They say all good things must come to an end. And at the end of this month, Gary Campbell's storied career in health care will come to a close when he clocks out for the last time as a nurse within Mayo Clinic's outpatient Psychiatry and Psychology practice. After more than 40 years at Mayo and 60 years in health care. "My career here at Mayo has been altogether exciting and fulfilling," Campbell tells us. "There's never been a day when I've dreaded coming to work. I've enjoyed it all."
Getting his start in the field of psychiatry as a clinical instructor, Campbell eventually worked his way up to hospital administration, serving as the director of Nursing at the now-closed Rochester State Hospital. But he realized that wasn't how he wanted to spend his time. "It didn't give me any opportunity to be in clinical situations," he tells us. "I just wanted to get back into working as a clinician and seeing patients."
He applied for a position in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Mayo Clinic, hoping for a chance to get back to his patient care roots. "When I first started at Mayo, I spent a number of years in acute psychiatric care," Campbell says. "In 2008, I moved into Mayo's outpatient ambulatory psychiatry practice, where I've been ever since."
And while the changes Campbell has witnessed in health care over the years have been many, there's been one constant throughout much of it: his nursing colleague and friend Vicky Pileggi. "Gary and I have worked together in some capacity for 45 years, starting way back in our Rochester State Hospital days," Pileggi tells us. "Throughout that time, my husband and I have been through some personal tragedies, and Gary has always been there to support us."
That support continued when Pileggi began working in Mayo's Department of Psychiatry and Psychology in 1990. "Whenever we've had a crisis with one of our patients here, Gary's always been right there to help," she says. "He just loves the work so much and has always managed his life through work. Even now, he doesn't like to take days off because he doesn't know what he's going to do with that time."
And even though their working relationship will soon end, Pileggi tells us her friendship with Campbell will not. "Our friendship will continue after he retires," she says. "He's just been a blessing to know and to work with. Having him retire is going to be tough on me and the rest of our group here at Mayo Clinic."
Campbell tells us even though he's retiring, he'll continue to be around town, making a difference in a new role. "I've been working for a long time and I'd like to continue doing that. And I'm going to continue doing it by volunteering."
Which, for those who know him and have worked with him, should come as no surprise.
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