By Sarah Bello
Years at CMH: 38
As a teen, Chuck Chitwood seriously considered becoming a cardiologist. Many years later, he looks back on the wisdom of his high school health occupations teacher, who encouraged him to learn about other hospital departments. Although he spent a good chunk of time observing the coronary care unit in his local hospital, the time he spent in the Radiology Department had more impact.
“One of the radiologists took the time to talk to me about the many facets of being a physician, and I decided that occupation was not for me,” Chuck says. “However, I did find myself enjoying the technologists I was with. They seemed to enjoy their job, and I was given responsibilities as the ‘chief nobody’ for the time I was with them.”
While there, Chuck was told that if he got a degree in imaging technology, he’d have a job waiting for him. After he graduated, though, he’d been forgotten, and the job was offered to someone else. Wanting to stay close to his hometown of Roseburg, Oregon, he began the job search — but it proved discouraging.
“God and I had a talk,” Chuck says. “I said, ‘Lord, I’m tired of looking for a job. If there’s one out there, you find it.”
The very next day, he was invited to interview with Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria. His mother drove him up for the interview and was convinced Astoria was “the den of iniquity” after she saw a sign advertising Finnish steam baths. Despite her concerns, Chuck took the job and has spent the last 38 years working in Imaging at CMH.
For the past 12 years, Chuck has mainly worked in ultrasonography. He says CMH and Astoria have been good to him, and it’s been an honor to be there for those who are hurting.
“What I enjoy about working here is that CMH allows me the time to treat my patients the way I think they deserve to be treated, like they are real people — like I would treat my own family,” Chuck says. “They tell you not to become emotionally involved with patients, but you can’t not become involved and be real.”
Chuck looks forward to a retirement that’s within sight. He knows he’ll stay busy, because otherwise, “you rust.” Eventually, he and his wife hope to travel throughout the United States.
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