Longtime Chief Nursing Officer, Former Interim CEO Says Goodbye to HGH

It was an emotional day for both Darlene Bryan and her co-workers as she said goodbye to Humboldt General Hospital.

On Friday, February 28, the longtime nurse bid farewell after more than 36 years of dedicated service.

Co-workers, friends and family gathered in the hospital’s Sarah Winnemucca Conference Room to share in the celebration which drew as many laughs as it did tears.

Bryan was fresh out of college when she agreed to join the nursing staff at Humboldt General Hospital. That was June 27, 1983, and over the following three-plus decades, she served in every patient department in the hospital, either as an early nurse, a supervisor or an administrator.

Bryan’s career didn’t stop at nursing. She served as interim CEO of the hospital twice,

first in 2004 upon the departure of Byron Quinton, and again in 2016 with the departure of Jim Parrish.

But perhaps Bryan’s most memorable accomplishments came in her 20-year role as Chief Nursing Officer where she helped oversee the expansion and remodel of all nursing departments, and led out in elevating the structure, training and education of all nursing staff, including implementing a nurse education tuition program which has allowed many nurses to reach bachelor and masters levels in nursing.

In 2019, Bryan was named Humboldt General Hospital’s “Nightingale Nurse of the Year,” the hospital’s most prestigious nursing honor and a tribute to Bryan’s personal charge to “make a difference.”

As Bryan surveyed the crowd at her retirement celebration in February, she said she was filled with gratitude for her associations, her experiences and her opportunities. “All I can say is thank you.” Her admirers had plenty of gratitude to share as well. Longtime friends and co-workers lined up to share the impact Bryan has had in their lives.

“Thank you for erasing my fears,” said one fellow nurse. “I was a new nurse and I can’t even describe the love and beauty that you are.”

“I hope you know how much you’re loved and respected by the people who work at this facility,” added a co-worker. “You’re going to leave a big void.”

Another fellow nurse said, “You helped me go from being a CNA to a nurse manager. I have been blessed to know you, to work side by side with you.”

Another co-worker made the group laugh when she asked, “Is your house door open like your office door has always been open?”

Even one of Bryan’s sons shared the impact his mother had on him as she carried out her nursing duties.

Oldest son Dan said his mother has always been passionate about work. “Dad never talked about work—EVER!” he laughed. Dan said his mother has lived by the mantra: “Do what is right and let the consequence follow.” He added, “She’s been a great example to me; she’s the best manager I know.”

Bryan’s husband, Rodger, and sons Dan, Dave, Dillon and Dusty, presented her with a bench, bearing a plaque with her mantra, which will sit in the courtyard near the Mother and Baby Unit—Bryan’s favorite place in the hospital.

Bryan was also presented with a plaque, flowers and a retirement gift—representing $100 for every year of service at Humboldt General Hospital.

Interim CEO Karen Cole, who was not able to attend the celebration, wrote in a letter for the occasion, “When I arrived at HGH, it quickly became apparent there was a natural leader among the staff—and it was you.

“You have worn many hats at our organization, but your leadership goes beyond a title or a badge: over the course of more than three and a half decades you have lived what you believe and the result has been remarkable.”

Cole concluded, “I wish you the best in this next phase of your life. Retirement will be a wonderful reward for a job well done.”