Petersburg Medical Center Newsletter
▲ Chad Wright, executive assistant; Kelsey Lambe, public relations coordinator; and Devynn Johnson, project manager, handing out to-go boxes for Julebukking.
▲ Jennifer Bryner, RN and chief nursing officer, joyfully opening PMC's first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine.
NEWSLETTER BANNER PHOTO: Some of the Holiday Hustle participants standing outside LTC, waving to the residents and getting candy canes thrown to them.
Keep protecting our community to minimize COVID cases
COVID-19 ON THE RISE: The Petersburg community has seen a increase in cases this last week. As of Jan. 8, we have eight active cases. Case numbers are expected to rise nationwide in the wake of the holidays and with the emergence of a more infectious variant of the virus. Please remember the things you can do to help protect our community: Wear a mask, social distance and keep your social bubble small!

JULEBUKKING: Petersburg Medical Center hosted Julebukking on Wednesday, Dec. 23, in front the Dorothy Ingle Conference Room. Our dietary staff provided lunches of chicken salad on a bed of lettuce, a buttery croissant, cheese cubes with grapes and pumpkin dessert. We had 150 to-go boxes prepped and ready to hand out at 11am and ran out of food by noon! Thank you to the community members who stopped by and a special thank you to dietary staff for working so hard to make this holiday event a success.

STAFF CHANGES AT PMC: We are excited to welcome current and new staff into new roles at PMC!

Kelly Zwiefel joined the PMC team in December 2019 as registered dietitian and wellness coordinator. This past month she transitioned into the role of Joy Janssen Clinic director. Kelly brings 10 years of prior management experience to her new role.

Lidia Wickersham has been with PMC since 2014. In October 2019 she accepted her new role as dietary assistant and will now step into the dietary manager position starting in January. Lidia brings knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to the dietary department.

Amy Hollis arrived at PMC in December as RN lead case manager—a new position. Amy has over 20 years of experience and is excited to help build this new program.

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
PMC rolls out COVID-19 vaccination effort
Petersburg Medical Center received its first batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday, Dec. 17, on Alaska Airlines Flight 64. Initial doses of the two-dose vaccine were administered to PMC staff, LTC residents, EMS personnel, and Manor employees and residents. Mamie Nilsen, RN, was the first PMC employee vaccinated.

PMC received its second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine the following week, and has now vaccinated over 150 people.

Supplies of this vaccine will be extremely limited during the first few months. In determining who gets priority to receive the vaccine as shipments arrive, PMC is following recommendations of the Alaska COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee.

To sign up for the vaccine waiting list, fill out this survey:

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine please visit: 
▲ Mamie Nilsen, RN, was the first PMC employee to receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. She received the shot, delivered by Angela Menish, RN, at 4:01pm on Thursday, Dec. 17.
▲ Ray Dugaqua was the first LTC resident to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
▲ Is it a human Christmas tree? No, it's Matt Pawuk, PMC's IT lead, who won a prize for wearing the Ugliest Holiday Sweater.
Holiday Hustle walkers brighten a rainy day for LTC residents
Despite dreary weather, a dozen community members got festive for Petersburg Medical Center's first ever Holiday Hustle on Saturday, Dec. 19.

Dressed in holiday attire, participants brought cheer to PMC's Long-Term Care residents. The group started at the PMC Business Office and walked around the PMC facility, waving up at the windows to LTC residents and getting showered with candy canes. They then paraded to the airport and back to PMC. Participants were offered hot chocolate for their drive home.

The Dormer family, sporting matching holiday hats, won the Best Group Costume Award. Marsha Fernandez and her dog, wearing matching ribbons and bows, won Most Festive Costume Award. Matt Pawuk won the Ugliest Holiday Sweater Award (see photo).
"What about Alaska?" Ultrasound tech finds fulfilling work at PMC
Tiffany Shelton always knew she wanted a career in healthcare. But finding her niche wasn’t immediate.

Born and raised in small town Hayesville, North Carolina, Tiffany enrolled at a nearby community college in 2008. She began working as a certified nurse aide while completing all required pre-nursing courses, then entered the nursing program.

“Working with people, helping people, has always been fulfilling for me,” she said. “It teaches you to slow down and feel the empathy.” 

But Tiffany soon decided nursing was not for her. She left the program in 2009 and began searching for a different healthcare career path while continuing to work as a CNA. 

In 2012, Tiffany returned to school, this time starting a two-year ultrasound program at nearby Southwestern Community College. This time she completed her program, graduating with an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography in 2014. 
In 2016, after the birth of their first son, Tiffany and her partner, Mark, moved to Florida to be closer to Tiffany's mother and a new adventure. Two years and a set of twins later, however, Tiffany and Mark were ready to move again. But where?
One night while job searching, Tiffany stumbled across a position open at Petersburg Medical Center. 

“What about Alaska?” she asked Mark. He quickly gave his blessing. 

The next thing Tiffany knew she was applying for a radiology position at PMC and jumping on an airplane to interview. As the plane landed, Tiffany recalls, “I could immediately see Mark and myself raising our children here.” She was offered the job and accepted. The family packed up and moved to Petersburg in November 2018. They've found that they love the community and exploring its beautiful surroundings. 

On top of that, Tiffany’s job with the PMC Radiology Department is a great fit. Additional training has expanded her skills and she now administers CT scans, X-rays, and bone density scans in addition to doing ultrasound exams. She enjoys her patients, her co-workers, and being part of the PMC team.

“It is refreshing to be a member of a hospital and feel like my work is truly valued and appreciated,” Tiffany said. “It is wonderful to have so much in common with my immediate coworkers. We work well together and balance one another in a lot of ways.”

Because PMC serves a small community, Tiffany is more easily able to follow her various patients’ diagnoses. 

“This is interesting from a medical standpoint, but I have also been able to cultivate a relationship with my patients,” she said. “I may see them multiple times for various follow-ups or simply see them at the post office or grocery store.

“It’s been nice to see familiar faces,” she said, “and to become a familiar face.”
▲ Tiffany Shelton and her son Riley.
▲ Tiffany and Mark with children Lyra and Everly (twins), Riley, and Sean visit a COVID-safe Santa.
▲ The family out on a fishing trip this summer.
▲ PMC's Home Health crew in 2019 (COVID restrictions prevent a current group photo). 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.
▲ Kirsten Rioux-Testoni, Home Health manager
▲ Jacque Grone, Home Health billing lead
Home Health brings care to clients at home
The Petersburg Medical Center Home Health Department provides an array of services to patients who are able to live at home or who must stay home due to medical complications. The department currently serves 29 clients.

A few examples of client needs include care or therapy after an operation or hospitalization; wound or ostomy care; education about the client's disease process; and medication management. Home Health services include skilled nursing care, laboratory/in-home blood draws, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and personal care. Staff are working to develop a behavioral health component and possibly someday add traditional hospice services, infusion therapy and pediatric care.

Home Health collaborates with all PMC departments to ensure continuity of care. Services are available to anyone age 18 and over upon referral by a doctor. If you think you or someone you know needs home care, you can contact Home Health or the doctor to see if a referral is appropriate.

Home Health is designed to be short-term care—the goal is for patients to improve and be discharged. If a client's needs can no longer be met at home, Home Health staff collaborate with long-term care or the inpatient unit to ensure the transition of care is well organized and minimally stressful for the patient and their family.

Home Health accepts Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and private insurances. Services covered vary by insurance provider. 

PMC's Home Health staff includes:
  • Kirsten Rioux-Testoni, Home Health manager
  • Jacque Grone, Home Health billing lead
  • Megan Axmaker, Home Health aide
  • Lena Odegaard, PRN Home Health nurse case manager (PRN indicates an employee who works on an as-needed basis)
  • Martina Zywot, travel Home Health nurse case manager

Home Health works closely with the PMC Rehabilitation Department to serve patients at home:
  • Kaitlin DuRoss, rehabilitation manager
  • Bradee Axmaker, physical therapist
  • Jessica Baker, occupational therapist
  • Amanda Galaktionof, physical therapist
  • Denis Kostoe, speech therapist
  • Nick Rassmusen, travel physical therapist

Home Health is currently seeking to hire a medical social worker. If you are interested, please visit our website for an application.
Christmas brings COVID-safe in-person visits and a season of fun to LTC
It was a very merry holiday season and Christmas for residents of the Petersburg Medical Center long-term care center, with the best gifts far too large to fit in their stockings.

LTC received a new community van that will allow weekly resident outings to resume. Meanwhile, the old van was creatively converted into a COVID-safe space for in-person visits. A plexiglass divider and heater were installed, and staff made the space homey with garlands, lights, and even a little Christmas tree. Residents were able to stay warm and cozy while safely relaxing and chatting with friends and loved ones. Installation of a two-way microphone will complete the project.

December activities at LTC kicked off with the annual holiday photo shoot. Residents took turns selecting Christmas outfits and accessories with help from staff. Janna Machalek, activities coordinator, took lots of portraits and fun candid and behind-the-scenes photos as well. Residents enjoyed sparkling cider and a special fruit tray donated by the Baha’i faith community during the event.

Along with decorating a large tree for the common area, residents who wanted a mini Christmas tree for their rooms picked one out and decorated it with delicate string lights and tiny ornaments. Each resident cut out a fireplace image for a nice holiday scene on the big bulletin board, and a stocking was hung above each. Residents created colored pages and cut out snowflakes to decorate the kitchen. Mistletoe was hung in the kitchen with a bag of chocolate Hersey’s Kisses. Activities staff periodically broke out cotton “snowballs” for residents to throw at staff just for fun. Elementary school carolers and costumed Holiday Hustle participants made social calls at the kitchen windows. Thoughtful kitchen staff provided a parade of holiday pies, eggnog, Russian tea cakes, deviled eggs, Norwegian rommegrot pudding, and more. The cute little trees, handmade Christmas décor, fun activities, special treats, and Yule log crackling away on the TV all made things feel festive!

The holiday festivities culminated on Christmas morning when Mrs. Claus and her Elf came to help residents open presents. Each resident received a gift from a staff Secret Santa, along with lots of useful and yummy items in their stockings.
▲ Janna Machalek, activities director, helps LTC resident Ray Olsen open his Christmas stocking.
▲ Christmas Eve pie for LTC resident Joe Wilson.
▲ Marie Moore, LTC resident, taking a spin on the NuStep exercise machine.
Petersburg Medical Center | 907-772-4291 | [email protected]