Myrtle Warneke, RN, represents the finest application of the training, principles and ethics that constitute the profession of nursing. A 1922 graduate of St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Tacoma, Myrtle pursued post-graduate work in anesthesiology at St. Joseph’s and later under the direction of Dr. Lundy, chief of anesthesiology, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
During World War II she returned to Seattle to work as first assistant to Dr. H.J. Wycoff, and she purchased the Seneca Summit Hospital. She later sold it in 1951 to assist in the financing of the Northgate project, that was to be the first shopping center in the United States, and would include Northgate General Hospital. The Hospital occupied the second floor of the three story medical building and the balance of the space was to house the pharmacy and hospital physicians. When leasing started, the first four or five contracts went to dentists, which spelled doom to Myrtle. After speaking with Mr. Douglas, president of the Northgate Company, the two agreed that survival of the project required that only physicians be housed in the medical building. Doctors occupying downtown offices began to move to the north end, and they were carefully screened to include all practices of medicine, in turn making up the ideal hospital staff.
Northgate General Hospital, with its 42 beds, opened April 4, 1952 with the admission of its first patient. The lean years, had little or no fat attached to them, but as the new shopping mall and doctors practices grew, the pharmacy began to make ends meet and ultimately a shortage of beds and office space became reality. Myrtle negotiated with Allied Stores to update the existing Hospital and double its size. The end result was a new addition to Northgate General Hospital.
Myrtle’s input into business proceedings led to positive change. The south wing with the OB unit and the nursery was running into the red since less families were having children, so the wing closed and was replaced with a new intensive care unit vital to surgery and cardiac patients.
Myrtle is to be commended for her devotion to the nursing profession, and her demands of strict adherence to ethics from nurses and staff. The best patient care was her goal, and her warm smile, fairness, and expertise won the love and respect of her patients and professional colleagues.
Miss Warneke dreamed of opening a facility where an all RN staff would provide total care of people north of the canal. Her dream came true, and at the time of its opening, there was no other general hospital between the canal and Everett.