As the morning alarm clock sounds, Norma Tom wakes up with a smile and a vision of a successful day, a routine that has been repeated since April of 1963. Influenced by her mother, who was a CNA and her sister, an RN at the time, Norma seems to have been destined to work in the health care field.
At the age of 19, she was told about an opening with Holy Rosary Hospital in the business office, which she applied for and was soon offered. Only her second job since graduating high school, she started her career at the switch board, but quickly progressed into other key jobs within the changing administration office.
Norma recalls her time on the switchboard as being much different than the communication systems which are common today. She had to be particularly careful in adjusting the cords that were necessary to connect two callers, as one wrong move could end someone else’s call. “There was no such thing as voice mail, so we took messages. You may have seen something similar in the 60's movies,” Norma said.
At the time of her hiring in 1963, Holy Rosary was managed by the Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen, South Dakota. Norma believes the Sisters were the catalysts in her development of a strong work ethic and dedication towards helping others. She immediately applied these characteristics towards her growth into a well-respected finance and payroll professional.
During her earlier years with Holy Rosary, computers were not used at the time, so she learned her trade first on the posting machine, a device that sent out statements. She has adapted well, through 56 years, to the rise in technology used in the finance field and enjoys learning more efficient ways to complete tasks. “I consider myself a detective because I like diving in,” Norma expressed.
In 2006, SCL Health centralized accounts payable and payroll, which helped her establish relationships with fellow payroll associates within the health system. Her transition into the accounting department, though, started in 1986 and has continued to today, where her current title is Accounting Tech. Norma values being a part of a strong team and the relationships she’s developed with her colleagues at both Holy Rosary and SCL Health.
Holy Rosary and the Miles City community hold a special place in Norma’s heart.
“Not only is Holy Rosary a wonderful place to work, but Miles City is a lovely place to live,” she said. “Plus, the community is very supportive of Holy Rosary and the Foundation. It’s nice to be part of an organization and community that are intertwined and value each other.”
Norma encompasses a sense of ambition, which is very obvious in the way she carries herself as a professional. This particular drive has never left her since her first year, which seems to be the key factor in her impact on Holy Rosary.
“This has been my life for 56 years and I’m hoping to continue for a few more,” she said with a smile.