Most teens aren’t quite sure what they want to do in life, but Lisa Simmons was different. She got her first job in a pharmacy in Fishkill at age 14. “I worked beside a female pharmacist and soon realized how respected and necessary she was to the patients she served,” recalls Simmons. “I immediately knew this was the path I would take.”
At age 17, Simmons went on to work at St. Francis Hospital as a pharmacy aide, earning promotions on a predictable timetable as she worked her way through pharmacy school, got married, and had three kids. Soon after she became pharmacy manager, something completely unexpected happened: St. Francis Hospital went bankrupt and became MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network.
While the change was initially jarring, a bright side soon emerged. Simmons now had access to Westchester’s Valhalla campus pharmacy department, and her job became more vital than ever as the hospital continued to add services. “Through all of the change, Lisa held the department together with her leadership and perseverance,” recalls co-worker Colleen Reilly. “She gives of herself in any way she can.”
In March, the hospital received a Best Place to Work Headliner Award from the Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce, an honor that must be nominated from within. Simmons was not surprised: “People are enthusiastic about working at MidHudson Regional Hospital because of the struggles we went through collectively. People continued to come to work here when the doors were almost closing and they did not lose hope. There has been a definite boost in morale because we know we will endure to serve future generations.”