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A Life of Service

February 01, 2022 Posted in: Patients & Providers  3 minute read time
Mary Highley

From the time she was a child, Mary Highley, 77, has been dedicated to caring for others through acts of service.

“I was always a person wanting to help and do,” Highley said. “When I was 15 and 16, I spent my summers working at a restaurant in Chicago and got to know doctors from Cook County Hospital. While my goal was to join the United States Army, health care was also interesting to me.”

Upon the recommendation of a friend, Highley connected with the chief executive officer of Mary Chiles Hospital, now Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, and was quickly hired to work in the hospital’s nursery from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The shift worked perfectly for the mother of two, who spent her days swimming and playing with her own children before heading to work in the evenings to a job she loved.

“I went to the delivery room with moms and brought babies back to the nursery where I hugged them, made them comfortable and put them to bed,” Highley said. “It was a joy to look after those babies until it was time for them to go home.”

A Professional Evolution

The nursery was one of many departments in which Highley has worked during the past 45 years. During her career, she worked in the medical/surgical department, the emergency department and the intensive care unit, where she still works today.

“In the past, we did not transfer patients out like we do now, and we sometimes had to take care of heart patients and critical patients by ourselves. That was challenging, but it was wonderful. It was good, hard work we could be proud of,” Highley said. “Also, today we have all of these physician specialists that we didn’t have back in the day.”

Now working in the new Saint Joseph Mount Sterling building, Highley serves as a telemetry, or monitoring, technician. In this role, she and her colleagues can monitor up to 27 patients at a time.

“I cannot believe all of the modern technology that we have access to now,” Highley said. “Everything is so seamless. I look back and wonder how we did what we did all those years ago.”

A Legacy of Wellness

Highley is inspired by the convenience that Saint Joseph Mount Sterling offers the community, especially seniors who do not need to travel far for specialized care. She’s also thrilled to be part of a facility that makes quality health care accessible to her five grandchildren.

“I am honored to work with a health care facility that provides my loved ones with the health care services they need.”

If you are interested in joining our health care team, visit

Mary Highley, the longest‑serving employee at Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, joined in the celebration of 10 years at the new hospital campus in June.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 print edition of Spirit of Health.

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Spirit of Health magazine's print edition is distributed quarterly and focuses on topics related to our CHI Saint Joseph Health purpose and values.