Margaret Mitchell: 50 years at UT Southwestern

Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell seems to have spent a lifetime helping others. The number of people she has assisted over the years is astounding – from patients and hospital staff, to neighbors, to a brother paralyzed in an automobile accident. Since childhood, it’s been part of her personal DNA.

Ms. Mitchell, who celebrates 50 years of service at UT Southwestern this year, will be at center stage when longtime employees are honored at the annual luncheon of the Quarter Century Club. It’s safe to say that her electric smile will light up the festivities.

As a Housekeeping Attendant, Ms. Mitchell’s job is to ensure that patient rooms and nurses’ stations in William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital are sanitized and ready for use. She has done this job since the first day she walked in the door of the former St. Paul University Hospital back in 1967.

Back then, her employment at another hospital had come to an end when that facility shut down. She heard through the grapevine that St. Paul was hiring, so she came to apply and was hired on the spot.

While she has worked at UT Southwestern for a half-century now, her job satisfaction has not changed.

“I’ve stayed here this long because I like the people I work with, and I get huge pleasure out of seeing the patients and, better yet – seeing them smile.”

She grew up on a farm in Arkansas, the seventh of 11 children and the only girl among them. A mother of twins, Ms. Mitchell counts having seen a set of triplets being born as her most rewarding UTSW memory.

Although she knows the day will come, Ms. Mitchell has no immediate plans to retire. Plus, she’d like to see what happens at UT Southwestern over the next 75 years: “The levels of innovation and the breakthroughs we have produced are breathtaking,” she said, “and what’s still to come is going to be something to see.”

Helping others is a skill she learned growing up on the farm. In her adult life, that passion continues. In addition to her twins – a daughter and a son – she raised two nieces. Today, she helps all four with their own children.

Her commitment to care extends to the community. In her neighborhood, she helped a good friend and neighbor raise three grandchildren. When they graduated from high school, Ms. Mitchell was there to cheer them across the stage.

On top of that, she cares for the brother who was paralyzed 18 years ago. That might all sound tiring, but Ms. Mitchell doesn’t see it that way.

“I get joy and pleasure out of helping others every day,” she said, “whether I’m at work or at home.”