Vera Kunovski’s recent retirement from the Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospitals was bittersweet. After 35 years in the hospital, and over 10 years working in the Breast Care Center, she had built wonderful connections with her co-workers and patients that were hard to leave behind.
Kunovski, who had served as a Radiologic Technologist in Methodist’s X-Ray department before becoming a Mammography Technologist at the Breast Care Center, explained how fortunate she felt to have been able to provide this service to community members while bonding with both staff and patients. After emphasizing her favorite part of her job as “all of it,” she described her career as both incredible, and highly fulfilling due to the connections she has formed.
“It is a team and we are family. None of us work alone; we all work together, and that's the beauty of it. I think it's difficult to find the kind of team that you can actually call a family. Each of us looks out for the next one like siblings,” Kunovski said.
The relationships that have been formed between the staff members of the Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center extend to the patients. Kunovski explained that the community outreach done by manager Jennifer Sanders helps to build relationships that have resulted in patients requesting to see the same staff member year after year.
“To be able to reach those patients and have somebody be so incredibly thankful that they will ask for you in subsequent years is really gratifiying.. You have not just a patient, but a friend as well.” Kunovski said.
After spending more than 10 years creating and maintaining these relationships, Kunovski is moving on. But while she will no longer be present in the office, the relationships and memories that have been created will remain with her for the rest of her life.
“It's bittersweet. It's very it's a beautiful place to be employed. It's a beautiful family. I don't think of them as staff and co-workers to me. They're my family. They always will be,” Kunovski said. “The patients will always be number one, and the patients here realize that everybody here has the greatest utmost respect and commitment to their well-being. It's phenomenal to find a special group of people like this.”
Kunovski plans to move to Florida and potentially open a coffee shop or bakery with her partner. She is not planning to continue working in healthcare.
“I can hang up my film badge here and I'm done because I could never work with any other facility or team or make another family quite like this,” Kunovski said. “I want to end it on a high note. I'm happy with what I've accomplished here. I am honored to be a part of that group. I don't think I could continue on anywhere else.”
Jennifer Sanders, Breast Center Manager, noted the emotional impact of losing such a valued employee. “As Vera mentioned, we are more than just co-workers here, we are family. We have watched each other’s children grow up and graduate high school and college. This team is going to miss her tremendously and we can’t express how happy we are for her as she ventures into a new phase of life. Good Luck Vera! You will be missed, our friend.”
Mammogram Screening Information
The Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center provides many services, including yearly mammogram screenings and diagnostic mammograms, as well as biopsies, and other diagnostic procedures. Kunovski explained that it is important for all women over the age of 40 to get yearly screening mammograms to detect the early stages of breast cancer. If you have a high risk of breast cancer in your family, she recommended beginning getting yearly screenings earlier.
“You need to have a screening mammogram mainly for the detection of any abnormalities. You want to increase the chance of finding anything that could be abnormal,” Kunovski said. “Your number one method is a screening 3D mammogram. That is the most sensitive and most accurate technology to make a diagnosis.”
Women should also not stop getting the yearly screenings unless they are physically unable. It is essential to continue to regularly have screenings because breast cancer can appear at any point in life.
“Even though you are aging, if you're in good health, if you're able to get around and if you're able to do other tests, you should most definitely not skip your yearly mammogram.” Kunovski said. “Breast Cancer numbers tend to peak again in women in their 60’s and 70’s. We see it all the time.”
Detecting breast cancer early on can save lives. If interested in scheduling a Screening Mammogram or any other breast work ups at The Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospitals, call the central scheduling department at 219-981-5440, or call the department at 219-756-4436 for further information.