Care for the community: Brenda Burk retires after nearly four decades in the medical field

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Editor’s note: The Daily Reporter frequently features our “Neighbors,” whether it be someone with an interesting hobby or profession, or a nonprofit group making a difference in our community. Here, Greenfield resident Brenda Burk shares about her 38 years as a medical professional following her recent retirement. If you know a person or a group that you’d like to see featured in Neighbors, email [email protected]

Daily Reporter: What year did you start your profession and what office were you in?

Brenda Burk: At 19 years old, I was hired in August 1984 as a medical assistant by Dr. James T. Anderson. We were in the professional building behind Jim Dandy on West McKenzie Road in Greenfield.

DR: Did your job titles or duties change over time?

BB: While my title has remained the same, the practice has grown to five doctors and two nurse practitioners. Over the years of growth, the pace has picked up and we regularly acquired more patients. Following Dr. Anderson’s retirement in 2011, the practice welcomed Dr. Julia Degler, and I transitioned to be her medical assistant.

DR: What did you enjoy about our job?

BB: For me, it’s all about the patients. They are the reason I still love what I do. No one likes going to the doctor and I love that I can help make the experience a comfortable one for them. I’ve been with some patients since my first day in 1984, and they have become like family to me. I send them cards for birthdays and anniversaries and they drop off things to the office for me and my family.

DR: What made your job difficult at times and how did you overcome those obstacles?

BB: The toughest times with a job in healthcare are those moments when your patients are going through a very difficult or scary experience. I’ve been with patients on the worst day of their life and had to find a way to support them, comfort them, and fill any other role they needed. My way of dealing with these difficult days was to simply care for them even more. If that meant running an errand for them or dropping off their medication on my way home, I’d try to do that.

DR: Tell us a special memory about your job.

BB: I’ve loved watching some of my earliest patients having kids and raising families. It has been such a neat thing to see. Also, during the recent times of social distancing, patients have told me the thing they miss most about the office visits is getting a hug from me before they leave. It was just something I always did, and I had no idea how much it meant to them.

DR: Tell us about your family.

BB: My husband Kevin and I have been married for 37 years. We both grew up in the community and still live in Mt. Comfort. I have three grown sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren, with a fifth coming this summer!

DR: What are your plans for retirement?

BB: My husband, who retired from the Indianapolis Fire Department earlier this year, and I have been restoring vintage campers over the past few years. We hope to travel the country to visit as many national parks as we can. We also look forward to spending more time with our family and, especially, our grandchildren.

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