East Texas man celebrates 50 years of nursing

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 3:23 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 8:45 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas registered nurse has reached a career milestone.

Charles Beene has been working in nursing in East Texas for the last 50 years. He recently celebrated the anniversary, along with his 77th birthday, with coworkers at UT Health Tyler, the hospital where he’s worked for the majority of his career, save for a four-year stint at the Henderson hospital in the early 1980s.

Since 1985, he has served the Tyler hospital as orthopedic coordinator, making sure rooms are prepared and have the proper materials and equipment for surgery.

“It’s a good job, I haven’t had any complaints about anything,” Beene said reflecting on his time at the hospital.

Beene served two years in the U.S. Army (1966-1968) as an operating room technician. From there he went to nursing school at Texas Eastern School of Nursing, where he and another student were the first male graduates, he said. After his 1971 graduation, he started at the Tyler hospital (then ETMC).

“When I first started, everything was done by hand,” Beene said discussing the changes he has seen in operations over the years. “Now we’ve got the robot and we’re doing total knee and total hip replacements.”

Beene said one of the most rewarding parts of his job is being looked up to by his peers for the knowledge he’s gained over the years, something to which his coworkers attest.

“From my first day, Charlie was an amazing resource,” said Jessica Bunton, main operating room charge nurse, who said she has worked with Beene her entire career. “Everyone in the OR loves Charlie. He is always the first to lend a hand to anyone who needs it, and I rely on him greatly throughout the day. He truly cares for all of our staff and his knowledge base will never be topped.”

Beene said he might cut back his work schedule next year, but he hasn’t decided.

“I still feel like I can do my job, and as long as I can do my job, I’ll work.”

For coworkers like Tania Garcia, perianesthesia manager, that’s good news.

“Charlie Beene takes pride in his job, and he goes above and beyond to make sure the orthopedic surgeons have what they need,” Garcia said. “He is self-motivated and requires no supervision. You can always count on Charlie, we sure have for 50 years.”

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