Posted by: calloftheandes | May 7, 2012

Joy, Vision, Care of Patients, Staff Marked Missionary Nurse’s Career

by R. Kurtenbach
Perhaps Margaret Corin’s words seemed altogether too blunt: “I’m going to be praying for you. I don’t want to see my secretary go to hell.” But the Hospital Vozandes-Quito (HVQ) secretary, Mélida Logacho, saw tears welling up in Corin’s eyes, demonstrating her genuine concern. And Logacho herself had sought out Corin when truths learned in Bible study had unsettled her.

Logacho now considers the intimate conversation a turning point in her life. Speaking some 30 years later at the Ecuador-based hospital’s anniversary observance, Logacho told her listeners that she received Jesus Christ as Savior. She described salvation as representing to her “a precious gift for my children and for my husband. We’re all Christians now.”

Archive photo from the 1978 Prayer Album, published by WRMF, Inc.

Born Jan. 31, 1945, in New Zealand, Margaret Lois Corin put her nurse’s training to use for God by joining the agency, Christian Missions to Many Lands, which in 1974 loaned her to HCJB Global. Working at HVQ, she went on to become the facility’s director of nursing.

“Margaret Corin was a typical matron (supervisor) and demanded high standards of care from her staff,” said Sheila Leech, HCJB Global’s vice president of international healthcare. “She led by example. She was famous for making spot checks on her staff at 2 or 3 a.m. to ensure that nurses were not sleeping at their posts!”

“She taught her staff the importance of spiritual care of the patient,” Leech continued. “She pioneered the concept of ‘total care of the patient’ by nurses. This was a new concept in Ecuador and became the gold standard of care for nursing throughout Quito.”

“We worked together for many years in nursing,” added Nancy Larson Olen, Corin’s predecessor as director of nursing. “Her expertise was in obstetrics and nursing leadership. She was very committed to excellence in everything she did. We shared a home together for two years.”

Formerly the director of the Healthcare Division and fellow missionary, Roger Reimer, called Corin’s leadership “a blend of high commitment and heartfelt compassion for her nursing colleagues.”
The hospital’s former administrator, Gary Gardeen, observed Corin’s pursuit of developing national nursing leadership. “When Margaret left Ecuador she had prepared the way for Marianna Ruiz to take over the position of director of nursing, the first Ecuadorian staff member to do so,” he said.

Corin worked with Gardeen’s wife, Mary, to initiate a new service in Quito. “Margaret was an avid learner, continually bringing new ideas for nursing and patient care to the hospital,” Mary recalled. “She emphasized and personally facilitated strong spiritual care. It was Margaret who challenged me (with Betty Van Engen) to begin home healthcare at HVQ. Her vision and encouragement made a big impact on my life as a young missionary.”

During the 1970s Corin helped to launch a Christian nursing organization in Ecuador, Movimiento Ecuatoriano de Enfermeras Cristianas (MEDEC), which translates as Ecuadorian Movement of Christian Nurses, and made involvement in the group a requirement for HVQ leadership, according to MEDEC representative Faviola Hidalgo.

Margaret Corin

“She was not only a close personal friend, but also an inspiration to me as a young missionary,” said Leech. “And she was the one who encouraged me to go back to school to become a registered nurse.”
Still serving in Quito in the mid 1980s, Corin was loaned to another organization, the London-based Nurses’ Christian Fellowship International, and served as the representative in Latin America for Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI), known regionally as Comunidad Internacional de Enfermeras Cristianas de América Latina (CIDEC-AL).

Corin resigned from HCJB Global in 1991. Seventeen years later in 2008 she returned to Quito as a guest speaker at the First International Nurse’s Conference. She noted afterwards how rewarding it was to “see how God had worked in the lives of so many people through either being on staff at the hospital or having been influenced by the hospital.”

Speaking on global issues surrounding gerontology, Corin, a mentor of many nurses, attributed her own learning to Ecuadorian colleagues. “I was well aware of how much I had learned all those years ago from the Ecuadorians about caring for the extended family,” she said at the conference.

The MEDEC group was reignited at the urging of two nurses (Grace Morgan and Carmen Zambrano) from Colombia who also attended the conference. “After a good time of prayer and feeling within our hearts this same desire, six of us began a new group,” said Hidalgo. “In July 2009 we held our first meeting, led by [nurse] Betty Van Engen. With God’s help, we’ve been meeting since then.”

Margaret Corin teaching in Samoa

Corin died unexpectedly in her home on Wednesday, April 25, in Auckland, New Zealand at the age of 67. She is survived by a twin sister, Dr. Dorothy Howie, and other immediate family members, Frank and Sylvia, Clive (Rutherford- Corin), Russell and Christine, Jill and Doug (Shortt) as well as nieces and nephews. A memorial service in Auckland on Thursday, May 3, honored her life.

“In CIDEC-AL we give thanks to the Lord for having met Margarita Corin, for her exemplary life, her love and service in NCFI with other nurses from Latin America,” said Alicia Angélica Yañez. “Now she rests in the arms of the Father.”

“I think Margaret could do anything she was asked to do. She was a happy worker and a wonderful nurse,” reminisced Ron Cline, global ambassador for the mission. “The world needs more people like her.”

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