Category Archives: Healthy Living

Katie Smith: Coaching is her passion

Katie Smith, RN is excited about being a health coach

Would you want to learn football from a coach who never played? Of course not! We all want to be coached by people who understand the game, its challenges, and our own abilities. Which is why Katie Smith, the soon-to-be health coach at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic believes she’s found her ideal role. “I’ve struggled with my weight, anemia, thyroid issues,” she explained. “I’m just like everyone else! I’m not this super-healthy person who’s naturally thin. I have to work on all of it.” Being able to relate to her patients makes Katie a great fit for the Health Coach role. “I like the preventative care aspect of nursing,” she said. “My focus is on wellness and how the mind, body, and spirit all work together. I say, let’s catch your high blood pressure now, before it gets really bad and you end up in the hospital. I enjoy keeping people healthy.”

A registered nurse, Katie is from Des Moines, and went to school and worked there in the Mercy Hospital System. After her mother moved to the Mount Ayr area, Katie started spending time here. “I was a single mom when my mom moved here. She was traveling to Des Moines on weekends to watch my daughter while I worked as a nurse. After a while, I moved here, and I commuted back to Des Moines to work.” She started going to school events, like football games, and just fell in love with the community. “I like that it’s laid back, there are no traffic lights, everyone knows your name, and everyone helps you out,” she said. “I wanted my daughter to grow up here.” So even though there were no job openings at Ringgold County Hospital, she put in an application and waited. In 2014, she got a call and was offered a job at RCH. A year later, she moved from the acute nursing team to the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic where she’s been for about four years. When Katie started college, she had three areas of interest: nursing, helping juvenile offenders, and psychology. “I decided to become a nurse so I could combine my interests.” She worked as a psych nurse, a cardiac nurse, and as an RN in acute care, so she’s seen and learned a lot. In her new role, she’ll have plenty of patient interaction as she works to keep people healthy and try to keep them out of the hospital. “When I was working on the [acute] floor at RCH I started training to run a 5K,” she said. “Then I did a half marathon. And then I ran a whole marathon! That’s when I fell in love with nutrition, wellness, and exercise. It all ties together! When I saw that the Health Coach position was open, I jumped on it. I have all kinds of ideas. I’m so excited!” Katie finished her Health Coach training in late March. (It was postponed due to inclement weather.) She anxious to dive in and get going. “It’s the perfect next step in my career!”

To make an appointment with Katie Smith, RN call 641-464-4533.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month

During Brain Injury Awareness Month, Ringgold County Hospital is focused on preventing Tramatic Brain Injuries (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or injury to the head. Roughly 50% of trauma related visits to the Ringgold County Emergency Room in 2018 were due to motor vehicle accidents, some involving TBI. Although not all head injuries result in a TBI, it is important to be evaluated by a health care provider if you experience common symptoms like headache, dizziness, blurred vision, or difficulty concentrating. Severity of injury may range from a mild, short-term change in mental status or consciousness to an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury. Concussions are the most common form of TBI, and are considered a mild injury. 

There are many ways to reduce the chances of a traumatic brain injury. Be sure to:

  1. Wear a seat belt every time you drive – or ride – in a motor vehicle
  2. Minimize distractions while driving and put your phone away
  3. Use caution while driving in adverse weather conditions – slow down and brake sooner
  4. Choose not to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – arrange another ride
  5. Make living and play areas safer for children
    •  Install window guards to keep young children from falling out of open window
    •  Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around
  6. Wear a helmet, or appropriate headgear, when you or your children:
    • Ride a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter, or use an all-terrain vehicle
    • Play a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey, or boxing
    • Use in-line skates or ride a skateboard
    • Bat and run bases in baseball or softball
    • Ride a horse
    • Ski or snowboard
  7. Prevent falls for older adults:
    • Talk to your doctor to evaluate your risk for falling, and ask them about specific things you can do to reduce your risk for a fall
    • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy – this should include prescription medicines, over-the counter medicines, herbal supplements, and vitamins
    • Have your eyes checked at least once a year, and be sure to update your eyeglasses if needed
    • Do strength and balance exercises to make your legs stronger and improve your balance

 

 

Take a Deep Breath!

Respiratory therapist, Linda Hosfield, left, is working with Shirley Erickson, center. Mike Hauge, respiratory therapist, is another team member.

Let’s face it. Breathing is something that most people don’t think about. Unless you’re participating in a vigorous athletic activity, you probably go for days without noticing that you’re breathing at all. But if you suffer from asthma, emphysema, or any form of COPD, simply breathing can be a challenge. Linda Hosfield is the director of the pulmonary rehab department at Ringgold County Hospital, and she works regularly with patients to help them improve their pulmonary functioning and their overall health. “Our number one goal is to help people quit smoking,” she said. “The practitioners in the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic are all available with ideas and aids to help people quit smoking. The American Lung Association and Quitline Iowa are also great resources.” Ruth Smith, a Ringgold County Hospital physical therapist, is also certified in hypnotherapy which has proven to be a successful tool for some people who want to quit smoking.

According to Linda, whether you’re a former smoker, or have lung disease caused by something else, exercise provides great benefits. “We teach patients how to keep their bodies healthy without medication. Maintaining your muscles is paramount to breathing. We specifically work on increasing endurance muscles. If you can exercise for an hour instead of 10 minutes, you’ll make a lot more progress. Exercise is all natural, with no side effects.”

Linda also teaches both children and adults how to protect their lungs and maintain pulmonary health. “Avoid chemicals, smoke, and air pollution whenever possible, and practice preventative maintenance,” she says. “Everyone should get a flu shot, and people over 65 should get pneumonia shots as well.” While anyone can get the flu, according to the American Lung Association, certain groups are at increased risk of flu-related infection and complications, including adults 50 and older. The stakes are especially high for people living with chronic health conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and heart disease. The flu can make these and other conditions worse, causing serious life-changing and life-threatening illness. Flu shots are available at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic and Ringgold County Public Health. According to Linda, “It’s never too late to get your flu shot!”

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The Great American Smokeout

Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time, and a plan. You don’t have to stop smoking in one day. Let the Great American Smokeout event on November 15 be your day to start your journey toward a smoke-free life. You’ll be joining thousands of smokers across the country in taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing your cancer risk. Plus, the American Cancer Society can help you access the resources and support you need to quit.

Quitting smoking improves health immediately and over the long term – at any age. You can increase your chances of success with help. See your healthcare provider at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic, or call Quitline Iowa, a FREE service for Iowans to connect with a coach. 1-800- QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669). Or visit quitlineiowa.org.

 

National Physical Therapy Month

Front row, from left: Jill Johnson, Nate Greisen. Back row, from left: Ruth Smith, Jill Ehlen, Shyanne Allen, Virginia Greubel

There aren’t many places in a hospital where former patients drop by just to say “hello.” But it happens all the time in the Physical Therapy Department at Ringgold County Hospital. The team prides themselves in building relationships while they care for their patients.

Jill Ehlen is the Rehab Director and a Physical Therapy Assistant. She oversees the day-to-day management of the department, including staffing and ensuring that all policies and procedures are being followed. She splits her time between seeing patients and managing the department, however she says, “I do more patient care than anything.” Jill was named the director in 2016. Since then, the department has grown and now includes three full-time physical therapists (PT) and two physical therapy assistants (PTA). “One of the biggest accomplishments for me as a department head has been putting together a great team,” she said. “Everyone brings their individual strengths and talents, but we all have the same approach to patient care. They’re all great therapists with great hands-on skills, and they’re so compassionate. It helps that we do not have one bad grape in the bunch!” All the team members feel the same way about their coworkers and the department. Shyanne Allen, PT, remarked that, “It’s really fun. It’s such a positive work environment.” She especially enjoys the variety in her work. “My interests are in orthopedics, sports injuries, and rehab. It never gets boring!”

In a way, Shyanne is responsible for bringing Nate and Jill to Mt. Ayr. When she had a baby last January, (a perfect baby girl named Ada) the two therapists were hired for the short term to cover her maternity leave. They fit so well in the department and the community, that they were hired permanently in April. “It’s going great!” says Nate Greisen, PTA. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. The team is fun and easy to work with. It’s really comfortable.” Along with physical therapy, Nate splits his time between cardiac rehab and helping patients with peripheral arterial disease. “The patient load is increasing every month. Because we’ve grown as a staff, we can help even more people.” As an extension of cardiac rehab, Nate’s added a new program called Functional Fitness. It’s designed for anyone in the community who wants to be active but needs some supervision. “They get a consent form from their doctor and then participate in a monitored exercise program. We have six people right now, coming two-three times a week,” he says.

Jill Johnson, PT, is also happy with her decision to live and work in Mt. Ayr. “I really enjoy a smaller, rural health care setting. We get so much variety. I like the idea that I’m still challenged regularly.” She’s noticed that the number of patients coming to the department have grown exponentially since she arrived. “Things are being said about us. We’re getting referrals from outside our community. Which is great because we want to help everyone we can.”

After seven years as a physical therapist at RCH, Ruth Smith echoes the sentiments of her co-workers. “I’m thrilled with the new staff,” she said. “They’re young and progressive. They focus a lot on relationships with the patients. They build confidence and trust while they’re very concerned about the quality of the therapy. There’s a
genuine openness, and a willingness to learn.” Ruth is no stranger to learning new approaches to therapy, having recently become certified in hypnotherapy. She helps patients with smoking cessation, weight loss, managing anxiety, and pain management. “It’s definitely not a magical cure, but it’s a kick start – to get the ball moving in the right
direction.”

With all the good work going on both inside and outside the Physical Therapy Department, the team is being talked about, and their reputation is growing. Stop by during October, National Physical Therapy Month and say hello!

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