Browse Category: Wellness

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Join PCRMC in Celebrating National Nurses Week

Nurses at Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) and around the country are being honored this week, as the American Nurses Association (ANA) celebrates National Nurses Week.

The theme for this year’s National Nurses Week is “Nurses Inspire, Innovate, Influence.” Nurses are advocates who help move healthcare forward.

During National Nurses Week, PCRMC leaders and staff would like to extend a special thanks to nurses, who provide the highest level of quality care in multiple specialty areas to patients of all ages. Nurses are valuable assets to the communities they serve.

“We appreciate our nurses every day, but National Nurses Week is a great opportunity to take the time to celebrate everything that nurses do,” says PCRMC Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer Keri Brookshire-Heavin.

Nurses make up the highest number of hospital employees across Missouri, Brookshire-Heavin notes. “We couldn’t offer compassionate care without nurses,” she says. “Whether it is helping deliver a baby or holding the hand of a patient, nurses are hard-working and dedicated in their jobs every day.”

PCRMC Administrative Director of Patient Care Services Cindy Butler says nurses are often the first contact for patients in healthcare settings. “They are usually the most memorable people, too,” Butler says. “Patients remember how nurses made them feel better and how they cared for them.”

While being a nurse can be demanding at times, the interactions nurses have with their patients and peers make their jobs extremely rewarding.

PCRMC nurses deserve special recognition for their efforts in delivering exceptional care while also having an unfailing commitment to saving lives. In addition, they are dedicated to improving the health of countless patients. At PCRMC, nurses sacrifice numerous hours of their time to consistently deliver outstanding, personalized and patient-centered care.

National Nurses Week is observed each year beginning on May 6 and ending on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Nightingale was known as the founder of modern nursing. During the Crimean War, she tended to soldiers and was called “The Lady with the Lamp” since she made her rounds at night.

Jullie Barrett

Jullie’s Story: Understanding Diabetes Better with PCRMC Diabetes Nurse Educators

About two to three years ago, Jullie Barrett, who lives in Rolla and was raised in Waynesville, visited her doctor, who believed Barrett’s blood sugar was too high based on her symptoms.

Barrett was given an A1C test, a common blood test used to diagnose diabetes, and the results showed her average blood sugar level over three months was about 10 percent (approximately 250 mg/dL). A normal hemoglobin A1C level is below 5.7 percent (less than 115 mg/dL).

Because her A1C level was so high, her doctor thought Barrett had possibly had diabetes since she was a child.

Barrett has type 2 diabetes, the most common form of this chronic illness. Also called hyperglycemia, type 2 diabetes occurs when a person’s body does not properly use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes does not allow the body to use sugar effectively for energy.

“When I found out I was diabetic, it was shocking,” she says. “I thought, ‘This can’t be.’” Barrett has a family history of diabetes. Her mother has the disease as did one of her grandmothers.

Unlike a broken arm or difficulty breathing, diabetes symptoms are not always obvious. Barrett says she had numbness in her legs and damage to the retina of her eyes, both believed to be the long-term result of diabetes.

After being diagnosed, Barrett initially was referred to a dietitian. “I thought I had a handle on how to eat,” Barrett recalls. However, no matter what she tried, she could not lower her blood sugar levels.

Barrett’s physician eventually placed her on insulin and referred her to the Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Diabetes Outpatient Clinic, where she met with Pati Cox, MEd, BSN, RN, a diabetic nurse educator.

“It was really eye-opening,” Barrett says of meeting with Cox and taking part in the Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support services at PCRMC. “I learned so much, and it really helped me understand things like what happens when I eat certain foods and how I should be eating.”

When she first started going to classes at the PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic, Barrett did not know what to expect. “However, I got the feeling from the diabetes nurse educators that they really cared about me and put me at ease,” she says.

Barrett has completed the 10-hour program, which is divided into four classes, each focusing on different areas of diabetes, such as creating healthy meal plans, managing blood sugar levels and using a glucose meter, among other topics.

Because of her nerve damage, Barrett cannot walk much, but she enjoys swimming and riding bikes. Six months before taking classes at the PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic, she bought a new bicycle. “I ride it a lot more often now that I’m feeling better,” Barrett says, adding that she has more energy. Barrett can ride 25 miles or longer on a weekend day.

Additionally, she has made changes to her meals. “Before, I was not eating as well as I should have been. Now, my breakfast meals are about 75-80 percent vegetables,” she says. She also reports that she has lost over 50 pounds on her journey, which has aided in lowering her blood sugars.

Barrett began taking insulin around April of 2017, and while she still uses insulin, she has reduced the amount she uses due to her ability to better manage her diabetes with healthy eating, exercise and recognizing complications that call for immediate attention from her primary care provider.

Barrett continues to follow up with her physician and the PCRMC diabetes nurse educators. “I would definitely recommend the PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic. I wish I would have paid attention to my doctor sooner,” she says.

For more information about Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support services at PCRMC, talk to your primary care provider or call 573-458-7314.

Miriam Stricklan (l) Barbie Fulton (r)

PCRMC Dent Medical Clinic Offers Patient-Centered Care

Family Nurse Practitioners Barbie Fulton and Miriam Stricklan both grew up in south-central Missouri, so the chance to help care for the communities where they were raised really appealed to them when choosing to work for Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC).

Fulton and Stricklan, along with their collaborator, family medicine physician Kimberly Bohlmann, MD, currently see patients at the PCRMC Dent Medical Clinic in Salem. They specialize in family practice.

Fulton, who was born and raised in Salem, has been a nurse since 1994. In 2005, she earned her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the University of Missouri-Columbia to become a nurse practitioner. Fulton initially worked in the PCRMC Pain Clinic but has been helping patients in Salem and surrounding communities at the PCRMC Dent Medical Clinic for the last three years.

Stricklan, who grew up in Rolla and now lives in Salem, has been employed as a nurse since 2004. She worked in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and has been a shift manager at PCRMC. She earned her nurse practitioner degree by completing the MSN program in 2017 at Frontier Nursing University in Kentucky.

Stricklan started out seeing patients in PCRMC’s Rural Health Clinic before moving to Salem and joining the PCRMC Dent Medical Clinic. “I’ve worked for PCRMC for most of my career, so choosing to practice here was a no-brainer. I didn’t want to go anywhere else,” Stricklan says.

For Fulton, the transition from nurse to family nurse practitioner allows her to provide a full spectrum of care to the community. “I can treat patients more completely,” Fulton says.

When Stricklan came to Salem, she said one of her goals was to help patients establish care with a primary care provider.

“In the ICU, I saw people who were very sick, and I wanted to keep people from getting to that stage. I want to keep people healthy, so our primary focus is preventive care,” Stricklan says.

Both Fulton and Stricklan say what they enjoy most about their jobs is serving their community.

“It’s kind of like caring for your close friends and family,” Fulton says.

“It’s very rewarding to see how even the smallest of changes can make a big difference in our patients’ lives,” Stricklan says.

Fulton says she tries to get to know her patients, beyond just their medical issues. “I want to help them improve their quality of life,” she says.

Stricklan and Fulton take the time to listen to their patients and pay attention to their concerns. Both take a holistic approach to patients’ health issues.

Because the Dent Medical Clinic is part of the PCRMC network, patients have access to a variety of primary and specialty care services, including cancer care as well as care for the digestive, respiratory and nervous systems. PCRMC serves a six-county area, including Phelps, Dent, Texas, Pulaski, Maries and Crawford counties, so patients can receive care close to home.

Walk-in and same-day appointments are available at the PCRMC Dent Medical Clinic. In addition to family medicine, the clinic offers well-women exams, well-child exams, general wellness physicals, sports physicals and annual exams.

The PCRMC Dent Medical Clinic, located at 1010 Scenic Rivers Blvd., is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 573-729-5533 or visit pcrmc.com.

butterfly

4th Annual Hospice Butterfly Release Celebration Planned for May 19

Phelps Regional Homecare, a division of Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC), will host its 4th Annual Hospice Butterfly Release Celebration on Saturday, May 19, 2018, from 2:00-4:00 PM at Huffman’s Flowers of the Field, located at 18148 County Road 1000 in St. James, MO.

“This event offers the chance to remember our cherished family and friends,” says Tara Peters, marketing coordinator for Phelps Regional Homecare. Releasing butterflies is a unique way to pay tribute to loved ones because butterflies symbolize hope, new life and transformation.

“The Hospice Butterfly Release Celebration honors the memory of those we love and serves as a celebration of life,” Peters says.

For $30, participants can release a live butterfly and receive a T-shirt. The deadline to reserve a butterfly is Friday, May 4, 2018. Businesses and organizations also can sponsor the event.

In addition to releasing live butterflies, the afternoon will include beverages and light snacks for attendees.

Proceeds from the butterfly release help relieve the financial burden for those in need when facing end-of-life decisions. This event benefits the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation’s Hospice Fund, which assists hospice patients and their families with prescription medications, personal bills, food supplements and other needs.

An extensive team of professionals and volunteers with Phelps Regional Homecare deliver hospice care to patients in this region. Hospice care staff responds to people’s needs for comfort, empowerment and self-directed care while supporting the patients’ families both during patients’ illnesses and after death. The goal of hospice care is to maintain the highest quality of life and dignity to the greatest extent possible for patients.

In addition to hospice, Phelps Regional Homecare offers home health and in-home services. Phelps Regional Homecare serves all of Phelps, Crawford, Maries and Pulaski counties and portions of Dent, Gasconade and Texas counties.

For more information about the butterfly release, to reserve a butterfly or sponsor the event, call 573-458-3802 or email tpeters@pcrmc.com. To donate to the Hospice Fund, visit giving.pcrmc.com.

Jessica Fisher

PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic Helps Individuals Manage Their Diabetes

People who have been diagnosed with diabetes often feel overwhelmed or powerless at times. They do not know where to get the knowledge and skills needed to help manage their chronic illness.

Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) services offered at Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) help ease learning and empower individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

“We teach participants how to manage their diabetes and not let diabetes overwhelm or control them,” says Jessica Fisher, RN, diabetic nurse educator at PCRMC.

Unlike some other diseases, medicine alone cannot be used to treat diabetes. Nutrition, exercise, monitoring blood sugar levels and support are ways that DSMES help participants better manage their diabetes and develop healthy lifestyle changes. “Our service complements treatments by providing resources to aid in successful management of diabetes,” Fisher says.

Understanding the causes and symptoms of diabetes increases people’s awareness of the disease. The information and support provided by PCRMC’s diabetes nurse educators encourages participants to determine what lifestyle changes they need to make in order to improve their health and well-being.

PCRMC’s Diabetes Outpatient Clinic provides both group and individual sessions and is designed to meet the participants’ needs. This service is not about doing everything for the participants but rather providing the tools necessary to actively engage and motivate healthy behavioral changes.

Once a primary care provider referral is received, an appointment is made and participants meet with diabetes nurse educators to learn about the services provided by DSMES, identify barriers impacting their disease and identify the goals for diabetes education they want to accomplish.

One option available is a 10-hour diabetes education curriculum divided into four classes, each focusing on a different aspect of diabetes self-management such as basic diabetes information, nutrition and meal planning, monitoring blood sugar and recognizing patterns, sick-day management, short- and long-term complications, screenings and current medications involved in the treatment of diabetes.

Establishing realistic goals while participating in DSMES is key to the successful management of diabetes. Diabetes nurse educators help participants create achievable goals and then evaluate the impact their goals have on their life with diabetes.

Additional services available for DSMES are meter teaching, insulin administration and management, survival skills to manage low blood sugar, glucagon administration and management, and medical nutritional therapy. PCRMC diabetes nurse educators can help with whatever individuals need to meet their challenges.

While participants may have met their goals, care does not stop there. PCRMC diabetes nurse educators continue to follow up with patients at three months, six months and annually. “We care for these individuals just as they were our own family members,” Fisher says.

PCRMC offers a free diabetes support group for diabetes patients, their family members, caregivers and anyone interested in finding out more about diabetes. The support group meets the first Saturday of the month, except for January, July and September, from 10 a.m. to noon in PCRMC Private Dining Room 2.

The PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic offers services in Rolla and Waynesville. For more information, call 573-458-7314. Services provided at the PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic require a referral from a primary care provider, internal or family care provider.