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Barb Linkert, short white hair, red diamond shaped eye glasses
Registered nurse Barb Linkert has worked at Hamilton General Hospital for 55 years, making her the longest-serving employee in Hamilton Health Sciences’ history.
December 22, 2021

2021 Celebrations: Readers’ Choice


Longest-serving employee in HHS history celebrates 55 years of nursing

Hundreds of you reached out to congratulate registered nurse Barb Linkert after we ran a story featuring her as Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) longest-serving employee.

The beloved nurse has worked at HHS’ Hamilton General Hospital for 55 years, caring for patients on the 4 West cardiology and vascular surgery ward. And before joining the HHS team, she was a nursing student here.

“Congratulations Barb, so proud of your accomplishments,” posted one reader after seeing Linkert’s story on our social media. “You are a great example of compassion, professionalism and advocacy. Thank you for all that you do.”

Another wrote, “Having nurses with this level of knowledge and skill on a floor is priceless.”

Looking back on her nursing career, Linkert says she made the right choice. “I think that nursing at Hamilton General Hospital is what I was meant to do with my life.” Read

Not surprisingly, many of the most-read, loved and shared stories this year involved the pandemic in some way. Readers celebrated the recovery of Mike VanNetten, the Norfolk chicken farmer who was hospitalized for almost three months due to COVID-19. Readers learned about the exceptional, lifesaving care he received and subsequent efforts by his grateful family and friends to raise funds for a new ECMO machine.

When questions swirled around the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine, HHS hematologist Dr. Menaka Pai co-wrote a hugely popular article on blood clot concerns. Pai has also been a strong advocate of COVID-19 vaccines for children, along with Dr. Bram Rochwerg, an intensive care physician and medical lead for the intensive care unit (ICU) at HHS’ Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre who shared why he and his spouse, also a physician, chose to vaccinate their children.

Some of our most popular stories featured staff, including our longest-serving ones, like Barb Linkert, featured above. We also shared stories about registered nurses John Sheppard and Lori Pokoradi, who have each served for 45 years.

These stories and more readers’ favourites are featured at the end of this story.

Read all the 2021 celebration stories this month.