tenure.

"When I was attending Eastern Kentucky University, working on my bachelor of arts degree in Business, I worked as a receptionist in radiology for two years," Benedict said, who then took her first full-time job as a personnel assistant at the hospital in 1982 upon her graduation.

According to the hospital, Benedict is one of several who have worked there for 40 or more years.

In 1984, she was promoted to her current position, director of human resources, for the hospital. "And I've been in this position for 35 years," she said.

Looking back over her many years, Benedict said health care has "changed tremendously," particularly in the length of patient stay.

"In the past, if you were going into the hospital for surgery, you'd check in the day before to be prepped and stay upwards of a week after the surgery. Today, we have a lot of same-day surgeries, when you come here in the morning, have the procedure and leave that same day," she said. She credits both advances in technology and changes in insurance coverage for these shorter patient stays.

She said the most challenging parts of her job tend to be recruitment and retention of professional personnel. She is responsible for overall personnel recruitment, with the exception of physician recruitment.

"We're fortunate to have EKU right across the street," she said, "which is an excellent source of professional recruitment in areas including medical techs, nurses, dietitians, occupational therapists, medical technologists and marketing and public relations professionals, among others."

Retention is another matter, said Benedict, adding that millennials are difficult to retain because, in her experience, they don't usually stay in one position for longer than five years.

She said the hospital does a number of things to encourage retention, including tuition reimbursement and promoting further education for employees, along with employee appreciation programs and events, such as the Ambassador Program, which recognizes employees who do extra things such as participate in community projects or serve on hospital committees; celebration of Hospital Week, with special activities each day; holiday meals for employees that include a voucher for a holiday turkey or ham; an annual employee banquet; picnics throughout the year; and other options for employees to socialize with each other outside their own departments.

In addition to employee retention, the hospital's volunteer program and its community engagement program, which encourages employees to get involved with community groups, such as the Salvation Army, Habitat For Humanity, God's Outreach food bank and Hope's Wings come under Benedict's responsibilities.

"Baptist Health has a commitment to community involvement, and our president is very passionate about it," Benedict said.

Although she currently lives in nearby Estill County, Benedict was born and raised in Richmond and, not surprisingly, was born at Pattie A. Clay Hospital.

As part of her job, she oversees about 750 employees, since Baptist Health Richmond is the third largest employer in Madison County, and directly supervises a staff of three.

She is married to Les Benedict, a retired worker in the coal industry, and the couple has two sons: Logan, who works for Lockheed Martin in Lexington repairing helicopters, and Benjamin, who works in quality control at a local industry in Berea.

Benedict is happily anticipating a new addition to the family. She said Kaylon Peck, whom she describes as "a precious young lady," is planning to wed her son, Logan, in May of next year.

As for outside interests, Benedict said she enjoys spending time with family; visiting Las Vegas once a year and frequenting the Horseshoe Casino in southern Indiana. She is also active in her church, St. Elizabeth's in Ravenna, working on the church bazaar and washing linens on a volunteer basis.

She said she also loves to cook, and has been known to volunteer her culinary skills to preparing large numbers of meals to feed the homeless in Madison County on a number of occasions.

Despite her lengthy tenure on the job, Benedict harbors no thought of retirement, and is never bored.

"With this job it's something different every day. There are always new and different challenges and when you finish one project, another one starts. There's never a dull moment," she said.

Asked what the most rewarding part of her job is, Benedict couldn't come up with any one thing and said she enjoys all aspects of her work.

"I just enjoy doing my job. I wish everyone loved their job the way I do," she said.

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