Jill Moon has spent the last 50 years helping South Florida Baptist Hospital become a shining institution in the Plant City community.
Part of the appeal of living in Plant City is the fact the entire community seems dedicated to preserving the city’s charm while encouraging responsible growth.
Everywhere you go, you run into people you know. When you call businesses in town, you already know who’s going to pick up on the other end of the line.
Jill Moon celebrated 50 years at South Florida Baptist Hospital on June 9 and has helped form the foundation of empathy and excellence the hospital prides itself on offering for the community it holds so dear.
Moon currently works in Medical Staff Services at SFBH and said she never dreamed she would have built a career in the medical industry.
“It began for me in high school,” Moon said. “I took clerical, business English and business machines, way back in 1969 it was machines, not computers, and I took the business class, the business route because I didn’t know whether or not I was going to go to college. For work weeks, we had one week out of the business training that we got to work somewhere at a business in town, I got picked for South Florida Baptist. I loved it so much, the people and everything, so that started it off for me and I put in my application after I graduated.”
In 1969, the height of fashion was found in the long eyelashes and big eyes of London-based model Twiggy. Whether it was miniskirts, shift dresses, ribbed sweaters or leather boots, the 60s and 70s were filled with her trend-setting looks. The Beatles dropped another worldwide hit with “Get Back” and Woodstock was about to change the way the U.S. participated in music festivals.
Gas cost $0.35 a gallon, man was about to set foot on the moon for the first time and “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” on NBC was the nation’s top rated television program.
It was a changing world and in Plant City, that change was starting to quickly take hold. In her 50 years at SFBH, Moon said she feels like they went from “horse and buggy days to the space age” thanks to the creation and rapid evolvement of computers. It changed the medical industry for good and she said it’s pretty amazing to reflect on all the ways they’ve been able to improve their services with the new technology. While working in the hospital, she’s also seen it add a surgical center, emergency department and intensive care unit, a new wing and it’s become a part of BayCare Health System.
“Facility wise, of course, it’s completely changed as well,” Moon said. “The entrance to the hospital is completely different, we’ve added an entire wing, the whole east wing. I’ve seen us go from a tiny little emergency room to a beautiful facility we have now. I have worked all over the hospital. Physically my office has been just about all over because of construction. I’ve come full circle because almost the first office I had, I’m back in today. I’ve had many offices since then, but because of changing construction I’m back to where I was. It’s really, really funny to me that that’s happened.”
She joked that just last week she had a friend call the hospital and on a whim asked if they could transfer her to Moon so she could get her help with something. When the phone rang and Moon picked up, her friend laughed and said, “I was wondering if you were still here and then they put me right though.”
Moon said at first she was shocked at how much she truly loved the work. She assumed she wold be here a few years before moving on to something else. She wasn’t expecting to find her home at SFBH. While she’s always been in a clerical position, her specific job has changed several times over the years and she said she’s enjoyed the diversity of the positions and the challenge of learning something new.
She’s been a charge clerk, accounting clerk, accounts payable clerk, admitting clerk, secretary to the assistant administrator, executive assistant to the chief financial officer and is currently the medical staff coordinator.
She was born in Lakeland and raised in Plant City. A graduate of Plant City High School, she said she has enjoyed getting to watch so many of her friends and coworkers grow up and raise children of their own. Some of her favorite memories over the years have been watching her team members raise families and seeing their children now coming through SFBH to start families of their own.
“I remember some of the times, when my own child was small that the team member activity committee, even back then they have always been so amazing,” Moon said. “They throw high-quality Christmas parties and Halloween festivities for the children. Just watching the children, I wish I had grandchildren. If I did, I’d bring them to the activities. The kids remember. My daughter still remembers having fun here at the hospital with the things the team member activity committee always came up with for them to do. Those are sweet memories.”
She said SFBH is a family and the longer you stay, the more you fall in love with the atmosphere held within its walls. She’s been a patient at the facility twice and said she was able to see firsthand the level of impeccable care offered by the staff. In her mind, every business is about its product and SFBH’s product is simply caring for people. She hopes everyone who comes through its doors walk away feeling as if they’ve become a part of the family as well.
“I would like to work a few more years. I don’t feel my age,” Moon said. “I feel good and I enjoy working, so I think I’d like to put in a few more years. We’ll just see. The good Lord gives me health to do it. I feel like I still make a difference so I definitely want to work a few more years.”