Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer staff, friends accept ice bucket challenge

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Thomas Stefaniak (left), Lake Superior Juvenile Court judge; and Thomas Gryzbek, Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer president; took a soaking for a good cause Aug. 29 when they were among numerous participants in an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, conducted on the hospital grounds. Doing the dunking honors were (from left), Jason, Isis, Ramero and Mercedes, who are students at St. Francis Center, an adolescent residential treatment program located on the hospital campus.

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Newly engraved pavers blessed in Garden of Reflection

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The Rev. Anthony Janik, spiritual services director (foreground, left); deacon Bill Sayre (center) and chaplain Jim Etter (foreground, right), lead prayers as they join members of the Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point staff and supporters of the hospital at a prayer service Aug. 26 for the dedication of newly engraved pavers at the Garden of Reflection. The garden surrounds a new crucifix near the registration entrance of the hospital. Anyone interested in having a paver engraved may visit the garden for a brochure or call the Franciscan Alliance Foundation office at (219) 661-3402.

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Local Franciscan Alliance hospitals are lung screening Centers of Excellence

Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point, Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City and Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Hammond recently were named Screening Centers of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance.

The hospitals were cited for their ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening. Low-dose CT screening for lung cancer, carried out safely, efficiently and equitably, saves tens of thousands of lives a year, according to the alliance.

“We are proud and honored to be working with the Franciscan Alliance hospitals as Centers of Excellence. Their commitment to practice responsible lung cancer screenings will lead to advancements in research and many lives saved. They are an example to follow,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Lung Cancer Alliance president and CEO.

Designated Screening Centers of Excellence are committed to providing information based on current evidence for identifying candidates for lung cancer screenings and to comply with comprehensive standards, based on best practices developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network  and the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program, for controlling screening quality and radiation dose and diagnostic procedures, within an experienced, multi-disciplinary clinical setting.

Michael Meska, Franciscan Alliance regional administrative director of respiratory therapy-sleep and neurodiagnostics, was honored to hear of the recognition.

“Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point and Michigan City and St. Margaret Health-Hammond, are dedicated to providing patients with the highest-quality care. Low-dose CT screening has shown to be the only proven method to detect lung cancer at an early and treatable stage. We are thrilled to be part of this elite group, setting an example for responsible screening practices across the country,” he said.

Meska pointed out Franciscan Alliance has four of the 11 Centers of Excellence in Indiana; three within the Northern Indiana Region alone.

“With nine screening locations in Lake, LaPorte and Porter counties, it’s easy to be screened. We are sending a clear message and making a statement to the communities we serve that there are no better hospitals or health system in Northern Indiana to have your lung cancer screening performed.”

For more information on the Franciscan Alliance lung screening program, or to make an appointment, call (855) 472-1659, or visit: FranciscanAlliance.org/cancer.

About the Lung Cancer Alliance
The Lung Cancer Alliance is committed to saving lives and accelerating research by empowering people living with or at risk for lung cancer. It provides live, professional support, referral and information services to patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; conducts national awareness campaigns, including the award-winning No One Deserves to Die Campaign attacking the stigma of the disease and the Moments Campaign, spreading word about the risk and screening with a risk navigator tool for consumers; and advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research.  For more information, visit: http://www.lungcanceralliance.org

 

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John King, MD, on 40 years at Franciscan St. Anthony Health – Crown Point

BlogKing40rsJohn King, MD, was in on the ground floor, literally, when Franciscan St. Anthony Health – Crown Point, then Saint Anthony Medical Center, opened in March 1974.

And in 40 years there (50 total in the profession), he saw it all, watching the hospital, which at that time was considered “out in the country,” grow from two to seven floors and in leaps and bounds of advancements, changes and challenges.

He actually came on in 1973, to serve as director of obstetrics and gynecology and to help build the medical staff.

“Life was much simpler back then,” he said of the hospital’s early days, adding, “Some primary care physicians were still doing (birth) deliveries. And we had to deal with an exodus from Crown Point because of the defeat of the high school referendum. That all turned around when the school finally went up and brought a big draw in residential building.”

He also saw the hospital through fiscal challenges that he said “turned around for the better” when the Mishawaka-based Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration assumed ownership of the hospital in 1999.

That was three years after Dr. King, who delivered more than 10,000 babies during his career, gave up his practice to become the hospital’s vice president of medical affairs, the position he held when he retired effective earlier this year.

Technological advancements have been the most notable.

“It has increased in every field – X-ray, CT scanners, open MRI, gamma-knife-type equipment. And advancements like interventional cardiology and radiology and minimally invasive surgery and outpatient surgery have reduced lengths of stay and helped improve things all the way through.

“The hospital has kept up with these advancements but still, competition remains tough with Chicago hospitals,” Dr. King said.

The Affordable Care Act also has “caused a real dent in medicine,” by creating financial challenges for the hospital and physicians.

“Until things level off and we can get into an upswing, it’s going to be a struggle,” Dr. King said.

Another significant change he said he noted during his career involved the physician-patient relationship.

“Average time spent with the patient has decreased, so the physician can see more volume. And the use of hospitalists also has played a part. Things are not as personal as they were when the doctor was seen in a more patriarchal role. With the Internet, people are looking up their ailments and challenging diagnoses more often. The advent of physicians having to chart online also causes less eye contact during patient visits. Years ago, things were more personal and doctors were more revered in the community. Also, fewer people are going into medicine these days. We’re entering a new era of more mid-level providers.”

Despite the progress that also has brought challenges through the years, Dr. King said he wouldn’t trade his time at Franciscan St. Anthony Health for any other hospital.

“I stayed as long as I did because it is a quality hospital that provides excellent care and I wanted to be part of it. I knew most of the staff personally and had great relationships with my colleagues and patients. I worked under four (hospital) presidents and was able to adapt to their management styles. I enjoyed all of them.”

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Seanna Firanek hospital Ambassador of the Month

MICHIGAN CITY | Seanna Firanek, an X-ray technician and picture archiving communications system administrator, is the September Ambassador of the Month for Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City.

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The award has been presented by the hospital’s Social and Recognition Committee since 1988 and recognizes employees who exhibit the mission and values of Franciscan Alliance – compassion for those in need, respect for life and the dignity of mankind, wellness and prevention of illness, restoration to health and acceptance of death as the final step toward wholeness. Recipients also have demonstrated courtesy, the proper attitude and enthusiasm for their work.

Firanek, of  LaPorte, who is married and has two children, has been with the hospital for 14 years.

She was nominated by coworkers, who said Firanek “is always helpful to everyone, goes above and beyond her job duties and is an asset to our organization.”

Firanek said she was “honored and grateful to be part of the St. Anthony family,” adding, “Diagnostic imaging is a wonderful department to work in and everyone is like a close-knit family. I love my job and feel blessed to be part of our organization.”

When she’s not working, Firanek enjoys hiking, walking, reading and going to the beach.

In recognition of the honor, Firanek, as are all Ambassador recipients, was honored with a special billboard display for the month, a privileged parking spot, an Ambassador badge holder, a photo on the Ambassador of the Month wall that displays the previous 12 months’ winners, $150 cash and an invitation to the annual Service Awards and Recognition Banquet.

 

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Hospital salutes, bids farewell to local Birthright chapter

Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City recently conducted a farewell luncheon program to honor the services of Birthright, an international, nonprofit organization based in Canada, the local branch of which has served women since the 1970s and was most recently led by Mary Rasmussen (third from left) who spent 42 years with the group, the last 30 of which as director.

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The Michigan City branch is closing at the end of August; another is located in Valparaiso. Sister Jane Marie Klein, chairperson of the Franciscan Alliance Board of Trustees, was among those instrumental in bringing the program to the Michigan City, along with the late Josephine Corbett, a former Franciscan St. Anthony Health nurse. The hospital provided low-cost locations for Birthright offices, most recently at 1410 Buffalo St., and other support services.

Birthright provides free and confidential help, including pregnancy testing, medical support programs, legal referrals, education and social assistance and counseling. Rasmussen reflected the thoughts of other staff members on hand when she said her reasons for joining the group included a desire “to do something worthwhile to help in any way possible” to meet clients’ needs. “I just couldn’t say no. When God is talking to you, you just say, OK,” she said.

Also shown, from left, are staff members Doris Gavin, Helen Hathoot, Rose Marie Krueger and Geraldine Meyer. John Kessler, Franciscan Alliance regional vice president of mission integration services, praised the group for its work.

For more information on the organization, call (800) 550-4900.

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Continuing Christ’s Ministry for 40 years in Crown Point: Meet Cindy and Bobbie

St. Anthony Medical Center opened its doors on March 1, 1974, and this year, the hospital is celebrating its 40th anniversary of caring for the people of Crown Point and surrounding communities. Congratulations to Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point on 40 years of continuing Christ’s ministry!

To commemorate this milestone, we would like to shine a spotlight on the hospital’s most cherished resources: its long-term employees. This is the second post featuring employees who have been there from the start – committed to the mission for four decades:

Cindy Nowicki, of St. John

What are the biggest changes you have seen during your time at the hospital?
Moving our unit up to the 7th floor, and the opening of the NICU.

Cindy (top photo) began full-time midnights on March 17, 1975, in the newborn nursery as an R.N., and is now a part-time R.N. on the mother/baby side of the Birth Place. Bobbie (bottom photo) started in July 1974 as a staff nurse on the ortho floor, and is now a patient care coordinator for pre-admitting, ASU and PACU.

Cindy (top photo) began full-time midnights on March 17, 1975, in the newborn nursery as an R.N., and is now a part-time R.N. on the mother/baby side of the Birth Place. Bobbie (bottom photo) started in July 1974 as a staff nurse on the ortho floor, and is now a patient care coordinator for pre-admitting, ASU and PACU.

What led you to stay at the hospital for 40 years?
The teamwork and support of fellow coworkers and the lasting friendships I have formed by working here.

What are the most memorable experiences you have had during your time at the hospital?
The joy of participating in the most wonderful experience possible, the birth of a baby. Also, the fun of the St. Anthony picnics, which allowed employees social time together.

What is your personal mission as a Franciscan St. Anthony Health employee?
To treat my patients and their families as if they were my own.

Bobbie Gettler, of Crown Point

What are the biggest changes you have seen during your time at the hospital?
In 1974 we did primary care nursing. As a nurse you did all the care for the patients, and documented it on paper. Now we do computer charting – leaving less time for the nurses to be hands-on caregivers.

What led you to stay at the hospital for 40 years?
I have stayed at St. Anthony’s because it is a Catholic hospital where life is respected; compassionate concern and joy are felt every day on the units I come in contact with. It’s also close to home.

What are the most memorable experiences you have had during your time at the hospital?
I met my husband here. My children were all born at the hospital. The teams I have been a part of have always worked together and supported each other. The hospital picnics at Kiddieland were great – made us feel like we were all one family.

What is your personal mission as a Franciscan St. Anthony Health employee?
To do my best every day. To help others realize that God is still in control and that we don’t have to look far to see Him working in our lives – but we do have to look for Him.

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