Honoring 21 years. A Retirement Interview with Theresa Bowles, RN
Couri Center for Gynecology and Integrative Women’s Health
“My story is simple, really. It’s about God & family. From the very beginning, Dr. Couri & Tim have modeled the Couri Center in a way that honors both patients and employees. The Couri Center is family, and I am so proud to have been part of it for the past 21 years!” -Theresa Bowles, RN, Couri Center.
But I digress. My passion for nursing began long ago. Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to be a nurse! I remember being as young as 6 or 7 years old and receiving my first nurse’s medical kit. With pride, I wore my stethoscope and a navy blue cape with red piping and gold buttons! In my early teens, I became a Candy Striper at Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton, Illinois (now known as St. Clare OSF). It was then that I was first drawn to the babies in the newborn window. I loved babies and knew then and there that this was the passion I wanted to pursue.
I went to college at St. Francis Medical Center School of Nursing, graduating with my RN License. In 1976, my career began with my first nursing position at OSF, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where my dream came to life for the next 25 years. I loved every single minute of my nursing position.
In 2000, God had other plans for me. I met Dr. Michele Couri and her husband, Tim, in the NICU while caring for their firstborn son. You really get to know people during times like these, and we immediately become friends. “If you ever need a nurse, please let me know!”‘ I recall flippantly sharing with Dr. Couri, who was then finishing her OB/GYN residency at OSF. Just like that, God brought us together.
In 2001, Dr. Couri began private practice, and I became her nurse. Equipped with years of experience caring for preemies, I was now entirely new to women’s health. I had so much to learn, but Dr. Couri gently mentored me in her kind, unassuming way. She graciously shared her ‘toolbox,’ overflowing with knowledge, ideas, and the latest advancements in women’s healthcare.
During my 21 years at the Couri Center, we have worked very hard to accommodate the ever-changing dynamics of women’s healthcare. It has been a constant evolution to ensure that women receive the most comprehensive and up-to-date therapies. Dr. Couri’s primary goal has and continues to be to tailor each patient’s care according to their individual needs. I cannot thank her enough for all she has done for me. We have been through so much working side-by-side all these years. She shares her family like she shares her God-given gifts, freely and with love and sincerity. We share each other’s joys and sorrows and support one another. We’re family.
Reflecting on the early days, I remember working nights until 7-8 pm, ensuring each patient had all her questions answered, test results, and follow-up care. I learned so much about the world of women’s health over these past 21-years, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! We cared for our patients and cared for each other like a team: God and family.
On May 26, 2022, I retire from my beloved 46-year nursing career. Honestly, the Couri Center has been spoiled with the best patients in Greater Central Illinois, and it has been my sincere privilege to care for each and every one of you!
Retirement does not seem real yet, and I’m not making any big plans. My only retirement plan is to UNPLUG THE ALARM CLOCK and spend a lot of time at the pool with my husband and eight grandkids! The rest is up to God.
-Theresa Bowles, Retired RN