Golden anniversary at ObiciPublished 10:36pm Monday, April 29, 2013
There aren’t many employees who stay 50 years at the same job and still don’t have any plans to retire.
Diane Mathias, however, is one of those people. She marked half a century at her job in the medical records department at Sentara Obici Hospital on Monday, with employees from throughout the building, former co-workers and her family crowding into a conference room on the ground floor of the hospital to celebrate with her.
“I feel very, very blessed,” Mathias said before the party, reflecting on her career.
She started working at Obici at age 18, after graduating from high school early and finishing an 18-month medical secretary course in only a year. She did a quick internship at Norfolk General Hospital before coming to Obici.
Mathias has seen a lot of changes over the years. When she was first hired, there was no Human Resources department to speak of, and part of the interview process was to take dictation from a doctor. Patient files were on 3-by-5 cards in a single filing cabinet. Only three people worked in the entire department.
Records now are kept entirely by computer, ever since the change was made in September 2010. Mathias has been through four directors, the takeover of Obici by Sentara and a move of most of the department to Sentara’s CarePlex in Hampton.
“It’s just all different,” she said. “Anytime you make a change, you have to get used to it.”
Her co-workers give Mathias the praise for the changes.
“If it wasn’t for her, none of it would have gotten done,” Jeannie Groves said. “She’s an awesome leader.”
Things have changed in her personal life, too. She got married to her husband, Charlie Mathias. They have two children and four grandchildren. She kept working through two battles with cancer in 1991 and 1999.
“My way of coping with it was working,” she said. “I don’t like being sick at home.”
She credited the care she got at Sentara with helping her beat the cancer, especially the radiology department.
“I feel so blessed to have them,” she said, adding that she feels that way about the entire hospital.
“I can’t say enough for the people we’ve had working in our department,” she said of the medical records department.
Her husband said he’s been trying to get her to retire, but she will hear none of it.
“She’s a tough one,” he said.
But Mathias has no plans to quit working anytime soon.
“I don’t know anything but working,” she said.