Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic volunteers huddle—with social distance—prior to opening.
▲ Erica Kludt-Painter, superintendent for Petersburg schools, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from Emma Gates, UAA nursing student.
▲ Mark Severson receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Emma Gates, UAA nursing student.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: The COVID-19 vaccine clinic was set up in the Petersburg Community Gym. Chairs were carefully set at least six feet apart.
PMC increases testing to help keep community safe
ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING: PMC has increased asymptomatic testing at the Petersburg School District, with routine testing scheduled every two weeks. We have offered the same to Petersburg assisted living and senior living facilities.

The Joy Janssen Clinic began offering free asymptomatic testing for the Petersburg community on Wednesday, January 20. Free testing for community members will continue throughout February, Mondays through Fridays, at the PMC Respiratory Screening Clinic. Call 907-772-4299 to schedule your appointment!

MASTER PLANNING/NEW FACILITY: To continue progress toward a new facility, PMC has applied for permits to complete environmental studies for sites identified in our master plan. A grant application is still pending with the Denali Commission to fund site selection and the environmental studies. Procuring the permits is important to keeping potential funding sources available. Next steps will include refining space needs within the proposed facility and developing full architectural designs. 

COVID-19 HOTLINE: Think you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms? Please call our COVID-19 hotline number, 907-772-5788, to speak with a medical professional. You’ll be advised as to whether you should come to the screening clinic for testing. 

STAY INFORMED, STAY SAFE: We share frequent COVID-19 updates with the community.
  • Tune in to KFSK every Friday at 12:30pm for COVID-19 information.
  • We provide the latest hospital updates on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/petersburgmedicalcenter/ 
  • Check the COVID-19 Information Hub website, our unified command page with the Borough: https://www.psgcovidinfo.net/
  • Check our website for updates as well: https://www.pmcak.org/

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
All aboard! LTC's new bus is ready to roll!
Petersburg Medical Center purchased a new Long Term Care bus in November 2020, replacing a vehicle that was purchased in 2000. After two decades of service, that vehicle has been parked and has been transformed into a COVID-safe space for LTC residents to visit with their families. Plexiglass was installed to keep both sides safe and allow for social distancing.

The new LTC bus is smaller than the old one so that it can pull into the PMC emergency room covered bay. This will allow residents to stay dry while loading and unloading from the bus. Seats are no longer cloth, which makes for easy wipe-down.
▲ The community van purchased in 2000 has been converted into a COVID-safe space for LTC residents to meet with visitors. Big windows on the new LTC bus will give residents great views of the beautiful scenery around Petersburg.
▲ Major Mark Jensen receiving his COVID-19 vaccine from Lauren Thain, UAA nursing student.
PMC hosts COVID-19 vaccination clinic
On Thursday, January 14, Petersburg Medical Center offered its first community COVID-19 vaccine clinic. The group of people eligible to receive the vaccine were those over age 65. Over 300 people were vaccinated at the clinic and will receive a second dose in February. Since then, PMC has done 12 small and large vaccine clinics, including the latest clinic on February 6. Over 450 community members were vaccinated at the most recent clinic. This brings the total vaccinated with at least their first dose to 1,113.
No matter your age or occupation, if you are interested in getting vaccinated it is important to get on the waitlist now. Please sign up pmcak.org or call 772-5545.
PMC staff will call those on the waitlist to schedule appointments as more vaccines arrive.
Long-time PMC nurse saved by medicine, now caring for others
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 5, Mamie Nilsen has been intimately involved in the healthcare system all her life.

So when the Petersburg Medical Center nurse was asked in January if she’d like to be the first PMC employee to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, she didn’t hesitate.

“I would not be alive if it weren't for medicine,” Mamie said. “When Jennifer asked me if I was planning on getting the COVID vaccine, my answer was, ‘Heck yes!’”

Mamie and her brother and sister all grew up with type 1 diabetes, bringing their Petersburg family into frequent contact with many caring nurses and doctors over the years. These experiences inspired Mamie to pursue a healthcare career. After graduating from the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Nursing in 2006, Mamie returned home to a job at PMC as a nurse in the LTC, acute care and emergency departments.

Mamie had met her future husband, Mikey, in a high school marketing class at age 16. You could say it was love at first sight; the couple will celebrate 21 years together in February and 12 years married in May.

In October 2013, Mamie and Mikey found out they were pregnant with a son. Mamie unexpectedly went into labor at just 33 weeks pregnant and was medevaced out of Petersburg on April 6, 2014. She was taken to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, where she had been seeing an obstetrician for years while trying to get pregnant and managing her blood sugar levels. Her contractions stopped a couple days after she got to Seattle and she hoped to be discharged. But at 11pm on April 9, her water broke.

After four and half hours of pushing, James was born at 1:19pm on April 10. But there were complications. Mamie had post-delivery bleeding and was taken into surgery. James, born with a grade 4 brain bleed, spent the next seven weeks in intensive care. Doctors said James would likely develop cerebral palsy. But Mamie and Mikey followed through with the many daily exercises they were given to help their baby’s brain re-wire itself. James, turning 7 this year, is a thriving little boy!

Over the past 15 years, Mamie has taken on many different jobs and roles at PMC. She started as a floor nurse, and later moved into managing PMC’s Long Term Care Center. She has been a nursing staff representative on the Employee Voice Committee. After having her baby and taking some time off she decided to come back to PMC as a floor nurse and step down from management.

Mamie’s schedule includes regular shifts at LTC. She starts those 12-hour shifts by arriving early so she can complete PMC’s COVID screening process and get settled before the 6am shift change. After getting updates about LTC residents from the clocking-out nurses and nurse aides, she moves right into distributing medications and testing blood sugars before breakfast. Three days a week she then attends an LTC meeting via Zoom with the managers and PMC CEO Phil Hofstetter.

Between resident meals there are dressings to change, doctors to call, consultations with the pharmacist, walks with residents, assessments to update, drugs to reorder, lab draws to coordinate, and the med cart to restock. She makes sure to update resident charts, noting anything out of the ordinary as the day goes on.

“Communication is so important because it’s shift work and many different people are caring for the residents,” Mamie explained. “Making sure that new information is in the right places, so everyone is aware, is so important.”

The end of Mamie’s shift can be a scramble as she distributes dinner-time medications, helps pass out dinner trays, finishes her chart notes, and reports to the incoming night shift staff. 

Then it’s time to head home. Mamie enjoys the walk, getting some fresh air and clearing her head from that day. At home, she is greeted by a happy puppy, Jasper.

And the smell of dinner.

“I am super lucky to have a delicious meal made by my husband Mikey or my parents when I get home!”
▲ Mikey, Mamie and their son James.
▲ Co-workers Ruby Shumway, RN, and Mamie on a hike.
▲ Mamie and her parents, Dan and Debbie McMahon.
▲ Mamie (left) fishing with her dad, Dan McMahon, and sister, Ruby Shumway.
▲ Sisters on the job: registered nurses Ruby Shumway and Mamie Nilsen
▲ The PMC Respiratory Clinic operated in a tent this summer. The clinic has now moved into the visiting physicians building next to the PMC business office parking lot.
▲ Get your FREE asymptomatic test today!
Respiratory Screening Clinic offers COVID testing for community
With the arrival of COVID-19, Petersburg Medical Center opened a Respiratory Screening Clinic to test community members for the virus. The clinic is staffed by technician Robert Akins, a PMC medical assistant.

Starting in March 2020, PMC offered COVID-19 drive-through testing in a tent in the business office parking lot. PMC nurses and medical assistants staffed the tent, adding COVID testing to their regular duties.

As the pandemic wore on, PMC saw the need to create a new, full-time COVID screening position to relieve most regular staff of this extra work.

The operation moved indoors in November, as temperatures dropped and Icicle Seafoods needed to reclaim the tent they had loaned. The screening clinic is now inside the visiting physician's office adjacent to the parking lot where the tent stood. Testing is done either through the patient’s car window or inside the clinic.
The technician’s job includes:
  • Registering patients and scheduling testing appointments;
  • Administering COVID testing through nasal swab or observation of patient self-collected nasal swab;
  • Collecting and preparing specimens and accurate documentation;
  • Educating patients about the COVID testing process;
  • Taking and recording patient vital signs;
  • Restocking supplies and managing inventory for the screening clinic;
  • Observing safe practices in the work area, using personal protective equipment when needed.

Some PMC nurses and medical assistants continue to rotate in to help staff the clinic, including Angela Bertagnoli, assistant clinic manager; Kelly Bieber and Priscilla Chim, certified nurse aides; and Tony Vinson and Steven Akins, medical assistants. Ethan Bryner and Kaia Kravitz have been hired on an emergency basis and are in training to help staff the clinic.
Old Petersburg films spark memories and conversation at LTC
Happy 2021! Petersburg Medical Center Long Term Care residents celebrated the arrival of the New Year at noon on December 31. The kitchen supplied snacks including oysters, chips and dip, crackers, and sparkling cider, while residents watched video clips of live music sent by local musicians Alec and Nicole McMurren.
This month there were three birthday boys in LTC. They had fun opening gifts and cards from loved ones, and each got homemade cake or pie of their choice to share with all on his special day.
Residents had their first adventures in the new LTC bus in January. Clear, cold, sunny weather was perfect for getting out to see familiar places and wave to friendly faces.
Indoors, residents enjoyed monitoring progress of a new construction project across the street. They stayed active with daily balloon tosses, workouts on the NuStep trainer, brain games, Zoom and phone visits with loved ones, in-person visits with loved ones in the renovated former LTC van, and games with staff. The Ba’hai Faith Community donated flowers and greenery that residents used to create arrangements for their rooms. The women of LTC enjoyed picking out fun new nail polish colors from a donated collection, and getting manicures from staff. 

A new discovery was a YouTube channel with videos shot in Petersburg during the 1930s and '40s, originally on 8mm film. Residents and staff alike enjoyed watching and discussing these silent, fascinating slices of local life, and reminiscing together about the past. 
Tasty treats in January included pickled black cod, spare ribs, almond puff, chicken adobo, and RN Mamie Nilsen’s decadent chocolate cake for National Chocolate Cake Day!
▲ Ray Dugaqua enjoys a snack in his room.
▲ Ray Olsen, LTC resident, and Noelle McPherson, Activities assistant, arrange roses.
▲ LTC resident Ray Dugaqua's birthday cake.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | pmcweb@pmc-health.org