Linda Ahrens: 45 years at UT Southwestern
An oft-recognized member of UT Southwestern’s nursing staff, Linda Ahrens is someone who excels – whether in point-of-contact caregiving or in administrative duties. During her 45-year career at the Medical Center, she has been honored with a DFW Great 100 Nurses recognition, a Daisy Award, a Meritorious Service Award, the "Spirit of St. Paul" award, and the Diana and Richard C. Strauss Service Excellence Award – the last being one of UTSW’s top awards to caregivers.
She started as a Staff Nurse at the former St. Paul University Hospital, progressing to leadership positions through the years. As a Registered Nurse now working at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, she splits her time between the nursing unit and the nursing office. Part of her job is to monitor audits and schedules and engage in staff development and education.
“I’m really fortunate to be able to provide direct care for our patients,” she says, “and to be in a leadership role in our unit.”
When Mrs. Ahrens was honored five years ago for her UT Southwestern service, she had no reservations about making the move to the new Clements University Hospital, which replaced St. Paul. “I’m going to the new hospital,” she said, noting that many of her colleagues opted to retire before the move.
As if her years of service at UT Southwestern weren’t impressive enough, she’s been married even longer. She and her husband, Larry, celebrate 46 years this year. They have three children, and eight grandchildren who range in age from newborn to 11 years old. “I truly enjoy our family life,” she says, along with outings to flea markets and getting lost in a good suspense novel.
“I much prefer roaming bookstores and reading from an actual book instead of my tablet,” she says. “It is a bit of a ‘dinosaur’ joke with my co-workers because I also read the newspaper daily and often cut out articles and share them at work.”
And her work enriches her life. “The relationships that I have built over my career have always been rewarding, and they still are,” she says. “I continue to be friends with co-workers from the 1970s, and it makes me feel good to see our staff members building the same kind of relationships we built back in those days.”
And sometimes she gets an extra bit of joy from her younger colleagues.
“It always puts a smile on my face when the ‘young’ nurses realize that they hadn’t even been born yet when I began working here.”