Dorothy Rines, RN
Einstein Untold: Unsung Heroes and Unknown Stories

After Closing, Nurse Finds a New Home at Einstein

By on 02/03/2020
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One in an ongoing series.

In some ways, being an emergency room nurse is the same no matter where you work. That’s what Dorothy Rines loves about it – the ever-changing medical puzzles, the meaningful mission of serving other people, the fox-hole camaraderie of colleagues.

But in other ways, Rines’ job at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery is a revelation, after more than a quarter century working elsewhere.

That elsewhere was Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, where Rines spent her career. She was one of 2,500 employees who lost their jobs when the hospital closed in August, and one of many who were subsequently hired by Einstein Healthcare Network.

Rines was at Hahnemann long enough for coworkers to become family, to share joys and heartaches, jokes and gripes, to mark each other’s milestones – including her own wedding, the birth of her children, the death of her father. 

When the Rumors Finally Came True

She was there long enough to adjust to the instability as the hospital changed hands several times, long enough to dismiss the endless rumors that it would close.

And then, it did. Rines started her shift at 7 AM on June 26. An hour later, she attended a meeting where the announcement was made.

She had been there for 27 years. She and her coworkers wept. “It was very heartbreaking,” she said.

Rines’ family had modeled the kind of public service she’d sought in nursing.  “All my family were volunteer firefighters,” she said. “My dad was in it for over 50 years and he was assistant chief in Fort Washington for 20 years. My brother, my brother-in-law, my husband, they’re all volunteer firefighters. They helped people, and of course when I was growing up, females could not get involved in firefighting.”

Rines started her career on the medical-surgical floor at Methodist Hospital, in South Philadelphia, where she’d attended nursing school. Then she went to Hahnemann. And stayed for what she thought would be forever. “I thought I would retire from there,” she said.

Starting All Over

For a week after Hahnemann closed, Rines stayed home in Blue Bell and spent time with her teenage children. Then she reported to Einstein Medical Center Montgomery – where she had been recruited by a former Hahnemann colleague – on Aug. 26.

“It was kind of weird,” she said, “like starting all over again. It was orientation day and I was in a group with a lot of Hahnemann employees, which made it a little easier.”

Rines said she thought it ironic that she’d worked at Hahnemann longer than the nurse assigned to show her around Einstein Montgomery had been alive. After two weeks of orientation, she was on her own, discovering the pleasure of working for a thriving institution.

During one Hahnemann incarnation, supplies often were missing. “It was frustrating, not having stuff to do your job,” Rines said. “If you needed dressings or (intravenous line) starts, you’d have to call around the hospital to find some. People were stashing their stuff so they’d have it.”

And Hahnemann’s financial woes meant few investments in new technology. At Hahnemann, for instance, the urine dip stick had to be done by hand: the nurses would dip the thin plastic chemically treated stick into a urine sample to determine if it was normal. At Einstein Montgomery, Rines said, “you put it in a machine and it does it for you.”

Still, understandably, Rines said she is nostalgic – and a little bitter – about Hahnemann’s end.

“I learned a lot at Hahnemann,” she said. “I went through a lot of life changes with people and they’re like old friendships; we had a Friendsgiving, with 30 or 40 of us getting together at someone’s house. We try to keep in touch.”

But she’s also grateful to have started over again.  “I’m enjoying the transition and I love what I do,” she said. “I’m really liking it at Einstein.”

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