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Celebrating 45 Years of Growth and Service: Donna Boonstra

After taking classes on medical terminology and typing in high school, Donna Boonstra began her career in health care as a medical transcriptionist at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital, then just called Palos Hospital as it hadn’t joined our health system yet, in 1978. Before long, she advanced to assistant supervisor and then supervisor.

When Boonstra started in medical transcription, medical records required different technology.

“I used an electric typewriter, and we used carbon paper so we had copies of the paperwork,” she says. “I would have to type everything, and if I made a mistake, I would have to go back and use correction fluid to fix it.”

Over the years, she enjoyed the unique perspective of her role. Even though there was no patient contact, she still kept in touch with patients in a way, she explains. She helped ensure the integrity of their medical records, which was imperative.

To better support her work and challenge herself, Boonstra pursued a bachelor’s degree and went on to earn a master’s degree.

“I feel so fortunate that Palos Hospital and Northwestern Medicine have tuition reimbursement programs,” she says.

In 2017, Boonstra became a Health Information Management scanning coordinator and then, in 2021, an administrative coordinator in Operations for Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group.

Boonstra says she appreciates the colleagues she has worked with for the near half-century she has been in health care. When her sister passed away from cancer a couple of years ago, those relationships helped her cope, she explains.

“Through the years, I have been fortunate to work with many people who have made an impact on my life,” Boostra says. “A lot of time is spent together here at Northwestern Medicine with respect and support for one another.”