DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — It’s not every day that a worker begins and ends their career doing the same job at the same place.
Nurse Bettye Dacus said goodbye to her job at California Hospital Tuesday after 52 years on the job.
“She is the nurses of the nurses,” one doctor said.
Nursing wasn’t Dacus’ first choice as a profession. She initially wanted to be a doctor but was unable to pursue it.
“Because of the times and place where we came from. Because it was blatant segregation,” Dacus said.
The seasoned nurse also dealt with discrimination while on the job. She recalls having a doctor, who himself needed treatment, but didn’t want her help because she was African-American. She helped him anyway.
“He said, ‘All of my life, I was raised in the South, and I thought that black people were less than we were.’ He said, ‘But I am so sorry. I apologize for all the thoughts that I’ve had toward black people,’” Dacus said.
She’s been working at the hospital for longer than any other employee.
“Bettye’s the cornerstone of this hospital. We can’t do anything without her,” one employee told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Stephanie Simmons.
Dacus’ enthusiasm for life is also tough to stop. At 60 years old, she completed the LA Marathon.
“It’s been a tremendous journey this 52 and a half years. And I’ve loved every moment of it,” Dacus said to a crowd of hospital staff who gathered to see her off.