is employee of the month
Kevin Conger, St. Mary’s Hospital Dietary Manager was chosen as the January Employee of the Month. She joined the SMH staff in June of 2008. Conger is a Registered Dietetic Technician who received her training at Front Range Community College in Denver.
“I was cooking in a hospital when I was 16 years old; I enjoyed it and I wanted to learn more about nutrition so I went to school to be a dietetic technician,” said Conger. “The favorite part of my job is working with patients. They are all different and I enjoy meeting them all.”
Some of Kevin’s many responsibilities include patient nutrition consultations, supervising employees, budgeting, planning meals, food inventory, purchasing and the safe preparation of food for patients and staff.
According to her co-workers; “Kevin demonstrates SMH’s core values in her daily work activities. She is friendly and courteous and works well with others. She ‘walks her talk’ with her strong commitment to wellness and supports others in their efforts to adopt healthy lifestyles. She often works extra shifts and is dedicated to her department and staff.”
Kevin along with Vicki Berg, RN and Certified Diabetes Educator are working on their third year of the Healthy Horizons series. The hour long sessions are held every other week from 5:30 to 6:30 on Tuesdays in the Cottonwood Medical Clinic and on Thursdays in the Kamiah Medical Clinic. She and Berg will talk about nutrition topics including portion control, making positive behavioral changes, weight management, carbohydrate counting, calorie counting and the plate method of making healthy choices. Each session will begin with a confidential weigh-in so participants can celebrate successes. The next sessions will be January 22nd at the Kamiah Clinic and January 24th at the Cottonwood Clinic.
When not working, Kevin enjoys cooking at home, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tennis and crafts.
Kevin and her husband, George live outside of Kooskia; George is a teacher at Clearwater Valley Elementary School. They have three sons who live in Colorado, Nevada and Arizona.
This is Kevin’s second time being chosen as an Employee of the Month for SMH, the first time was in September of 2010. “So far Kevin is the only employee who has received this honor twice,” commented Cheri Holthaus, Community Relations Coordinator. “This just proves how much her co-workers value and respect her; she truly is an example of a dedicated employee.”
SMH Cardiac Rehab program
The St. Mary’s Hospital Cardiac Rehab program is an opportunity available to people with heart disease. This program is available to anyone with heart concerns whether it is a coronary artery bypass, stent placement, valve repair or replacement, stable angina or myocardial infarction (heart attack).
The SMH physicians and cardiac rehab staff work closely with cardiologists from Hearth Clinics Northwest and Spokane Cardiology. The department receives referrals from the SMH providers and other area physicians as well as from Sacred Heart and Deaconess Hospitals in Spokane.
In addition to providing the active monitored programming, the staff also supervises the patients during the maintenance phase of the program. Other services provided by the program include; exercise treadmill testing, and the application of King of Hearts and Holter monitors.
Educational topics offered during the program include; nutritional guidance on heart healthy eating, portion control and label reading to help with choosing healthy food.
Medications, blood sugars, blood pressures, oxygen levels, heart rates and rhythms are also closely monitored.
The staff includes; Jared Pikus, DO as the medical director, Mary Watson, RN as the Cardiac Rehab Coordinator, Shelly Lothspeich, RN, Jana Frei, RN, Karla Enneking Cardiac Rehab technician EMT and Faunda Butler Respiratory Therapist who also helps with the King of heart and Holter monitors.
“We are very involved in helping people achieve their full potential for wellbeing and following a healthy lifestyle,” comment Watson. “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide this service to the area. Our team uses the tools of knowledge and motivation to fight the progression of cardiovascular disease thru exercise, education and lifestyle changes.”
Be the match
Every year, more than 10,000 patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma for which a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor may be their best or only hope for a cure.
About 70 percent of patients in need of a transplant do not have a matching donor in their family. They depend on the National Marrow Donor Program; Be The Match Registry® to find an unrelated donor or umbilical cord blood unit. This is why St. Mary’s Hospital will be hosting a bone marrow drive on January 22ndfrom 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.in their large conference room.
Ginny Acheson; physical therapy assistant from St. Mary’s Hospital will be coordinating this drive on behalf of her son-in-law Marcus Fowler who has been diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. “Marcus has not had any luck with past treatments,” said Acheson “His last hope is a bone marrow transplant. I am coordinating this drive on his behalf, but there are thousands of people like him who are in need of a marrow transplant and this drive could help any number of them.”
There is no need to pre-register; just show up. The registry process will take approximately 20 minutes; it consists of filling out some forms and having your inner cheek swabbed. Potential donors need to be in general good health, between the ages of 18 and 44 and must be willing to donate to any patient in need.
If you do not meet the guidelines to be a bone marrow donor but would still like to help, the NMDP does accept cash donations to help offset the cost of adding someone to the registry. There is however, no cost to be a bone marrow donor. If you would like to give a cash donation you could do so at the drive on January 22nd or you could do an online donation at:
“The myths about being a bone marrow donor are false,” commented Acheson. “It is not that painful, you are not laid up for weeks and it does not cost the donor any money. Please consider joining the registry; you just might save a life.”
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Ginny Acheson at 208-755-0607 or 924-5917.