Jeanne Abe recently retired after 43 years as a nurse, including 39 years in public health on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.
"The impact of her work in health care will continue long after her retirement," Howard N. Ainsley, chief executive officer of the East Hawaii Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp., said in a news release.
Abe has been director of nursing the past eight years at Hale Ho’ola Hamakua, a critical access hospital and long-term care facility in the health systems corporation. It was known originally as Hamakua Hospital.
"Jeanne has led by example in caring for patients and mentoring other nurses," Ainsley said.
Cathy Meyer-Uyehara, Hale Ho’ola Hamakua administrator, said, "Many people join me in appreciation of Jeanne’s contributions to our hospital and commitment to our community.
"During her retirement celebration organized by our staff, the love for her was absolutely tangible," Meyer-Uyehara said.
Abe said, "I am proud and honored to have worked with such a dedicated staff who serve the community and its needs. Accomplishing all that we did throughout the years — such as earthquake Federal Emergency Management Agency repairs, hospital expansion and quality patient care — happened because of the teamwork and genuine caring from our physicians, nurses, ancillary departments, staff and a multitude of volunteers."
Abe’s accomplishments included overseeing patient care for residents after the facility sustained considerable damage from the 2006 earthquake, requiring all patients to be evacuated. FEMA completed repairs in June 2009 and an expansion project was completed this year to increase beds from 50 to 77.
The expansion wing is scheduled for occupancy this month.
Abe earned a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and worked as a staff nurse at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.
She worked on Maui for 30 years and in 2002 became director of nursing for Hale Ho’ola Hamakua. She was interim administrator from February 2007 to October 2009 before returning to her position.