GRANDVIEW — With more than 400 footcare clients and a handful of weekly footcare clinics, up and down the valley, Ruth Todd, RN, now 78, shows no signs of shifting into a lower gear. Instead, the former assisted living charge nurse is operating at a higher, though different level than the past 35 years.
Todd, a Grandview resident, living temporarily with a friend in Prosser until her Zion Park hike accident damage completely heals, packs a schedule heavier than a boxer’s punch.
For 37 years Todd, mother of six grown kids, has been a force in the Washington healthcare field; for 20 years of it, in Sunnyside, Grandview and Prosser.
A product of community colleges, Walla Walla for nursing pre-reqs and Columbia Basin for her nursing curricula, Todd says she can’t imagine another field of work.
She completed her nursing credentials in 1982.
According to Todd, “The lore at the time was, do not receive a pink envelope,” discussing her wait to learn how she did on her nursing boards.
She doesn’t remember her envelope’s color, but she does remember the letter saying, ‘welcome.’
Her nursing expertise has been shared within many Washington communities since her welcome letter. From duties of an in-home nurse in Chelan, to long-term care charge nurse for Veterans’ Affairs in Vancouver and Portland, to Director of Nursing and trainer, Todd has experience and expertise.
While earning her many nursing stripes, Todd was also the primary parent for her six children.
The spinning of all the plates.
Todd relocated to the Grandview-Prosser area 1999 and gained additional charge nurse, assisted living experience with Prosser Memorial and Regency in Sunnyside.
She eventually made her way to the former Sheffield Manor in Prosser (now Amber Hills) and stayed awhile as Director of Nursing (DON). She had been retired “. . . for oh, about two weeks and I was bored out of my mind,” said Todd, “and I stopped by, got offered a job.”
It was seniors in the valley’s assisted living settings who stole and kept her heart. She was attracted having daily time with them, the laying on of hands and having conversations with seniors in the communal setting. She said she enjoyed the varied tasks required of a Director of Nursing (DON), and the rhythm of the communities. From overseeing the hiring and training for the clinical staff to ensuring medication perfection in delivery, Todd relished it all.
Following years of being on call 24 hours, seven days a week in her DON role, Todd found the demands less appealing.
“I was never good at losing sleep at night; but my foot care people, they never call for an appointment in the middle of the night,” said Todd with a big chuckle.
She shifted gears in 2016, expanding her certified foot care business, adding credentials as a trainer for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and mental health and dementia training for clinical staff.
To see her children and grandchildren more often, Todd recalibrated again to become self-employed as a full-time trainer and foot care RN.
She now schedules trips to see her out of town children and grandchildren, and solo trips to explore the desert.
In mid-July this year, the 10,000-steps a day, outdoor enthusiast had just completed an 18-mile loop in the Zion National Forest. Climbing out, she tripped on a can near the car parking lot, hit her head on the curb and broke her femur in the fall.
Fast forward 11 days, she is post-leg repair surgery and back in the foot care groove. “Oh, this thing,” Todd laughed, looking down at her leg scar and walker “it’s a really minor annoyance!”