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Warm, caring words to describe Chamber health care award winner

Raising three children, managing a small farm and working long hours at the local hospital would sap the strength of a lesser woman. But not Ruth Barry of Sunnyside.

The dedicated nurse, mother and grandmother of two has found time to share her abundance of nursing skills with not only her co-workers at Sunnyside Community Hospital, but future nurses.

Barry, who has spent the past 17 years on duty as a full-time registered nurse at Sunnyside Community Hospital, is also a clinical nursing instructor at Yakima Valley Community College. In addition, she also is the nursing assistant instructor at Hillcrest Manor in Sunnyside, helping student nursing assistants become certified, licensed care givers.

The warm and friendly woman places her emphasis on patient care and encourages students and co-workers, alike, to be patient advocates at all times.

Honest and kind nursing care are the trademarks of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce's 2004 Health Care Person of the Year award winner. Barry, who received the Chamber award this past March, was shy about being singled out for the honor.

"There are a lot of nurses who deserve this honor. I'm touched they decided to honor me in this fashion," she said.

Born and raised in the Yakima Valley, Barry attended nursing college in Spokane. She graduated from Eastern Washington University with Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in 1974. For a time she was employed in Wenatchee, but a decision to move back to the Yakima Valley in 1987 resulted in her becoming a fixture at Sunnyside Community Hospital.

Barry, who encourages her students to work hard, often is in charge of preparing hospital employee in-service training sessions. She also volunteers her time to educate young people about trauma prevention.

"I've loved working in a small hospital," Barry said.

"We have become a family. We all know each other's children and look out for one another," she said.

Today, her daughter, Kristy Ann Smith, is following in her mother's footprints, studying nursing.

Meanwhile, her sons are both attending college. "Kellen will graduate from the University of Washington this year before beginning work on his Master's in accounting," Barry said.

Her youngest child, Kenton, is a sophomore at Central Washington University, where he is also majoring in accounting.

"But I think he really wants to be a Washington State Patrol officer," she smiled.

Barry shows no sign of retiring anytime soon, but looks forward to spending more time with her two young grandchildren.

For the time being, she is content to continue to teach and maintain her nursing assignment with the local hospital.

"I love my work," she said.

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