She’s dedicated five decades to IU Health

When Brenda Norman retires this week, she will have spent the majority of her life working at IU Health.

She’s known for her macaroni and cheese that she brings to work pitch-ins and her ability to remember every patient’s name.

Brenda Norman has dedicated 50 years to working for IU Health. She started out working in dietary when she was a sophomore at Crispus Attucks High School.

“At that age, I had no idea what I wanted to do but I was drawn to the hospital and when I got there I stayed,” said Norman, the first of six children born to the late Ezell Sullivan and Ida Sullivan. From the beginning when she delivered trays to patients at Methodist Hospital she loved the interaction.

After graduation she completed training at Methodist Hospital to become a phlebotomist. “I liked doing the different blood draws and mingling with patients. We were like family there,” said Norman.

Danielle “Dani” Abel, also a phlebotomist has worked with Norman for 16 years.

“She always lightens the day with her jokes,” said Abel. “We watch the “Young and the Restless” together on our lunch break and sometime we go for walks. I went to her bridal shower when she got married. We’ve just become friends over the years. She knows all the doctors and nurses. In fact, there isn’t anyone she doesn’t know,” said Abel.

Seven years ago Norman married Daymon Norman. She has one son Wayne Chandler, Jr., two grandchildren and one granddaughter. One of her grandchildren, Jalen Chandler works at a rehab technician at Methodist Hospital and her youngest sibling Tracey Sullivan also works at IU Health in registration at Eagle Highlands.

In 1988 Norman began working at the Prostate Center at IU Health Eagle Highlands and then outpatient registration (system patient specialist) at the Eagle Highlands location.

“She’s always been motherly. The role she played at home is the role she plays at work,” said Sullivan. “We’re 12 years apart and she’s always been the one in charge. With six kids, mom needed the help.”

Sullivan remembers when their father was a heart patient at Methodist Hospital preparing for a transplant in 1973. “Brenda would go and visit dad during her breaks at the hospital and report back to us how he was doing,” said Sullivan.

Gloria Harmon has worked for IU Health for 39 years in registration.

“If Brenda’s not here, the patients ask for her,” said Harmon. “She’s funny. She’s pleasant but she’s commanding. We sometimes call her ‘general’ because she knows what she’s doing and all the areas. She treats all the patients like family,” said Harmon.

The biggest changes over the years have been with record keeping and paperwork, said Norman. “Everything has gotten more up-to-date. It’s been a great place to work. It’s paid my bills, kept food on the table and sent my son to private school.”

Carvie Washington has worked with Norman for four years. “She’s contributed a lot to IU Health. You can always depend on Brenda,” said Washington.

There will be a retirement celebration for Norma from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, June 27 at IU Health Eagle Highlands.

“IU Health thanks Brenda for her 50 years of many valuable contributions,” said her supervisor Laura Bowman. “Her loyalty and dedicated service played an integral role in making Eagle Highlands a special place for both patients and peers.”

What will she do after retirement?

“I like to roller skate, watch romantic movies, and go out to eat,” said Norman. “But first I’m going to be me – I’m going to put everything on hold and just surprise myself with what comes along.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email