Eastern Minnesota

Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center brings CNA training closer to home

It’s lunchtime at Saint Elizabeth’s Health Care Center and today, the staff has a few extra hands to help residents with their meals. Seven students are dispersed throughout the dining room and at St. Ann’s Alzheimer’s Unit to provide feeding assistance. Overseeing their work is Brenda Schanilec, RN, nursing assistant instructor and evaluator with Minnesota State College—Southeast Technical. She is observing their interactions, technical skills and feeding competencies. It’s the final stretch of an 80-hour certified nursing assistant (CNA) training program.

In years past, interested CNA candidates had to travel to Red Wing, Winona or Rochester, Minnesota to obtain their certification. The series of classes typically runs over a 2-week period and is offered several times throughout the year. In an effort to recruit more applicants into the program and grow this pool of vital healthcare workers, Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center began exploring ways to bring this instruction closer to home.

Discussions with Southeast Technical set into motion the formation of a stronger partnership between employer and academia. This led to the establishment of a localized training program. Since 2007, Saint Elizabeth’s and Southeast Technical have hosted 10 series of CNA certification classes, successfully training close to 100 students.

“Offering the training program at Saint Elizabeth’s gives students a chance to see our organization in action,” explains Kristi Peterson, director of Long Term Care Services. “Their experiences with staff and residents provide a unique perspective, and can guide future decisions about where they want to work. Similarly, Saint Elizabeth’s is given a first-hand opportunity to evaluate their technical skills, but even more importantly, observe how students relate with our residents and staff. When we have openings, we use this information to guide our hiring decisions.”

“It’s really a win-win for everyone,” explains Jim Root, vice president of Human Resources for Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center. “We see a cross section of individuals interested in CNA certification. Some are high school students interested in the health care field, while others are launching second careers. In the past, what often held them back from enrolling was the 60-mile roundtrip to and from classes.” According to Root, bringing the training program to Wabasha two or three times a year improves access to education, offers an additional clinical site for training, and raises awareness among students about the career opportunities at Saint Elizabeth’s.

“Since this partnership began, Saint Elizabeth’s has hired 35 CNAs trained right here at Saint Elizabeth’s,” adds Root. “By the time they have completed their certification training, the students have received a jump start on their orientation. They are familiar with many of people on staff and many of the residents. The learning curve isn’t quite so long.”

“Saint Elizabeth’s is very accommodating,” says Schanilec. “The staff provides a wonderful learning laboratory for students to build their competencies. Along with classroom instruction, students practice their clinical skills in the nursing home setting. These hands-on experiences allow students to interact with residents and apply their knowledge in a real and meaningful way.

Many people on staff are willing to serve as mentors and offer guidance and direction. It’s been a very positive experience for everyone. I enjoy teaching and find it extremely rewarding. I believe the partnership with Saint Elizabeth’s is successfully preparing new nursing assistants for the important role they play in improving the quality of life for long-term care residents.”

To learn more about the local CNA training program and the next scheduled series, contact Jim Root, 651.565.5526 or jim.root@ministryhealth.org.

Local woman pursues her dream of becoming a doctor

Ever since she was a little girl, Nicole Manemann of Plainview dreamed of becoming a doctor. The defining moment arrived on the soccer field when Nicole, then a sixth grader, tore her ACL and landed on a hospital X-ray table and later, in surgery.

“Being a patient opened my eyes to the field of health care and medicine,” remembered Manemann. “Everything about it interested me. I like science and I want an occupation that allows me to help others. Blending these interests is the perfect match for me.”

Nicole graduated from Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School in 2007 and earned her Bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Minnesota—Duluth. Now in her first year of medical school, she is one of the first students to participate in a preceptorship as part of a Rural Medical Scholars Program. It is designed to give students a flavor of rural medicine earlier in their medical education, before they select a health care discipline and begin a residency.

Participating in rural clinical experiences across the state provides students with an up-close and personal understanding of how health care works in rural communities. Interactive experiences and job shadowing allows students to grasp a unique perspective of the opportunities and challenges of practicing in small-town Minnesota.

For Nicole, this is her dream come true.

“Family practice in a rural area is a good fit for me,” she added. “I’m comfortable in a small-town environment. Community connections and relationships are more easily made in a smaller community setting. That’s why family medicine is so intriguing to me. I like the idea of being able to develop long-term relationships with my patients. Caring for patients of all ages and throughout their lifespan will be very satisfying. This type of practice offers a well-rounded and global view, compared to a very specialized focus. I think I will like the challenge of a diverse and varied rural practice.”

Since January, Nicole has participated in two clinical experiences within 25 miles of her hometown. Both visits have given her rich and rewarding learning experiences led by physicians, providers and clinicians from Wabasha Clinic, part of Lake City Medical Center—Mayo Health System and Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Wabasha. During these rotations, she has observed rural medicine in action. Clinic visits, inpatient care, surgery, emergency services, physical therapy, behavioral health, nursing home and home health care have exposed her to a wide scope of care that defines the continuum of services offered to community residents.

“We believe it is critically important to offer meaningful experiential learning opportunities for students who have expressed an interest in rural medicine,” explained Jim Root, vice president of human resources at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center. “Typically, they are students who have grown up in a small town and have come to appreciate the lifestyle it offers. Showcasing the broad scope of services, partnerships and advancements that is available in small communities is an important tool for making a lasting impression.”

“These rotations have confirmed my excitement to pursue family medicine,” commented Manemann. “Every staff member I encountered was very professional and willing to offer valuable instruction and mentoring. I like the fact that they develop strong relationships with their patients. By doing so, they are able to provide a holistic approach to caring for their patient’s needs. It’s personal and intimate. That is what is so powerful about rural health care.”

“Wabasha is no different than many other rural communities that are facing serious physician shortages. Many medical students are choosing to practice in urban areas where the demand for specialty services is the greatest. For many different reasons, students are bypassing family practice,” explains Jeremy Solberg, MD, family medicine physician, Wabasha Clinic.

“Partnering with Saint Elizabeth’s and the RPAP program builds an awareness of the value and benefits of a rural practice and lifestyle,” adds Brain Kelly, MD, family medicine physician, Wabasha Clinic. “These rotations enable students, like Nicole, to walk in our shoes. This is the best way to fully appreciate what physicians give and what they receive from a rural practice”

Nicole will graduate from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2014. She hopes to complete a 3-year family practice residency. While her journey continues, Wabasha hopes she will eventually set her sights on a practice close to home.

W-K Students Explore Health Care Careers

Nola Nilsson’s W-K Career Horizons class made their way through Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center this past month to gain a greater understanding about the many careers found within a hospital and long-term care setting.

Jim Root, vice president of human resources at Saint Elizabeth’s, led the information-packed tour of 75 ninth grade students. Stops included radiology, emergency, laboratory, long term care, inpatient, rehabilitation, nutrition services, and the wellness center. Within each department, students learned about job duties, required education, skills/abilities needed, salary potential, and job outlook.

The tour not only shed light on the more obvious clinical careers, but also on those less familiar, behind-the-scenes positions that may strike an interest among students.

“At Saint Elizabeth’s alone we offer 52 different job titles,” Root explains. “We employ staff members with a diverse set of skills and education levels. Students are often unaware of the business side of health care. Computers and information technology, payroll and accounting, carpentry and environmental services, are also important elements of providing high quality health care.”

Annual tours and participation in a career panel discussion at the high school give Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center an opportunity to showcase job opportunities and begin the recruiting process.

“It’s never too early to plant a seed,” he adds. “By exposing students at a young age to health care careers, we are taking steps to recruit a new generation of health care workers.”

Saint Elizabeth’s Rehabilitation Team

Providing some of the best bodywork in the business

When your body won’t move like it is supposed to due to illness or injury, Saint Elizabeth’s rehabilitation team can help you recover faster and more completely.

Skilled physical, occupational and speech therapists:

  • provide inpatient, outpatient and nursing home services
  • assess your needs
  • develop an individualized plan that meets your goals

Consider seeing a physical therapist if you have:

  • Low back / neck pain
  • Muscle pain , joint injuries, surgery
  • Athletic injuries
  • Joint replacements
  • Work injuries
  • Physical limitations
  • Women’s health issues
  • Dizziness / vertigo
  • Neurological disorders
  • Foot pain / orthotic needs

Physical, occupational and speech therapists use treatment techniques and exercises to build a patient’s strength and endurance, relieve pain, enhance range of motion and functionality, and encourage independence.

Some insurances allow direct access to physical therapy without a physician’s referral. Check with your insurance provider.

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