Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲Elijah Haynes from the Alaska Center for the Blind did an interactive, low vision sensitivity course at PMC on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Stacie McKinley, physical therapist (center), and Kaitlin DuRoss, rehabilitation manager, participated in one of the activities.

▲ Managers gathered for PMC's November boot camp. Max Mertz, CPA, and Cynthia Brandt, financial consultant, gave a presentation and answered staff questions.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: Nearly 90 Petersburg community members participated in PMC's Tuesday, Nov. 12, Community Cafe.
Grant supports construction of new pharmacy room
NEW PHARMACY ROOM: The design of Petersburg Medical Center s new pharmacy room is complete and construction is set to begin Monday, Dec. 30. The project will bring us into compliance with new federal standards for handling hazardous drugs. The project will cost $352,973, plus an additional $7,450 to get the new space operational. PMC applied for Rasmuson Tier 1 funding of $100,000 to offset some project costs, and funding was approved in November. The new space should be ready to use in February 2020. 

COMMUNITY CAFE: Petersburg Medical Center has hosted a series of Community Cafes over the past year. We hosted our fourth Community Cafe on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at Petersburg Public Library. Ken Helander, advocacy director for the the Alaska office of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), presented and facilitated a conversation about aging and healthcare planning. The presentation from Ken can be viewed at the PMC web page. We were very pleased with community attendance at this cafe. Thank you for joining us and participating in the conversation!

PMC AUDIT: Our audit was recently completed by Max Mertz, CPA, of Juneau. Max has over 20 years of experience auditing Alaska healthcare organizations. We feel great confidence in his review and recommendations, as all reflect areas we've already been working to improve over the past 8 months. Max will present his audit results at the PMC board s January meeting.

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
 We've got the very best:
PMC RN named Nurse of the Year finalist
Angela Menish, registered nurse and director of Patient Care at Petersburg Medical Center, received news that she had been nominated for the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year, Alaska, award. After submitting further information, she was announced as one of the finalists.

Menish was invited to attend a cocktail dinner in Anchorage on Saturday, Nov. 16. She attended with her mom.

“It was an awesome event,” Menish said. “They had speakers from all over state— doctors, CEOs—along with testimonials from people. I was honored to be a finalist and was very happy for the winners!”

The March of Dimes Nurse of the Year awards honor nurses nationwide who go above and beyond to deliver compassionate care. The organization recognized 18 winners and over 100 finalists in Alaska for 2019.
▲ March of Dimes Nurse of the Year, Alaska, finalist Angela Menish (standing) with fellow PMC registered nurse Joyln Duddles.
▲ Molly Platt, physical therapist, takes one of the PMC bikes out for a spin. Bikes are available for PMC employee use to encourage fitness.
Winter weather keeping you inside? Try these indoor fitness activities!
T ake advantage of fitness activities at Parks and Rec!
•  Flex Fit:  Mondays & Thursdays 8:30-9:30am, and Saturdays 10:15-11:15am.

Mitkof Dance Studio  offers more then just kids' dance classes. Check it out!
•  Zumba:
Tuesdays & Fridays 8:15-9:15am — Zumba
Wednesdays 8:15-9:15am — Strong
Wednesdays & Fridays 9:30-10:30am — Zumba Gold
Thursdays 5:30-6:30pm — Zumba
Saturdays 9:30-10:30am —Zumba
•  Pilates:  Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays 5:45-6:30pm
 Traci Vinson enjoying life and variety in her work at Petersburg Medical Center
Traci Vinson joined the Petersburg Medical Center team as a full-time registered nurse three years ago—and hasn’t looked back.

“We have always had a very busy life, working multiple jobs and raising kids,” Traci said recently of the family’s decision to move from California to Petersburg in 2016. “We were ready to slow down and enjoy life more. We needed to live, not work to live.” 

But Traci’s life in Petersburg is anything but slow.

With her depth and variety of work experience, Traci quickly became a key staff member at PMC, called upon to cover for PMC’s Long Term Care manager or Skilled Nursing coordinator when either was on vacation. She became a chemotherapy nurse. Last year, she added the role of teaching certified nurse aide courses to Petersburg High School students and PMC employees. 

Most recently, Traci attended two days of dementia care training with an Anchorage occupational therapist who has specialized in dementia care for 20 years. Traci will now train fellow PMC staff in dementia care skills.

Traci’s pre-PMC career was also full of variety.

She joined the U.S. Navy in 1992, serving as a hospital corpsman, or medical specialist. Her nine years with the Navy took her to many places. During three years in Japan, she began working on a college degree through a University of Maryland satellite campus. In 1999 she met her husband, Tony, who served as a boatswain’s mate and hospital corpsman in the Navy for four years. After leaving the Navy, he worked for the government as a licensed vocational nurse. 

After Traci’s honorable discharge from the Navy in 2001, she was approved, based on prior work experience, to take nursing board exams without all the normally required schooling. She passed and became a licensed vocational nurse. 

Traci next worked for a small dermatology clinic. She ran the front desk but also assisted with procedures such as skin cancer removals and tattoo removals. In another job, she provided home care and respite care for medically fragile children. 

While maintaining two jobs and family life, she decided to enroll in Indiana State University’s online bachelor of science nursing degree program. The new distance program required her to organize her own clinical experiences and find her own preceptors—extra demands on top of an already challenging course load. Despite any obstacles, Traci graduated in 2011 and became a registered nurse. 

Traci has loved the variety of work opportunities PMC gives her to grow as a person and employee. Her husband is also employed full-time at PMC, as a medical assistant.

Living down the street from PMC, Traci is available to pop in and help as needed. She can’t get enough of PMC!

When she does decide to take a break from all of her hospital duties, though, she enjoys curling up on the couch with her two pups, Scout and Mia, and watching a good movie. 
▲ Traci Vinson (right) recently learned to care for dementia patients during a two-day training with Anchorage-based occupational therapist and dementia expert Teepa Snow (left).

▲Traci Vinson and husband Tony with their oldest son, Julian.

▲Traci's three sons, from left: Julian, Gianni and Isaac.
▲ Back, from left: Phil Hofstetter, CEO; occupational therapists Tara Burns and Jessica Baker; Denis Kotsoev, speech therapist; and Rocio Tejera-Elejabeitia , controller. Front, from left: registered nurses Karri King and Christie Axmaker; physical therapists Kaitlin DuRoss and Stacie McKinley.

The Home Health team's annual retreat on Thursday, Nov. 21, was led by Christie Axmaker, RN. Phil Hofstetter, CEO, opened the meeting with huge thanks to the team for all they do. Denis Kotsoev presented on speech therapy. Rocio Tejerra-Elejabeitia briefed the team on the financial status of Home Health. The meeting ended with Christie reviewing the team's activities and accomplishments this year.
Patient safety and independence are goals of Home Health team
Petersburg Medical Center s Home Health team is a state-licensed, Medicare-certified agency that provides doctor-prescribed, skilled services.

The team includes:

  • Registered nurses: Christie Axmaker (Home Health coordinator) and Karri King;
  • Physical therapists: Kaitlin DuRoss (rehabilitation manager), Bradee Axmaker, Ellie Van Swearingen, Stacie McKinley and Molly Platt;
  • Occupational therapists: Tara Burns and Jessica Baker;
  • Speech therapist: Denis Kotsoev; and
  • Receptionist: Jacque Grone

Our nurses assess patients, coordinate personalized care plans, train caregivers, administer medications, and perform skilled procedures, treatments and wound care.

Rehabilitation staff assess each patient s home setting for ways to improve safety and patient independence with daily activities. The therapists design and teach home exercise programs to patients and their families, aimed at helping each patient resume normal living activities after illness or injury.

Home Health helps patients remain in the comfort of their own homes. While patient needs and prescribed activities differ, the Home Health team has the same goal for each patient: To safely function independently in their own environment.

Veterans honored as LTC heads into the holiday season
November bustled with activity as staff and residents began to prepare for year-end holiday fun on top of Long Term Care’s usual slate of outings and activities.

On Monday, Nov. 11, residents honored military veterans with a reception in Long Term Care, where warm cookies, strong coffee, and great conversation were enjoyed by all.

Resident veteran Ray Olsen also attended the annual Veterans Day assembly in the Petersburg High School gym. Proudly wearing his Quilt of Valor, Ray joined 11 other veterans who received their own special quilts from the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a local organization that aims to honor each veteran in Petersburg with a special quilt.

During his six years in the U.S. Navy, Ray spent 1944-45 as a petty officer in the engine room of the USS South Dakota . He was part of the ship’s crew for World War II battles and missions in the Pacific, including those at the Philippines, Okinawa, Iwo Jima and Formosa. The South Dakota was the first ship to bomb the shores of Japan. 

LTC’s Veterans Day reception also honored resident Annie Lewis for her service as a nurse in the U.S. Navy.

To kick off the holiday season, residents enjoyed their annual Spa Day and Photo Shoot on Friday, Nov. 15. Activities staff spent the morning pampering residents with foot baths, manicures, and aromatherapy. They then helped the residents with makeup, grooming, and accessorizing before each resident had a holiday portrait photo taken. This annual LTC tradition ensures that each resident has a nice portrait to include in holiday correspondence to friends and family!

The month ended with a Thanksgiving feast that was fully appreciated even by residents who normally don’t eat much. There was a lot of reminiscing when staff put the residents’ photo albums out on tables for people to look through.

With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, residents can’t wait for the upcoming December holiday festivities!
▲ LTC resident and World War II veteran Ray Olsen (in wheelchair) and fellow Petersburg veterans were honored at an assembly at Petersburg High School.

▲ Ray and Gladys Olsen, married in 1946, both live at LTC.
▲ LTC resident Carol Wallace visits with Noelle McPherson, Activities assistant.

Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 |