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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.

Meeting Goals with Coaching

health-coaching-barberLinda Barber is no stranger to Ringgold County Hospital. She’s now retired, but for 23 years she was the front desk receptionist and the first person many patients met when they came to the hospital. There have been a lot of changes at RCH since she retired, including the addition of a Health Coach in the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic. Linda has been working with coach Leslie Dredge-Murphy, RN for almost a year.
“As long as I’ve been alive, I’ve been overweight,” said Linda. “I’ve tried just about everything over the years, and I just couldn’t get a handle on it.”

Leslie suggested she keep a journal of everything she eats each day as well as tracking her daily exercise. “I’d never done that before. I bring in my journals every week when we meet so she can see what I’m doing. She keeps me accountable.” It’s working. Slowly and steadily Linda is losing weight and meeting her goals. She currently weighs less than she has in many years. When asked what the real secrets to her success are, she said simply, “Journaling, accountability, and exercise.” She exercises twice a day and averages 6,000 steps each day. “I’m on a low-carb diet, but I eat what I want,” she explained. “I just keep track of it now in my journal. Dieting alone just didn’t work for me. It’s the exercise that’s making the big difference.”

Because she’s retired, she has the time to exercise in the morning and again in the afternoon. Instead of the 4:30 wake-up call she was accustomed to when she was working, she now takes it easy and stays in bed until 5:30. “I have so much more energy now. I don’t get winded when I’m walking anymore,” she said. Linda is a real advocate for the health coaching program and Leslie Dredge-Murphy in particular. “I would definitely recommend her – in fact I already have! She’s been very good for me. I don’t want to quit!” She added that she really appreciates what the hospital is doing by providing this service. “We have a weight loss group that meets once a month and more people are becoming involved. With more encouragement, it makes it even better for everyone!”With two sons and their families nearby, a new house under construction, and plenty of friends and activities, Linda’s new-found energy is helping her stay active.

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If you, or someone you know, is interested in health coaching services through RCH’s Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, call 641-464-4534 for an appointment. The service is free to Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patients.

A Health Coach Can Help

Leslie Dredge-Murphy

Leslie Dredge-MurphyIf you were to interview some top professional athletes about their success, chances are they’d give a lot of credit to a coach who helped them along the way. A great coach recognizes someone’s current capabilities as well as their future potential. They can often see opportunities that others might miss. The same is true for Health Coach Leslie Dredge-Murphy, RN, at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic. She works one-on-one with clinic patients to help them meet their potential and reach their life goals. “It’s all driven by our patients,” said Leslie. “We can work on anything they would like to improve. Often its things like weight loss, COPD, or congestive heart failure. But I work with them on anything health related that’s holding them back from having a healthy, happy life.”
Having a Health Coach on staff is relatively new. Although Leslie has been at the clinic for 16 years, she began in this role last April. “It’s a growing trend,” she said. “We’re seeing such a change in healthcare. Instead of just treating the sick, we are now really promoting preventative care. It’s become more important to encourage healthier lifestyles.”

Leslie doesn’t work alone. She’s part of a team that includes the patient and his or her practitioner. “I get a lot of information from our face-to-face meetings,” explained Leslie. “Then I report back to the practitioner so they’re notified on what we’re working on. I keep everyone up to date on each patient’s progress. We are all on the same team and we work together.” Typically Leslie meets with her patients weekly, sometimes in person, sometimes over the phone. Her time is not billed. Her services are an added benefit of being a Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patient. Ringgold County Hospital CEO Gordon Winkler is pleased with Leslie’s coaching and what she brings to clinic patients. “She’s doing a great job. We’re excited to have her in place,” he said. A native of Mt. Ayr, Leslie knew she wanted to live here and raise her family here. When she’s not coaching patients at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, she’s watching other coaches and their teams in action. A busy mother of two teenage sons, Leslie spends her spare time “at every sporting event there is!” Leslie’s health coaching services are available to Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patients. To make an appointment, call: 641-464-4534.