Tag Archives: physical therapy

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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Shyanne Allen joins Rehab Services

Shyanne Allen is the new Physical Therapist in town! She joined the staff of medical professionals at Ringgold County Hospital in July after earning her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She was born in Iowa City, grew up in Leon, and completed her undergraduate degree in biology at Missouri Valley College.

According to Shyanne, she’s always wanted to have a career in the medical field. “My mother is a Nurse Practitioner, and several of my aunts are nurses. I grew up knowing that this is something I wanted to do.” It was a job in an assisted living facility during high school that put Shyanne on the road to physical therapy. “Part of the reason I chose PT is because I like being able to have one-on-one patient care. I like to see them through all the way to recovery. It’s great to see my patients get better,” she said.

Although Shyanne is a recent graduate and new to RCH, she already has a significant amount of hands-on experience working with all kinds of patients. Her last year at the Medical Center was entirely clinical. She worked for eight weeks in four different places, gaining experience in a hospital, an out-patient clinic, home health, and with acute neuro-rehabilitation. “I really like working in rural health,” said Shyanne. “I get to see everything. We’re not limited to just one kind of patient. I have a special interest in working with patients in geriatrics, vestibular, neurological, and with sports injuries. There’s a lot of variety in physical therapy!”

When she’s not at Ringgold County Hospital, Shyanne and her husband enjoy training horses and competing in rodeos. And like many members of the RCH staff, she’s committed to this community. Both Shyanne and her husband have roots that go back generations. “My grandparents were neighbors of my husband’s grandparents. Our families have been friends for a long time.”

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Replacing Worn-out Joints

Dave Gourley at work

Dave Gourley at work

You could describe Dave Gourley as “active.” He has a full-time job with Ringgold County Secondary Roads, a part-time job assisting a local farmer, and his own 200-acre farm to manage. The 56-year old also has a wife, three children and six grandchildren. So he’s on the go most of the time. “My hobby is work!” he says. So when a “dull throbbing pain” took over his attempts to sleep, and his days were spent limping and dragging his leg around, he knew something needed to be done. After a  referral from his physician Dwain Crain, D.O., Dave met with Shehada Homedan, M.D., Ringgold County Hospital’s orthopedic surgeon. “He said the meniscus, the pad between the ball and the socket in my hip, was just plain worn out. And he recommended a new kind of replacement surgery, Birmingham Hip Resurfacing,” said Dave. Designed for younger, active people, Dave’s surgery was in November 2012, and was the first of its kind performed at RCH.

Dave Gourley

Dave Gourley is back
to work after his second
successful hip replacement

His recovery was long and Dave was anxious to be off his crutches and cleared to go back to work. During this time, he spent hours working with Ruth Smith, PT, in the Physical Therapy department of the hospital. “Actually, the physical therapy begins before the surgery,” he explained. “I started doing specific exercises to build up my leg, hip, and buttocks muscles beforehand. And then I was back at it right after surgery. Ruth was just great. She explained everything, wrote it down, and even provided pictures so I’d know what to do at home. She was very encouraging – although she did get a little stern with me when she needed to.” Dr. Homedan had advised Dave that it would be about two years before he completely forgot about the surgery and recovery process. So he was dismayed when, two years later, his second hip required the same treatment. “I thought, why me? But I realized that it was just something that happens. I’m very active, and I just wore them out.” Knowing what to expect, Dave started seriously exercising to prepare for the surgery. He recovered more quickly and was able to return to work sooner.

“I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Homedan, the surgical staff and the nursing staff,” said Dave. “People in this community ought to be so proud. With the staff and the doctors, I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about. I’ve got nothing against Des Moines, but the fact that I was having the surgeries at home meant so much. It was comforting, and in my opinion, that helps with recovery.”

Dave’s shoulder bothers him from an old high-school wrestling injury. And his knee “sounds like it has gravel in it.” But he knows he can continue to get quality care at Ringgold County Hospital. He jokes, “As long as they keep making replacement parts, I know I’ll be ok!”