Every year on May 5, health care professionals around the world recognize World Hand Hygiene Day, a global movement led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness about the importance of hand hygiene in health care.
When Veronica Farguarson-Turner, Patient Food Services supervisor, began working at the MGH 45 years ago, she only had a sixth-grade education. Now, as she prepares to retire this month at 79 years old, she’ll do so with a high school diploma, an associate degree and a lifetime of memories.
Originally from Costa Rica, Farguarson-Turner's first job at the MGH was in the Baker Building as a kitchen aid in Nutrition and Food Services. She spoke little English at the time but quickly signed up for the English as a Second Language classes offered by the hospital.
“Mass General welcomed me with open arms,” Farguarson-Turner says. “I’ve done a lot here in 45 years, and they’ve always been great to me. They helped me finish high school and attend Newbury College for two years.”
The Dorchester resident also credits the MGH for helping her become the best supervisor she could be, from her first supervisory role in the Data Center to her last in Patient Food Services. Farguarson-Turner says she is proud to have made it to work on time each day and to have continued working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Farguarson-Turner, known by many as Ms. V, will be remembered by her colleagues as much more than a great supervisor. As a talented clothing designer, she often made alterations for her employees and even designed a few wedding dresses over the years. She never expected payment for her work and only asked for new books in return.
“Veronica is an accomplished seamstress, avid gardener and a home improvement guru with sought-after carpentry skills,” said Karen Purdy-Reilly, RD, LDN, assistant director of Patient Food Services. “She always helps others perform at top levels so our department can provide the best possible service to patients. I can always count on Veronica to come back after seeing a patient to tell me she made a new friend.”
After her last day at the MGH on Feb. 26, Farguarson-Turner looks forward to “just chilling” and getting used to her new schedule – or lack thereof.
“Mass General has been my home for 45 years,” she said. “It’s the best place to work, and I’m very proud of myself.”
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