LAKE FOREST – On March 12, 92-year-old Jean Ewing of Waukegan was eager to receive her first COVID-19 vaccine at the Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital campus.
In addition to getting vaccinated, she was looking forward to going to the location itself, where she worked for more than 21 years as a maternity nurse.
The building, which was part of the original Lake Forest Hospital, had been closed when the current hospital location opened, but recently reopened to provide a separate space for COVID-19 testing and vaccines.
Ewing received her nursing degree in 1949, and began working at Lake Forest Hospital in 1966. She worked in the medical surgical unit for 21 years, then in maternity for another 21 years, and also spent time caring for cancer patients until retiring in February 2009.
Her outstanding work in patient care did not go unnoticed. In 2006, the prestigious Florence Nightingale Nursing Excellence Award was renamed the Jean Ewing Nursing Excellence Award in her honor.
When Ewing entered the building, she was immediately filled with fond memories of her many years working in the maternity ward.
“When I went to the room to get my vaccine, the last time I saw it, it was filled with cribs and babies,” Ewing said in a news release. “It was wonderful to come back to such a special place, which felt clean and seemed much bigger than I had remembered it. Knowing that it’s now being used to vaccinate people during this critical time warms my heart.”