Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ Matt Pawuk, EHR and Technology Systems lead, rolling through town on his unicycle.

▲ Phil Hofstetter, CEO, paddling with his son Joe at the 2020 Paddle Battle.

▲ Sarah Wright, PMC accountant, with one of her 14 chickens.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: Some of the paddlers leaving Papkes at the kick-off of Paddle Battle 2020.
Gardening, paddling, unicycling help staff weather pandemic
EMPLOYEE CHECK-INS: Navigating through these difficult times, I found myself unable to do my usual check-ins with staff. So this month I began making more calls to check in with staff, and we started monthly virtual managers meetings.

Along the way, I ve learned what some staff have been doing for their mental health.

Numerous employees have started gardening, growing potatoes, onions, strawberries, raspberries, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, yellow squash, thyme, arugula, kale, carrots and beets. I too have started gardening. Many employees have taken up running. Kayaking has become a new hobby as well, and a few staff members participated in this year s Paddle Battle. Sarah Wright has started raising chickens. And guess who has taken up unicycling ... Matt Pawuk can be seen riding the loop most evenings.

WELCOME TO NEW STAFF: We are excited to add three new members to the PMC team.

Kayla Luhrs, MD, began working here as a visiting physician when COVID started and now has accepted a position at PMC as our fifth physician.

Tina Pleasants, ANP, signed on to join PMC from Juneau. Tina has many years’ experience, most recently working at Bartlett Regional Hospital. She is a family nurse practitioner with a post-master’s certification in psychiatric mental health and certifications in wound ostomy and continence nursing.

Violet Shimek has accepted the position as laboratory manager. Violet is currently working as the laboratory manager at Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome and we look forward to her transition to PMC in August. Nancy Higgins and Miriam Swanson will share responsibilities as interim lab managers until Violet’s arrival.

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 drive-through station for testing. 

STAY INFORMED: 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/

Please continue to stay home, stay safe!

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
Pandemic paddling: Annual event continues with social distancing
The 2020 Paddle Battle took place on Saturday, June 20. The weather looked rough all morning but after gathering at Papkes Landing at noon, paddlers knew the weather was taking a turn for the better and it would be a great day on the water.

Twenty paddlers left Papkes, separated into three groups to maintain social distance. One paddler left from his house and met the others on the water. They traveled 7.3 miles, ending at Scow Bay.

Troy Larson and Kelly Davis arrived first, around 2:00pm, proclaiming that “it was a great day to paddle!” Paddlers were offered protein bars, bananas, oranges and water at the finish line. The event ended around 3:00pm.

Two paddlers—Phil Hofstetter and Joe Viechnicki—weren’t ready for the day to end and paddled on to their homes. “It was about 10 miles for the day for me,” Phil said.

Thank you to Kelly Zweifel for volunteering to help send paddlers off and for cheering them on at the end.

Thank you to the operators of our three safety boats: Don Holmes; Rocio Tejera-Elejabeitia, Susan Erickson, Barb Marifern; and Rebecca Anderson, Craign Anderson and Kaitlin DuRoss.
▲ One of our three safety boats, operated by Rocio Tejera-Elejabeitia, Susan Erickson, and Barb Marifern. Photo by Troy Larson

Paddlers Kris Erickson with her daughter, Marlena Newman. Photo by Troy Larson
▲ Petersburg Barre, Zumba and Flex Fit have been hosting outdoor fitness classes at the Seversons Sport Court. Follow them on social media to learn more about their classes.

Petersburg residents go twice the distance as part of June challenge
The end of June marked the end of our monthly Community Healthy Series event, Petersburg Goes the Distance. We challenged the community to log 3,200 miles together. Our community went above and beyond to log a total of 6,916 miles! Of the 244 participants, 56 were PMC staff.  Each week a community member won a gift certificate to a local business. Our winners were: Joe Bertagnoli, Amy Anderson, Kris Norosz and Kathy Bracken.

Follow our Facebook page for announcements about next month’s challenge!
Sticking together, Parker sisters take summer jobs as CNAs at LTC
Sisters by birth but best friends by choice, Meghyn and Madisyn Parker have been inseparable since day one.

“If I had the choice, I would probably follow Madisyn everywhere,” Meghyn said of her big sister. “She is the one person I aspire to be and look up to every day.”

The two have always loved spending time with each other, exploring on family vacations together and being teammates on high school cross country and basketball teams.

This summer, they’re both working as certified nurse aides at Petersburg Medical Center’s Long-Term Care Center.

Each Parker sister completed CNA training during her junior year and began working at PMC off and on amid sports and the craziness of high school.

They enjoy working at PMC and treasure the lasting relationships they have created with the residents and their coworkers. They are glad they can make a difference in the residents’ lives.

“I love having such great co-workers and getting to work with my sister,” said Madisyn.

Madisyn graduated from Petersburg High School in 2018. She is now a junior at Boise State University, majoring in public health with an emphasis in health education and promotion. She was accepted into three research conferences around the country just before COVID-19 hit.

Meghyn graduated from PHS this year and is excited to join her sister at Boise State this fall. Meghyn plans to pursue bachelor’s degrees in special education and elementary education, with the goal of becoming a special education teacher.

Though it seems these two could be twins, they occasionally like to spend time on their own. Madisyn enjoys painting in her spare time. Meghyn likes to go on outdoor adventures with their two golden retrievers and has a passion for dance.

The sisters love their hometown.

“Petersburg is such a tight-knit community that we are surrounded by,” said Megyhn. She points to her class’s graduation amid the current pandemic as an example. “Everyone came together to make the graduation of the senior class of 2020 one that will be memorable for everybody that was a part of it,” she said.

The Parker sisters are excited for their next adventure together at Boise State next year, but Petersburg will always be home and have a special place in their hearts.
▲ Madisyn age 10 and Meghyn age 8.

▲ Madisyn and Meghyn Parker

▲Madisyn and Meghyn Parker kayaking together.
▲ EVS manager Grazel Edfelt (left) and Carleen Lyons, Jeanette Phillips, Mala Siek and Fina Sturgeon are part of the team that keeps PMC clean.
Amid pandemic, Environmental Services staff keep PMC clean
Keeping a hospital clean is a big and critical job. Though PMC’s Environmental Services staff generally stay behind the scenes, the hospital could not run without them.

PMC’s Environmental Services (EVS) staff includes:
  • Grazel Edfelt,EVS Manager
  • Carleen Lyons,EVS
  • Tina Sakamoto, EVS
  • Fina Sturgeon, EVS
  • Ely Braun, EVS
  • Mala Siek, EVS
  • Jeanette Phillips, Laundry

Environmental Services staff members are assigned to either cleaning the facility or laundry, but crossed-train to do both and often switch back and forth. Here’s the nitty-gritty of their tasks:

  • Clean patient rooms, resident rooms and office spaces.
  • Dust, mop, scrub and buff all hallways and rooms.
  • Clean and restock bathrooms.
  • Dust bed frames and furniture.
  • Clean windows and windowsills, vents and radiators
  • Change out curtains.
  • Receive, store and distribute clean hospital linen.
  • Coordinate, weigh and record all soiled linen received from all departments of the hospital so as to aid infection control in the hospital.
  • Complete necessary paperwork to document linen cleaning process.
  • Set up linen carts and take to designated areas.

On top of their daily hospital cleaning duties, the PMC Environmental Services crew regularly cleans 11 apartments used by traveling staff.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added further duties for EVS staff, such as cleaning high-touch surfaces. PMC has hired additional staff to help with this extra task as it has become a full-time job on its own.

Fun Fact: EVS staff handle an average of 10,281 pounds of laundry each month!
Video chats, flowers, games and good food brighten days at LTC
Happy summer! Though our residents are limited to the indoors they have been keeping busy regardless.

Residents have been reading up a storm, whether by listening to audio books, reading or listening to the local newspaper, or enjoying electronic books from the library that include background and sound effects that make the books come to life. A big “thank you” to the Emblem club for donating a new iPad that allows more residents to enjoy electronic reading resources and video calls with family.

On Father’s Day the residents video chatted with family members and worked together to make a delicious lasagna for dinner. As a special bonus, activities staffer Noelle McPherson made a rhubarb pie.

The plants in the solarium are growing well with residents and activities staff caring for them daily. We are adding more pots so we can expand our indoor garden to meet the wishes of residents with green thumbs. Speaking of plants, the residents and staff are grateful for the bright, beautiful bouquets sent by the Flower Farm and family members. They help bring summer indoors.

The residents stay active with board games, puzzles, and coloring. Activities staff recently broke out the Bunny Bowling game and the residents had some good laughs!

The residents enjoyed their monthly potato bar and an indoor picnic featuring picnic fare made by kitchen staff. Activities staff keeps baking projects and good foods coming. They also work with kitchen staff and families to ensure residents get their preferred treats from the store. Residents and staff created a thank-you card for a volunteer who sends goodies, with each resident coloring a tulip for the card. 

▲ Myron Lyons, LTC resident, baking some cookies.

▲ Kinder Skog participants paid a festive but distant visit to LTC residents.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | pmcweb@pmc-health.org