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‘Family thing:’ Kelly family finds work, happiness at St. Joseph

“It is a family thing for sure.”

That’s how Patty Kelly, outreach coordinator and physician referral specialist for Penn State Health St. Joseph, talks about some of her colleagues.

The hospital has employed both her and three of her four children at some point during the last 13 years. Kellys have been everything at St. Joseph from food runners to telephone operators.

“I was the first to be an employee,” said Kelly, who joined St. Joseph after witnessing the excellent care her husband received when he was hospitalized following a health issue. “I just loved the care and ambiance of St. Joe’s.”

At the time, Kelly was working in television advertising. She was ready for a change, she confessed to her friend Scott Mengle, the hospital’s vice president of Human Resources. “If you ever have an opening,” she told him, “I would love to work here.”

She found her opening. Kelly took the role of manager of the telephone operators as a way to get her foot in the door. It made it possible for her to be near her husband in the years that followed, as he underwent treatment at St. Joseph Cancer Center. When he passed away eight years ago, Kelly transitioned to her current job. Today, she helps connect patients with providers.

One of the added benefits of her job is working with her daughter, Megan Kelly. While three of her children spent their summers working for Food Services at the hospital while teenagers, only Megan found her way back to St. Joseph after graduating.

“I always wanted to be in the medical field, so I thought staying with the hospital would be a good idea,” she said, adding that as registrar for St. Joseph’s Family and Community Medicine Residency program, she often finds the opportunity to call on her mom for help. “I am able to help promote what she does with events I do here, and she refers patients to our Downtown Campus clinic.”

“We work hand-in-hand,” Patty said. “For us, St. Joseph has truly been a family endeavor.”

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