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My AMH Story Masthead

Marcia Quarles, R.N., B.C.

Marcia Quarles, R.N., is the Special Care Nursery Team Coordinator and a past recipient of the Joseph A. Williamson Award, one of the highest honors given to AMH employees.

Abington Memorial Hospital has always felt like home to me. I grew up across the street on Highland Avenue and can still imagine standing in the doorway when I was little, watching the candy stripers walk by and thinking, “I can do that.” My family always went to the June Fete and there’s even a picture of my sister and me on the merry-go-round in the hospital’s Wall of History.

As soon as I turned 15 in 1965, I started as a candy striper and have been at AMH ever since. I’ve always felt accepted, valued and that there are people at AMH to support me. After participating in a one-year pilot volunteer program called Junior Nurse Attendants, I went to the hospital’s (Dixon) School of Nursing (1968 -1971). The director of Volunteer Services at the time Nancie MacBain took an interest and helped me get a scholarship. After graduation, I started work in the Premature and Recovery Nursery which has evolved, expanded and relocated to become the Andrew Tesauro Special Care Nursery, the 34-bed neonatal intensive care unit where I care for babies today.

Among my greatest joys is seeing babies we cared for in the NICU come back to visit. I’ve even had parents of babies I’m caring for come in saying, “You took care of me and this is my baby,” and they’ll show me a picture of me holding them decades ago. In the early 1980s, Ara Moomjian, M.D., neonatologist, came to AMH to expand and develop the NICU.

It has been wonderful to see advances in technology which help more babies survive and thrive. Years ago, babies who were critically ill were sent to other hospitals in Philadelphia for a higher level of care. Now, there is rarely a need to separate babies from their parents as we have the resources and technology to meet all of the needs of the critically ill neonate right here at AMH.

Recently, I was fortunate to attend the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) conference with AMH staff and leaders. It was a wonderful professional opportunity for collaboration and just one example of the ongoing career enrichment and support the hospital has provided.

I celebrate 42 years as an Abington employee in July 2013. The hospital has grown so much, and yet the sense of family and connectedness remains. I guess you can call me an “Abington girl.” Making my career at AMH is one decision that I never question. I’m grateful to be a member of the hospital family and to have the privilege as a nurse to be a part of many people’s lives.

Marcia Quarles Photos