People of KHSC: Margie Callaghan
Portraits of caring, compassion and commitment
If you’ve ever ordered a BLT in the Brockview Café at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), chances are Margie Callaghan served up that sandwich in record time.
Long familiar to Café patrons at KHSC’s Hotel Dieu Hospital site, Margie is clocking 20 years on the job this month and getting set to hang up her apron for good on September 9. In 2002 she was hired on the spot at her Café job interview, bringing with her food service skills honed in deli, restaurant and retirement home kitchens.
“I’ve done it all—short order cook, nursing home cook, catering, patient meal trays, customer service, cash, cleaning, stocking—and then cooked and cleaned for my family. I’m a domestic goddess!”
Over the decades, big lunchtime surges and hangry customers have never fazed Margie, who knows her trade and patrons too well to be anything but quick, helpful and patient.
“I have a good memory. I’m good at multi-tasking on food prep while still checking in with customers to make sure everyone gets what they want. You need patience for this job. People ask lots of repetitive questions.”
She always wanted to work in a hospital and was pleased to land at Hotel Dieu, where she and her kids were all born. Modestly, she says that a knack for helping people often takes her past the counter to support patients with disabilities or customers who might be a little down on their luck.
“They could be having a bad day or get set off by something. I’m told I do a good job of talking with people so I’m the one who goes to their table to see what’s happening and how we can help.”
Margie is also known for never slowing down. She was out for a year with cancer but tied on her apron again even as she was doing radiation treatments. After cataract and knee surgeries she was back at the Café “the minute the doctors let me.”
She has no plans to slow down in retirement, certain that she has years of cooking left in her for family.
“I love my co-workers, hospital staff and customers, and I’ll miss them all. But I’m done with schedules. Time to be my own boss.”