San Diego Health - Spring 2024


Karen Whalen Imaging Supervisor, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas

41 Years of Service

When Karen Whalen began working at Scripps Encinitas, the hospital was “basically a single- story facility,” she says, with a much smaller number of beds for patients. “What we did in a month back then is what we do in a day now,” she says with a laugh. “But, remember, that was decades ago.” Whalen says both the facilities, as well as the quality of the equipment and imaging techniques, have grown “to a phenomenal degree” during her time at Scripps—those advancements are one of her favorite parts of her job. “Without that, we wouldn’t be able to make such a significant impact on patients.” One thing that hasn’t changed? The strong sense of community she feels with the physicians and staff. “We always celebrate each other and the culture is so positive,” she says. “I know this can sound like a cliché, but it’s true: Working here really feels like being part of a family.”

40 Years of Service

Sue Dastrup, RN Radiation Oncology Nurse, Scripps Green Hospital and Scripps Cancer Center Sue Dastrup first took a job at Scripps assuming she wouldn’t stay long. Originally from Massachusetts, Dastrup figured she’d spend a little time on the West Coast before moving closer to family. Forty years later, she hasn’t gone anywhere. “Whenever I think, ‘Should I retire?’ I just can’t do it yet,” Dastrup says. “I love my job. I love what I do.” As a radiation oncology nurse at Scripps, Dastrup and her team are the first people patients see after receiving a diagnosis, a role she takes very seriously. “It’s a very vulnerable appointment,” she says, “so my job involves counseling, caring for and supporting all of my patients and their families throughout their journey in oncology.” When Dastrup knows she’ll be working with a patient who has a particularly challenging diagnosis, she’ll research the disease process and its treatment options, so she’s equipped to provide the best care possible. “Whenever my team and I see an opportunity where we can do more for our patients, we do it,” she says.

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