Author Archives: Jennifer Kellner

Noble Nurses: Donovan and McCord

We are celebrating the hard work, compassion, and dedication of nurses everywhere. Here at Ringgold County Hospital and Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, our thanks go out to all the nurses in our hospital and clinic who care for our community every day. Each month, we’re profiling two more outstanding nurses for their contributions.


Jillian Donovan, RN has been in healthcare since she earned her EMT certification in high school. She grew up on a horse farm in Stanberry, MO and headed off to Northwest Missouri State as a pre-med student. “When I was a junior in college, I realized I wasn’t going to spend as much time with people if I continued on the path to become a physician,” she explained. “So, I transferred to Northern Central Missouri College for nursing school and graduated in two years. I had oodles of the prerequisites!”

A 2009 graduate, along with her RN, she’s a certified ER nurse and a certified sexual nurse examiner. “I’m blessed that we live in a wholesome community,” she said. “I don’t have to use that very often.” Jillian’s nursing career has been varied. She’s been the director of nursing for a nursing home, the director of a hospice, and a pediatric hospice nurse, as well as working in hospitals. In 2017, a friend recommended she reach out to Molly Kayser, the nurse manager at Ringgold County Hospital. “I was hired on the spot!”

She works three 12-hour shifts each week, primarily in the ER and in acute care. “I love working the night shifts,” said Jillian. “The friendships I’ve formed have been absolutely unbelievable. They’ve made every minute worth it.”

The most satisfying part of her job as an ER nurse is knowing that critical thinking and her nursing skills can make a life or death difference. “When someone shows up in the ER who needs help, I have the privilege to help them get through it.” Jillian also says that RCH has fantastic Emergency Room physicians. “They respect the nurses, they’re knowledgeable, and they’re truly patient oriented.”

A resident of Missouri, she says she was initially worried about transitioning to RCH. “I wasn’t a member of the community, but I was welcomed with open arms. Feeling part of a team has made this a rewarding experience. Molly has been an exceptional manager and given me a lot of opportunities.”

A wife and mother of two small children, Jillian is balancing it all. She sums it up, “My husband is a paramedic, too. We chose to do this with our lives. It’s clearly what we were meant to do!”


Sarah McCord, RN grew up five miles outside of Grant City, MO on a cattle farm. “We had lots of animals and taking care of them really inspired me to want to take care of people,” she said. In high school, a friend talked to her about a career in physical therapy and that started her on her path in healthcare. But after starting school to become a physical therapy assistant, Sarah determined it just wasn’t her thing and that nursing was a better fit.

After earning her LPN, she took about two years off from school and worked in a nursing home in Mt. Ayr. Then Sarah enrolled at Southwestern Community College and became an RN. Not satisfied to stop there, she worked full time at Ringgold County Hospital while attending WGU to earn her MSN degree. Plus, she managed to have a baby boy at the same time! “It was hard,” she admitted.

She’s been at RCH for almost four years now and works in the ER and on the Acute floor. “I work three 12-hour days normally, but during the pandemic I picked up another shift to help out. Thankfully, it’s a lot better now,” she said.

According to Sarah, her job is really rewarding. “It’s the patients. Some people are so humble about the care they receive, and they appreciate it so much,” said Sarah. “We build great relationships. It makes it all worthwhile.”

When Sarah first started at RCH, she only knew a few people. But the staff has really become like a family to her now. “People just don’t leave,” she said. “It can be hard to get a job here. And once you do, you become very bonded. I don’t ever want to leave!”

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Ringgold County Hospital Welcomes New CEO

Joseph Mangiameli, CEO

Joseph Mangiameli will begin his duties as Chief Executive Officer of Ringgold County Hospital, an affiliate of MercyOne, on July 26, 2021. The current CEO, Gordon Winkler, is retiring after 34 years of service to the hospital.

Joseph brings more than 20 years of health care experience to this role in both administrative and clinical settings. As an administrator, he has directed primary care, hospital based, surgical and medical specialties, having most recently served as market vice president of operations for CHI Health in Omaha. He has clinical experience in cardiovascular, intensive care, emergency, and public health as a registered nurse, including chief nurse roles for the United States Army Reserves and Nebraska National Guard.

“I look forward to building relationships with our team at Ringgold County Hospital and within the community of Mt. Ayr,” Mangiameli says. “If we believe in each other and are engaged in our goals, we are going to do some really great things.”

“We are very excited to welcome Joseph,” said Kathi Braby, chair of Ringgold County Hospital board of trustees. “In addition to his administrative roles, Joseph’s hands-on experience in the medical field gives him a great understanding of employee needs.” The Ringgold County Hospital team is confident he will help extend the personalized, excellent care available locally into the future. We treasure the opportunity to work together in advancing our mission of providing the highest quality patient care in a compassionate and personalized manner. 

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Find a doctor near me

Since 1998, the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic has enjoyed a reputation for quality care so good, patients travel from outside Ringgold County just to be seen here. If you’re searching for a doctor near you, you’ll want to check out all the family practice providers that offer exceptional care locally. Located within Ringgold County Hospital, The Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic offers you convenient access to other services like laboratory testing, medical imaging, specialty physicians, and more.

One of the biggest shifts in healthcare has been a focus on lifelong health and wellness rather than only treating patients when they’re sick. That’s where the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic is excelling. “We have a tremendous staff at the clinic,” says CEO Gordon Winkler. “We’ve always had excellent physicians and nurses. With the advent of physician assistants and nurse practitioners, we’ve been able to attract and keep very talented people in our small community. The Mt Ayr Medical Clinic has a tenured team who speak highly of each other, the clinic, and their patients. 

Bruce Ricker, D.O. recommends taking preventative steps to improve your long-term health

“With good health, you can make a big difference for a long period of time,” says Katie Willcox, D.O.

“I love helping people get through something and over time becoming part of the process to keep them healthy,” says Scott Bland, D.O.

Erin Leonard, ARNP was born and raised in Mt. Ayr, IA. She joined the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic in August 2017. She enjoys caring for the people throughout their lifespans, from birth to advanced age.

Ron Schafer, PA-C grew up in Mt. Ayr and got his start in EMS. Marcy Gregg, ARNP is from Clearfield, IA and began her career as an acute care nurse. Both providers joined Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic around 2000.

Denise Coleman, ARNP was born and raised in Bedford, IA. “I’m dedicated to providing the best care. Our patients become our family. I love getting them well and keeping them well.”


Prior to 2020, the population of Ringgold County was fairly stable, however, the number of patients being seen in the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic has been increasing. Winkler attributes the clinic’s growth to the excellent quality of care provided. “Our patients know that we have good, local health care. They trust us, and don’t feel a need to drive out of town to find doctors who are capable of taking care of them.”

Ron Schafer, Pa-C agrees. “We take a holistic approach to health care.”

Call to connect with your partner in health 641-464-4470

Noble Nurses: Quigley and Gilmore

Julia Quigley, RN

Tara Gilmore, RN

Julia Quigley began her nursing career when she was small child. She may not have been an official employee, but she was helping her mother with an infant brother who needed specialized care when she was just eight years old. She figures it was that experience, along with her mother as a role model, that guided her to nursing.

After growing up in Omaha, NE, she went straight into nursing school at Creighton University and graduated in 2004. Her first four years as a nurse were spent in the hematology and oncology special care unit at the Nebraska Medical Center. “I worked with all ages. We did chemo and bone marrow transplants and critical care when it was needed,” she said. “Patients there are going through the hardest time of their lives, and they’re often there for a long time. When you’re a nurse, you try to make it better for them while they’re going through their struggles.”

After marrying in 2008, she and her husband moved to Chicago where she continued to work. When her daughter was born, she slowed her schedule and did agency nursing when she was needed. She took time away from nursing when her second child came along. “Life was just too busy, so I stayed home with them for a while,” she said.

In 2013, for a variety of reasons, the family moved from Chicago to Lamoni. “God just wanted us to move there! And we wanted to be closer to both of our families who are now only three hours away.” In addition, they wanted a lifestyle that is impossible in a big city. “We’re hobby farmers with lots of fruit trees, chickens, and goats. We wanted to have the freedom to do that and create a better spot for our kids.”

Five years ago, she decided to go back to work full time. She interviewed at a hospital in Missouri, and with Denise Coleman at Ringgold County Hospital. “Once I met the staff here, it was no contest,” she said. “I knew this was the place for me.” She no longer works full time, but does one, 12-hour shift every Monday on the acute care floor.

“I think RCH is a wonderful place to work,” said Julia. It’s a really healthy and positive environment with good leadership. We all feel like we’re part of the family and we look out for each other.”

Inspiration can come from many places. Sometimes it’s found in a book or a movie. Sometimes it comes from a teacher or church leader. And sometimes it’s a person close to you who inspires you to follow in their footsteps.

For Tara Gilmore, it was her older sister who inspired her to become a nurse. “She’s done it all, from patient care to management,” said Tara. “I watched her and learned from her perspective every step of the way,” said Tara. Although she was inspired to pursue nursing, “life got in the way,” so it didn’t end up being Tara’s first career. The mother of two girls, she started working in the medical field as a pharmacy tech after her children were born. “Back then, you didn’t need to be certified to start. I studied and passed all the tests so I could be hired. I became a Certified Pharmacy Tech while I was working,” she said.

When the pharmacy where she worked closed, she took the opportunity to go back to school, and graduated with her RN degree in 2014. A native of Creston, she started working at the hospital there, did a short stint with a hospice, and has been at Ringgold County Hospital for the past five years. “I really like working in surgery,” said Tara. “It’s my passion to ‘fix’ people and make them better. Most of the surgeries we do are elective, and I love seeing people go home better than they were when they came in.”

It’s her coworkers and the atmosphere at RCH that Tara loves. “We have the best team. It truly helps coming to work every day when you love the people you work with. We’re like a family!”

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Women’s Health & Mental Health Month

Everyone who has ever flown on an airplane has heard these instructions: “Secure your own oxygen mask before trying to help others.” It’s also true when it comes to your health. You can’t take care of your loved ones if you haven’t cared for yourself first. Women have traditionally filled the roles of caregivers for their families, which makes it even more important to attend to their own health. 

Erin Leonard, ARNP

As women move through the different stages of life, there are screenings and routine exams based on age that can potentially be lifesaving. Erin Leonard, ARNP at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic, encourages the basics, “A healthy diet and exercise is so important for women of all ages.” Erin recommends a wellness exam every year. Wellness visits can include breast exams, pelvic exams, lab work, and immunizations. The healthcare providers at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic encourage younger women and girls to discuss what’s happening with their bodies during well child and well adolescent visits. Beginning at age 21, a pap smear is recommended every three years until the age of 30. “After 30, we do a Pap smear with HPV testing.  This can be done every 5 years, as long as previous testing has been normal,” says Erin. Screening intervals can change depending on previous results. “One size does not fit all. The best approach is shared decision making between a woman and her primary care provider. As women age, they need to add mammograms and colonoscopies to the list, too!” 

Top of mind this year is how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, especially women who are pregnant, or may be trying to get pregnant.  “There have been a lot of questions surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, and whether or not women should get it,” said Erin.  The CDC, World Health Organization, and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend vaccinating pregnant women against COVID-19 due to the increased risk of complications should they contract the virus.  Additionally, the vaccine has not been tied to adverse outcomes related to pregnancy or fertility.  Recent studies have shown immunity passed on to babies in moms who have been vaccinated during pregnancy and lactating mothers.  Erin added, “If you have any concerns, you should discuss these with your healthcare provider.”

No matter your age, particularly in stressful times like a pandemic, mental health is as important as physical health. “We screen for depression and anxiety in all our annual visits,” said Erin. “Mental health concerns can span across our entire lifetime. We’re here to help when it’s needed.” 

According to Morgan Drake, Director of Ringgold County Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions, women are twice as likely as men to experience symptoms of depression. “There are a variety of reasons,” said Morgan. “But often it’s related to hormones. Women’s hormones change at the onset of menstruation, with pregnancy, if they’re experiencing infertility, or going through menopause.”

Although these hormonal changes may be inevitable, they don’t have to lead to depression. “Physically taking care of ourselves with a healthy diet and some exercise is a great place to start,” she said. “Studies show that even 30 minutes of walking each day can be as effective as taking anti-depression medication.” Morgan added that the walks can be broken up into 10-minute bursts and be equally beneficial.

Along with basic diet and exercise, it’s important to get adequate sleep and practice keeping stress in check. “We suggest learning relaxing techniques and making time to do things you enjoy. Even caring for a pet can relieve stress,” said Morgan.

Morgan invites the entire community to participate in Wear Green Day on May 21 to bring attention to Mental Health Awareness.

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