Nurse of 50 Years Set to Retire

In 1962, Americans survived the Cuban Missile Crisis, said goodbye to Marilyn Monroe and rejoiced when Albert Sabin’s polio vaccine was licensed for use in the U.S.

 That was also the year Carole Mullins was hired at Tucson Medical Center.

 With half a century of caring for patients, Mullins is retiring just as her birthday cake readies for 70 candles. She’s been here so long she’s one of only two employees remaining with a single-digit employee number.

 “TMC was a second family for me,” said Mullins. “I liked the doctors. I loved working with the patients. It was just a lot of fun.”

 Mullin traces her roots in nursing back to watching her aunt care for her ailing grandparents as she was growing up. “Nursing is all I ever wanted to do. To this day, I like helping people and taking care of people.”

 She also recalls the key piece of advice that sustained her through five decades of nursing. Her teacher at St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Maryland told the class they should pay close attention to the cardiologist giving the lecture, because there would be questions afterward. The class dutifully took copious notes, only to have the teacher afterward ask what color his suit was. No one could answer.

 “The point was that no matter what machines might be available, no matter what else is going on, stop and look at your patient.”

 Mullins, who began her career in pediatrics and later spent more than 30 years working with orthopedic patients, recalls an era when a white uniform, hose and hat were standard issue. There was no pediatric unit, but TMC did have a nurses’ residence when she first started. Still, she said, quality of care has remained a standard, with an excellent nursing staff, helpful pharmacy staff and patient-oriented technicians.

 While she will miss the friends she has cultivated through the years, and will miss the patient contact, Mullins has already found other ways to stay engaged in the community. She’s volunteering at the community food bank and for her church. She’s also teaching first-graders to read at a midtown school.

 Mullins will be surrounded by her four grown children and some of her eight grandchildren when TMC hosts a retirement celebration next month. The event will take place in the Mesquite/Tumbleweed meeting room in the Marshall Conference Center on April 6.





  1. amazing story! I would love to see her pictures with TMC back then if she has any and doesn’t mind to share on the celebration.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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