Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ Skip Hallingstad scraping snow off the roof.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: The crew at midnight, switching over to our new electronic health record system. From left: Matt Pawuk, Rozanne Plew, Jill Dormer, Jennifer Bryner, Violet Shimek and Carolyn Kvernvik.
Federal workers lend a hand to help relieve PMC staffing shortage
WINTER: Thank you to our maintenance crew, Mike Boggs and Skip Hallingstad, for working hard to keep our facility safe for patients as they enter. And thank you to Chad Wright and Athena Haley for helping shovel snow before their work days start.

FEMA and GSA workers: Petersburg Medical Center has been experiencing staffing shortages for awhile. All of our staff have been going above and beyond, working extra days and jobs. This past month we got some temporary help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and General Services Administration (GSA). Four FEMA nurses have been working with COVID patients and three GSA workers are helping in the laboratory doing COVID-19 testing. A special thank you to these workers!

COVID-19 HOTLINE: Please call our COVID-19 hotline 907-772-5788 if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, are traveling and would like to test, need asymptomatic or symptomatic testing, or are interested in receiving your first or second COVID-19 vaccine dose. Let's get to herd immunity. Stay safe!

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
View lab results, refill meds, and more with new patient portal
Petersburg Medical Center launched our new electronic health record (EHR) system on December 6. Part of this new EHR system is a new patient portal. A patient portal is a secure online website that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an internet connection. 

Using a secure username and password, patients can view health information such as:
  • Recent doctor visits
  • Discharge summaries
  • Medications
  • Immunizations
  • Allergies
  • Lab results

As a patient, you may also securely message your provider, request prescription refills, update contact information, make payments, and send and receive documents.  

After your next PMC visit, you will be provided login information and instructions for the new CERNER Patient Portal.

Note: Records from the old (Thrive) system will not be included in the new (Cerner) patient portal. Your medical history prior to 12/6/2021 will be accessible only through THRIVE.  
▲ Medical Records team working hard on getting trained and moving on our new EHR system. Selfie taker: Janet Kvernvik. Back, from left: Belinda Chase, Abi Johnson, Tammy Strickland and Kaitlin Walter, Cerner trainer.
▲ Petersburg community members joined together for a post-Thanksgiving walk and run!
PMC hopes to make successful Turkey Trot an annual event
Petersburg Medical Center hosted a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot on Friday, November 26. The event did not have a registration free but participants were asked to bring a donation of canned goods.

Thirty-two participants joined together at 10 a.m. for the start of the event. Participants left from Parks and Rec, headed toward the medical center, waved and said hello to residents as they passed by PMC's long-term care facility, and then looped back to Parks and Rec. Participants mingled and enjoyed hot chocolate after the event.

PMC hopes to make this an annual event. Thank you to all who came out.
Traveling nurse gives up rambling lifestyle to work full time at PMC
It was love at first sight for Kirsten Rioux-Testoni as she stepped off the airplane at Petersburg on small Mitkof Island. 

“People are very friendly and welcoming in Petersburg,” she noticed right away. “Everyone says hello to everyone!” 

A traveling registered nurse, Kirsten had accepted a temporary placement in the home health department at Petersburg Medical Center. Kirsten had worked in the nursing field for 25 years and had been traveling for the prior six years. She took her first travel position in New Hampshire, right before her husband retired from his state trooper job. She lived with her cousin during her shifts and traveled back to their home in Connecticut. After Mark officially retired, he began joining Kirsten in all the traveling. 

The couple arrived in Petersburg in 2020.

“Traveling is great! I highly recommend it to any new nurses or anyone in the nursing career,” Kirsten said. 

Kirsten’s grandmother owned and ran a long-term care facility. Living above the facility, Kirsten found herself visiting, helping, and spending lots of time with the residents and in the facility. Kirsten’s great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother were all nurses. The family anticipated and hoped that Kirsten would be next to go to nursing school. But when it came time to go to college Kirsten chose a different route and pursued becoming a clinical psychologist. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

After working as a recreational therapist, however, Kirsten realized that nursing is where she was meant to be. She attended Wilcox College of Nursing in Middletown, Connecticut, and became a registered nurse. 

Kirsten and her husband thought Petersburg would be just another temporary travel nurse work site. But when the PMC home health manager position opened, they knew she had to apply. PMC was thrilled to hire her. 

Kirsten has been an asset to the PMC team. She has worked hard to help grow the home health department from a team of two to a team of eight. 

Kirsten and her husband Mark have a blended family with five kids and one grandkid. Even though all their kids are grown, their home is far from empty. They currently have five dogs, two cats, 13 chickens and a turkey. Kirsten and her husband love being outdoors, fishing, hiking, and enjoying music.
▲ Kirsten and her husband Mark with their kids (from left): Mathew, Mallory, Taylor, Kirsten, Mark, Nicholas and Meghan.
▲ Kirsten at her nursing pinning ceremony. Her mother, also a nurse, pinned her.
▲ Kirsten and her husband, Mark Testoni.
▲ Miriam Swanson, lab technologist, processing patient samples in the PMC lab.
▲ Levy Boitor, lab technologist.
Blood samples, COVID swabs and more, PMC lab team handles it
Your provider at Petersburg Medical Center requests a blood draw or stool sample be taken as part of your diagnosis or treatment. Your father has developed a cough and you take him to the clinic for a Covid test. Where do those samples go?

Most are analyzed right at the facility, in the PMC laboratory.

PMC lab staff includes the following:
  • Lab manager: Violet Shimek
  • Lab technologists: Nancy Higgins, Miriam Swanson, Margaret Agner, Cheyenne Yaw, Aly Shimek and Levy Boitor
  • Lab assistants: Carol Martinez and Sara Kirlin
  • Lab and imaging receptionist: Sayra Arevalos

The pandemic has been a challenge for this team. During a recent COVID outbreak in the community, lab staff worked till all hours of the night in order to keep up with COVID testing demand on top of the typical testing orders.

The laboratory's testing menu has been designed to meet most routine and emergency patient needs, such as diagnostic test procedures performed on site. These test procedures include chemistry, hematology, special chemistry, immunohematology, blood gases, toxicology (limited), microbiology, immunology (limited), urinalysis, endocrinology (limited), coagulation, pulmonary function tests, and electrocardiogram (ECG).

Cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar tests give more accurate results when performed after fasting (one may not eat anything for 8 to 12 hours before testing but should continue drinking water). However, most tests do not require fasting and can be collected at a patient's convenience on weekdays between 8am and 5pm.

On November 5, the lab underwent a biannual Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) Inspection. All clinical laboratories that test human specimens for diagnosing, preventing, or treating disease are regularly inspected by the government. These inspections help keep patients safe by reviewing staff competency and quality control measures, as well as checking equipment maintenance to ensure machines are running correctly.

PMC’s lab was not only found to be sufficiently in compliance, but logged no deficiencies or problematic findings at all.

Congratulations to our hard-working lab staff!
It's holiday season at LTC and the festivities are underway
November is bringing fall to an end, and winter will be here before we know it. With the first snow and the onset of colder weather, Long Term Care has begun to prepare for many beloved winter traditions.

November brought hot cocoa, lots of cookies, and many opportunities to bundle up to enjoy the crisp, chilly mornings.​ Our residents started the month by creating a gratitude tree, listing the many things, people, and activities they are grateful for.​
We have also begun discussing favorite winter traditions and how to make many of these favorites work in the midst of a COVID outbreak. Attending local holiday concerts, dance recitals, special treats, and more are on the list for the holiday season.

To start the holiday season, the dietary department provided residents with a turkey dinner complete with all the sides one could dream of. Some of our residents enjoyed a Thanksgiving van ride, looking for deer and Christmas lights around the island. Our residents assisted activities staff in making apple pie and roasting pumpkins to have with the dinner.

Following Thanksgiving, the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce brought some of the joys of the annual community tree lighting event to residents by having various holiday characters come to visit outside the windows of LTC.
Our residents are excited to see the snowfall and begin the festivities of the holiday season.
Marie Moore, LTC Resident and Shirley Yip, activities aide, bundled up outdoors.
▲ LTC residents Myron Lyons, Linda Reller, and Ray Olsen enjoy a Thanksgiving van ride.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | [email protected]