Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ Angela Bertagnoli, PMC's new assistant clinic manager, with her three kids: Brayden, Isla and Blayre.
▲ Kari Baekkelund, clinic receptionist, masked up for work.
▲ PMC managers gather for a monthly virtual meeting each month.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: Many PMC employees have been spending time outdoors camping, boating and exploring.
PMC team stays strong amid COVID workplace challenges
MANAGERS MEETING: On Friday, August 14, twenty managers joined our monthly virtual managers meeting. We were introduced to new managers and learned about upcoming wellness opportunities from Julie Walker, our new community wellness specialist, and Kelly Zweifel, dietitian and wellness coordinator. The meeting ended with information about funding from Rocio Tejera, controller.

WELCOME TO NEW STAFF: We are excited to see some familiar faces back at PMC!

Angela Bertagnoli began working at PMC as a medical assistant in 2004. She took some time off to be home with her kids over the past year, but in July returned to PMC as assistant clinic manager.

Kirsten Rioux-Testoni is our new home health manager. Kirsten was working as a traveler in the department and loved her time in Petersburg so much that she decided to take the department manager job and make Petersburg home.

Julie Walker has accepted the position of community wellness specialist. Julie has been part of the PMC team for one year, helping in the rehabilitation and audiology departments. Her new role will be focusing on health and wellness for our patients, staff and community. Among many other duties she will also be PMC's emergency preparedness coordinator.

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, 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: 
  • Check the COVID-19 Information Hub website, our unified command page with the Borough:
  • Check our website for updates as well:

— Phil Hofstetter, CEO, PMC
Despite pandemic, UAA nursing students on track to finish this year
Thanks to COVID-19, school looks a little different for the four Petersburg students who recently started their second and final year in the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Nursing's distance program. 

All four students, who started classes August 26, work at PMC: Lauren Thain, ward clerk; Emma Engell, CNA; Kelly Bieber, medical assistant; and Kimberly Robson, activities assistant.

All classes and lectures will be online this year. Instead of in-person clinicals, students will practice hands-on skills through virtual stimulations.

The PMC nursing instructors—registered nurses Jennifer Bryner, Nichole Mattingly and Ruby Shumway—will be involved in teaching and guiding the students virtually.

"I look forward to getting started and learning as much as I can and graduating this year!" Lauren Thain said.
 Petersburg's four nursing students and their instructors posed for this photo in 2019. From left: Nichole Mattingly, RN, and Ruby Shumway, RN, instructors; students Kimberly Robson, Lauren Thain, Emma Engell, and Kelly Bieber; and instructor Jennifer Bryner, RN and chief nursing officer for PMC.
▲ Alice Williams won the logo contest for the 2020 Rainforest Run.
Rainforest Run offers option for virtual participation this year
Petersburg Medical Center has taken on the planning of the 2020 Rainforest Run.
The event will be a half marathon or 10k, and participants can run or walk. The event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 19, but participants have the option to do the run virtually the week prior and submit a picture of their run time to [email protected] by Friday, Sept. 18.

The course is the same as in previous years, with participants starting at Sandy Beach and traveling Cabin Creek Road. Come out and join the fun!

Register for the run here:
Kelly Zweifel shares enthusiasm for nutrition with PMC and community
For Petersburg Medical Center’s wellness coordinator and dietitian, a childhood passion inspired a career.

Kelly Zweifel spent her growing up years as a competitive gymnast, dedicating herself to the sport she loved. She practiced 40 hours a week. Weekends were busy with competitions. But when her family moved to Massachusetts during her freshman year of high school, things changed. Transitioning to a new gym, new teammates, and new coaches, she realized she wanted to have a more “normal” high school experience. She ultimately decided to leave the sport.

But the sport never left her.

Kelly went on to graduate from East Carolina University in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. She had entered college thinking she would be a physical therapist but soon realized her passion was nutrition—largely because of her years as a gymnast.

“Eating healthy improved my performances in gymnastics,” Kelly said.

Kelly discovered another passion during college: Yoga. She found the movement and flexibility in her yoga practice to be very similar to elements of gymnastics. In 2003 she attended the Kripalu School of Yoga in Stockbridge, Mass., to become a certified yoga instructor.

In 2004, Kelly learned about a opportunity as a Summercise intern in Nome to teach kids about nutrition and exercise in an effort to prevent diabetes. The opportunity was a perfect fit. She applied, was accepted, and left for an Alaska adventure. At the end of summer, she moved to Anchorage for a job with the WIC program but quickly realized how much she loved and missed rural Alaska. She moved back to Nome in 2006 to work at Norton Sound Health Corporation’s diabetes prevention program. During her 14 years in Nome she eventually became the department manager and then the wellness director.

“I loved Nome, my job and the people but I was ready for a new experience,” Kelly said. “The job at PMC opened at the right time for my family.”

Kelly accepted the position as registered dietitian and wellness coordinator at PMC in December 2019. Her job involves providing nutrition guidance for patients and long-term care residents; ensuring high standards for the hospital’s food service; providing leadership for wellness programs related to nutrition; and developing educational materials and approaches to diabetes treatment and prevention.

Kelly, husband Scott, and their two children moved to Petersburg two days before Christmas—and are still house hunting. Living in four different houses over the past eight months has been challenging, but Kelly has enjoyed getting to know different neighborhoods and meeting new people.

She is happy to be in Petersburg and working at PMC.

“I love the variety the job offers me, working with clinical nutrition and community nutrition," she said.
▲ Kelly Zweifel during her years as a gymnast.
▲ Kelly and Scott Zweifel on a hike with their kids, Jackson and Maisy.
▲ Kelly's kids exploring Sandy Beach.
▲ Angela Menish, RN and PMC director of patient care, trains Brooklyn Dormer, CNA, how to be an airport screener.
▲ The smiling faces who greet all travelers: Airport screeners Kathy Holtzinger, Ratonna Simmons, and Brooklyn Dormer.
PMC seeking local residents for COVID jobs to keep Petersburg safe
The pandemic has created a need for more workers at PMC, and we have added some temporary positions. PMC’s COVID jobs include:

Airport Screeners: Three staff members work at the airport. Registration 1 is the greeter, helping travelers fill out forms, collecting IDs and creating identification stickers. Registration 2 scans or enters all patient data into PMC’s electronic medical records system. This is critical, as all patient information must be in the system before specimens arrive at the PMC laboratory. Finally, the specimen collector guides a self-administered swab for travelers. Once the swab has been collected by the traveler it is placed into a vile and reviewed by the specimen collector who ensures it’s correctly labeled. These three airport screeners are the face of Petersburg, welcoming travelers and reminding them how they can help keep Petersburg safe!

Hospital Screeners: Our hospital screeners are frontline workers tasked with helping keep COVID out of the facility. They are stationed at PMC’s emergency room entrance. They screen everyone entering the facility—staff, patients, contractors and visitors (visitors are restricted). The screeners ask a series of questions, take temperatures, give a sticker that allows the person into the facility for the day, and then guides the person to where they can wash their hands.

Long Term Care high-touch surface area disinfecters: PMC is frequently disinfecting all high-touch surface areas in Long Term Care. It takes about 30 minutes to disinfect everything, and then the process is repeated. This has been one of the harder positions to fill; because it’s with our most vulnerable population. PMC employees who work in a different department cannot help cover shifts in LTC so hiring new employees specifically for this roll is crucial. 

PMC has had 15 employees take on more roles because of the pandemic. We have also hired 20 community members on an emergency basis.
"We are very grateful for those who have been able to step up and help us," said Devynn Johnson, PMC project manager.

We are looking for more people to join our team. Interested? Please contact Devynn at [email protected].
Van rides reinstated just in time to enjoy the last of the sunshine
LTC residents are on the road again. Van rides restarted in August, though COVID-19 precautions limit residents to solo outings for now. Happy to be able to get out for the last of the warmer months, residents enjoyed sightseeing at their chosen locations while listening to music and audio books. One resident even saw a black bear at Blind Slough!

Residents filled many indoor hours this past month with reading or listening to books and the local newspaper—a highlight being a picture in the Pilot of the black bear and reports of other bears seen around town. They looked forward to Tuesday visits by volunteer performer Sarah Hofstetter, who led singalongs and listened to reminiscences about funny moments. A new form of entertainment was watching the daily progress of the demolition of two buildings across the street. Some residents took walks with staff for a closer look.

The residents have been enjoying the fruits of summer. The Baha’i faith community sent an enormous fruit tray and lots of locally grown flowers. Residents chose from among the dahlias, snap dragons, calendula, and other flowers to create bright bouquets for their rooms. They also enjoyed fresh berries brought by activities staff. The cherry tomato and cucumber plants in the solarium garden continue to provide pops of color and delicious fresh snacks. Residents are considering what to try growing next; a pumpkin was suggested.

Residents have also been watching lots of slideshows made by staff. One day we put up historic Alaska photos, including old pictures of Petersburg and snapshots of the 1964 Anchorage earthquake. Community members responded to our requests for videos and photos, giving residents much to enjoy watching and chatting about.
▲ Claudia Hiedy, LTC resident enjoying fruit.
Ray Olsen, LTC resident, organizing flower arrangements.
Dennis Sperl, LTC resident heading outside to get some fresh air.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | [email protected]