Patients going in for surgery at the Redwood Area Hospital these days might be nervous about their procedures; luckily, for the past year, Marilyn Scott has been there to ease them into and out of the surgery department.

Patients going in for surgery at the Redwood Area Hospital these days might be nervous about their procedures.
Luckily, for the past year, Marilyn Scott has provided the smiling face that eases them into and out of the surgery department.
Julie Salmon, RN, of the surgery department, said, “Marilyn is immensely helpful. Our department has no receptionists because we have nurses here. Having Marilyn to help with admitting has freed up our nursing staff.”
Scott’s experience with hospitals goes back to her teens. When she was 19 years old, approximately 50 years ago, she got a job in the Compton, California hospital emergency room.
“I worked in the medical field for the next 45 years, in both the front and back offices, wherever they needed me,” Scott said. “I should have gone to school to get an RN, but then I had children....”
Scott, born and raised in Bakersfield, Calif., eventually married the late Gary Jacobson, a nice Redwood Falls boy.
Visiting his hometown was her first, tentative experience with “Minnesota nice.”
Scott’s years as a medical professional ended when she retired as an administrative assistant for the University of California, Bakersfield, Student Health Department in 2000, and wanted a place to settle down.
When one of Scott’s children moved to Redwood in 1999, she got to know the community better.
“What my family was looking for was to become part of a community,” she said.
Scott’s first attempt at living in Minnesota was up north, and didn’t go well.
“I had heard about Minnesota Nice, and read about it,” she said, “but very honestly, I hadn’t seen it except for close friends. I finally found Minnesota Nice in Redwood Falls.”
In the past 10 years 15 members of Scott’s extended family have moved to Redwood Falls, including children, grandchildren, and now her first great-grandchild.
Scott moved to Redwood Falls the July 4th weekend of the big wind storm that caused so much damage.
“That was our introduction to Redwood Falls, and we figured it was a good thing (to get it out of the way early),” she laughed.
“I needed to meet the community. I’m 70 years old, and can’t just sit at home and have nothing to do,” Scott said.
Her first outing was to the United Senior Center, where she volunteered helping out with the daily lunch service.
“The senior center is just a fun place to meet friends,” Scott said. “Gosh, they have a great bunch of people! It took courage to go out and introduce myself, but they’re well worth getting to know.
“Then I came over to the hospital and asked if they needed any volunteers for the gift shop,” she said. “I’ve always thought it would be fun to work in a gift shop.”
While cleaning and reorganizing the hospital gift shop, Scott kept seeing patients being wheeled in and out of the surgery department. The motion attracted her.
“I wanted to move. I’m not a good sitter,” she laughed.
Although she still helps out in the gift shop several hours a week, Scott has done most of her volunteering in the surgery department for the past year.
Among other things, she escorts patients to and from the surgery department, complete with helping them into their cars as they go home.
Salmon said the Redwood Area Hospital surgery department does up to 80 procedures a month, so anything that gives the nurses more patient time is a plus.
“Marilyn is a nice, welcoming face when patients arrive. She’s very comforting to have around,” Salmon said.
“She’s a sort of patient liaison for us. If we’re running late, she reaches out and communicates with them for us. It’s so much nicer than just giving patients a beeper.”
Scott loves it. She said, “Three mornings a week, I have the privilege of working with the best medical staff I’ve ever worked with. I can’t find enough positive things to say about the staff here. They treat the patients with such dignity. They give such a peaceful feeling, and are so compassionate. And believe me, I’ve worked in hospitals where that wasn’t the case.”
Scott has extended her interest in the hospital to joining the auxiliary, and the RAH board.
“I like to talk to people about volunteering,” Scott said. “So many people think if you’re 70 you can’t volunteer, but you can. Get involved! Get out of the house!”