Nurse retires after 41 years at Shelbyville Hospital, says she never dreamed she’d end her career in the middle of a pandemic

Kathi Hornback (WHAS-TV image)
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Never dreaming she would work through a pandemic or retire in the middle of one, Kathi Hornback, a nurse of 41 years who has worked in nearly every nursing department at U of L Health‘s Shelbyville Hospital, has retired, Tyler Emery reports for WHAS-TV. 
Hornback, who spent her last day walking through the hospital hallways on Thursday, Sept. 10, told Emery that working through the pandemic has been challenging.
“I never thought I’d finish my career wearing a mask my whole work day,” she said.
Hornback also talked about why she loved nursing.  “I love helping people, making them feel better,” she said. “And seeing them get better or sometimes they don’t get better, but being able to be there with them when its not going the way you had hoped.”
Hornback started her career at the hospital in 1979. She told Emery it was her second home.
“It’s that small environment where your patients are your neighbors, your friends, you go to church with them and you have people in your community taking care of you,” she said.
Annessa Baker, the chief nursing officer, told Emery that Hornback’s retirement is well deserved.
“How can you describe how valuable somebody is when they’ve got 41 years of experience under their belt?” Baker said. “She knows the community, she’s an advocate for nursing and has encouraged other people to join our careers and profession. We’re happy for her, we’re sad for us.”
Emery writes that Hornback’s retirement signals the end of a “Hornback era” at the Shelbyville hospital, noting that she followed in the footsteps of a relative of her husband, who started caring for patients there in 1947.
“A lot of patients have touched me,” Hornback said. “I hope I’ve touched them in some way.”