When Anne Hayward began her 30-year career at Torrance Memorial Medical
Center in 1948, Harry S. Truman occupied the White House, gasoline cost
16 cents per gallon and the newly expanded Jared Sidney Torrance Memorial
Hospital located on Engracia Avenue boasted 90 beds.
“There were five or six doctors on staff,” recalls Hayward
who proceeded to name the physicians. She worked as a post-surgical nurse
on the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. graveyard shift, initially on weekends and later
Lights were kept low at nights to promote sleeping. “It was dark,”
she says. “I had to walk down the hall with a flashlight.”
Particularly on the night shift, nurses had to take on multiple roles.
“We had to work the switchboard at night—there was no one
else to answer the phones.” She says that nurses did a greater variety
of tasks back then, compared to the specialization of roles that nurses
seem to have today, and that tasks were more manual.
“Now there’s a system that rings when IV medication runs out.
We had to keep watch on that ourselves.”
Hayward, the seventh of 12 children, was born in Pueblo, Colorado. She
attended Seton School of Nursing in Colorado Springs. After graduating
in 1941 she set out for California with two fellow nurses and initially
worked at Cedars of Lebanon (now Cedars-Sinai Medical Center). “I
saw Bing Crosby there,” she says, “and I took care of Rita
Hayward and her husband of 63 years moved to Torrance in 1946. She began
working at the hospital in 1948 and retired in 1979—one year after
the East Wing was built.
Despite all the changes she has seen, one thing has remained consistent:
Torrance Memorial’s exceptional patient care. Hayward says she worked
with wonderful doctors and continues to be treated by wonderful doctors
today. She delivered both daughters at the original Torrance facility,
underwent orthopedic surgery on her ankle (at the age of 94!) and has
high praise for her primary care physician, William E. Kim, MD.
With her daughters, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren, Hayward
remains active today. She makes weekly trips to the hairdresser and nail
salon, attends mass each Sunday and is an avid Dodger fan.
Her timeless advice to today’s nurses: “Do your best. Think
of the patient.”