Originally from Muhlenberg County, Steve Dukes, RN, has experienced many changes to nursing in his 40-year career with one constant: Saint Joseph Hospital.
It’s where he met his wife, where he raised his children, where he remembers when Sisters of Charity of Nazareth walked the halls, where the annual Turkey Trot was held on the grounds where the Saint Joseph Office Park now stands.
“When I first started here, there was a basketball court where I played, an outside exercise area with stations set up where you could stop and exercise,” Steve said. “There was a large parking lot [for employees], and there was a bus that would take us across [the street] and let us off in front of the hospital.”
While health care was his first job outside of high school, Steve said his call to serve deepened under the leadership of Sister Michael Leo when he first came to Saint Joseph Hospital in 1981.
“She was always available, very supportive and made sure people knew if they came here, they would be taken care of,” Steve said. “Following her leadership drove me deeper in my commitment to nursing and Saint Joseph during that time.”
Working in the cardiac, intensive care and emergency care departments during his career, Steve said the best piece of advice he learned from his experience is to always be prepared for anything. Developing intuition comes with experience, and learning to trust it is integral in the nursing field, as well as continuing education and training with new technologies and policies. Steve recently earned a Trauma Nurses Course Core (TNCC) certification. He currently works in the emergency room at Saint Joseph Jessamine.
“It was a great learning experience, great physicians who were always willing to teach and great nurses,” Steve said. “The hospital is good about educating new procedures or policies.”
Outside of work, Steve enjoys cheering on the University of Kentucky Wildcats and is a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball fan.
“I grew up watching them; my dad was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and they moved to Los Angeles the year I was born,” Steve said. “I’ve been a fan as long as I can remember.”
Steve also boasts a large pen collection, particularly cross pens. He approximates he has 100 different styles of pens in his collection, including a prized 18k gold cross pen.
“Sometimes it feels good to pick up a pen to sign a card or write a letter,” Steve said. “I started in high school when I didn’t have a typewriter. When I got to college, my teacher said as long as [my writing] was legible, she would accept it. I always wrote essays with a fountain pen. The feel of a pen felt good and I’ve always been a cross pen fan whenever I find one I don’t have or one I really like.”