My Proud Story...
“When I grow up I want to be a nurse!” This was the caption under my name in the 1986 Calypso Elementary School class yearbook. Of course, a hand-drawn, abstract stick figure with a triangular body, large hat with a cross barely in the middle, and hearts drawn all over falls directly beneath.
St. Luke’s has been part of my family for generations. My ancestors were one of the first Moravians to settle in Bethlehem and most of my family was born here at St. Luke’s Hospital. My grandfather lived on Bishopthorpe Street since he was a young boy and was very involved with the growth of the community and of course, St. Luke’s Hospital. My great-grandmother worked here in environmental services and continued to volunteer after she retired. My other grandfather was a Bethlehem Police Department Detective and spent many hours in the St. Luke’s emergency department. Finally, my mother worked here since I was a very young girl an I heard many influential stories from these wise and wonderful souls throughout my childhood that all included St. Luke’s Hospital.
Since I was young, I can remember having a true passion of love and care for all people. I always wanted to help if someone was injured, crying or just needed a hug. I knew in my heart that nursing was my true calling, so I started working here as a volunteer at the age of fifteen. I remember visiting my mother in the mailroom where she worked and watching all the staff interact - physicians, clerical staff, nurses, dietary, environmental services, security and of course, Mr. Anderson, all seemed to know each other by name - like a family. This inspired me to continue working here and wanting to be part of this team.
Eventually, I got a position in the radiology department as a file clerk as a teenager. I went through some challenges at this young age and I got pregnant with my beautiful daughter. The staff in the radiology department was very supportive during my pregnancy and with patience, flexibility, and financial help from St. Luke’s, I pursued my career as a nurse. After working for a time in the emergency department, I ended up back where I started in radiology where I currently work with some of the same wonderful staff I started with.
St. Luke’s will always be part of my family. And now, my daughter is a freshman in the Temple nursing program and plans to become a nurse anesthetist.
I am personally blessed with the patience, compassion, knowledge and growth I gained from all of my experiences here at St. Luke’s Hospital. I try to treat all patients, families and SL team members with all of these blessings I received. This is not just a job for me, but a true calling. I am truly St. Luke’s Proud.
Kelly Kempfer, RN
Hired in 1999