MARQUETTE — Rick Beyers came to the UP from Detroit in search of a music education at Northern Michigan. What he didn’t expect to discover was a passion for health care; a passion that has led him to a 41-year career with UP Health System.
“It was kind of by accident,” said Rick about his introduction to health care. “I got to the education portion of the music major and decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I was putting myself through school at a nursing home, and then I figured I really liked it and went on to be a nurse.”
Rick started at UPHS as a transporter with X-Ray before working the surgical floor for a year and a half. He spent 26 years in the rehab department before finishing up as an Employee Health Nurse for his final 10 years of employment.
“I had a great career here,” Rick said. “Most of the time was at rehab and there was incredible teamwork that happened at this hospital. it was very satisfying.”
During his time, Rick has seen seven buildings go up at the old hospital and now the new facility. There were also advancements in technology, such as the regular use of IVAC machines nowadays. Before, a patient had to be really sick to have an IVAC to count its IVs, but now it’s standard practice.
Rick’s musical background didn’t go to waste, either. He utilized his musical education to assist patients during his time working in the rehab department with various musical instruments.
“When I was at rehab, there was an instrument called hand chimes, and I used it as a therapy tool for people who had strokes. That was really successful at the time,” he said. “You work with different sides of your brain. people after a stroke who can’t talk, a lot of times they can sing because it comes off a different part of your brain. Doing the hand chimes was a multi-step thing, so I worked on that.”
The UP’s natural beauty is what convinced Rick to stay in the area and make it his home. It’s a decision he calls “rewarding” and reflects back on positively, whether it was the people he was able to work with, or those he was able to return to healthy lifestyles.
“With being able to help people, rehab was an incredible place,” Rick said. “You were able to see people who were totally dependent on other people and go home independently. The whole experience was very rewarding.”