*Thoughts from Tom Sharing and Dunking Oreos

*Thoughts from Tom Sharing and Dunking Oreos

MARCH 14, 2014




A few years ago there was a commercial that caught my attention, not just because it was clever, but because I found a message in it as well. It was a commercial for Oreo cookies.

The commercial features three cute girls in pink dance outfits, presumably just finished with a recital or practice. They each have a glass of milk, filled about 1/3 with milk and they are sharing a package of Oreos. They each try to dunk their cookies, but the milk in each of their glasses is too low for them to reach. The commercial goes on talking about the product and then comes back to the girls. They each pour their glass of milk into the middle glass and then all three use that glass to dunk their Oreos.

Teamwork! Individually they couldn’t enjoy their Oreos dunked in milk, but when they worked together they each were able to enjoy their tasty treat. I like this commercial for several reasons. First, it involves Oreos, which have to be, hands down, one of the best snack food products ever created! Secondly, I love the creativity these girls demonstrate. And finally, what a simple, yet meaningful example of the power of teamwork this ad displays.

With all that is going on in healthcare and at Avera Queen of Peace, it is a good time to talk about teamwork, as it is one of the most important elements to our success. That list also includes courtesy, professionalism, excellence of care and education to name a few. Ours is a very complex business. There are many people working in many areas to successfully complete each patient encounter. Whether it is registration, lab, x-ray, nursing, HIMs, dietary, etc., each has to do its job well for the patient’s needs to be met and the customer to be happy. If anyone falls short, we all fall short.

It wasn’t enough for just one girl to contribute her milk, as the amount in the glass was still too low for dunking. It took a total team effort for them to succeed. It is easy for us to focus on our individual jobs and forget that we are just one piece of the total patient encounter. Everyone has to do their part, but just as importantly, everyone needs to make sure their coworkers are successful as well. Our roles must expand beyond our individual tasks and include helping others succeed as well.

We’re all busy. However, take a moment by yourself, or discuss this as part of a department meeting and think about two things. First, how does your task play a part in the patient’s experience? Secondly, how can you help others involved in the patient experience be more successful? Individually we might do well, but collectively we excel.

Our interaction with the patient doesn’t end when the task is complete. Our interaction continues until the next point of service is fully engaged. This needs to continue from area to area until the patient is literally out the door. If we successfully close the loop with each patient, their experience will be enhanced and satisfaction will soar.

You all do a great job and it shows with solid patient satisfaction scores. Our goal is to build on what we already do well and make it better. Be mindful of each other and how you can make each other more successful. As the girls in the Oreo commercial teach us, success is always sweetest when it is shared!


The deadline to place your order for the “Roses...Just Because” fund-raiser has been extended to Wednesday, March 19. If you areinterested in purchasing a dozen longstemmed roses for only $25 to benefit the Diabetes Care Assistance Program, please call the Foundation Office at Ext. 6345 or 2217. You may also order online at Inaddition, there are volunteers in several departments throughout the hospital who are selling roses. Thank you for your continued support!


The Avera Queen of Peace Foundation invites you to a pie and coffee social on Wednesday, March 19, at 3:30 p.m. inthe Community Room at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital. Please call the Foundation (995-5773) to RSVP.

Have you ever asked yourself, “What kind of legacy am I leaving?” God teaches us that life is temporary and everything belongs to Him, yet many of us never consider the lasting legacy we can create. Estate planning may be your largest act of financial stewardship.

The Avera Foundation has enlisted PhilanthroCorp, a premier Christ-centered estate planning firm. Their purpose is to provide estate planning services to people who desire to leave a legacy. Their services are provided at no cost to you. You will meet Rob Kuck, who serves as VicePresident of PhilanthroCorp and is one of the foremost authorities in America onestate planning. Thisis not a fundraising meeting, but simply an opportunity to provide helpful information, as many people are interested in knowing what to do when faced with estate planning challenges.


You are invited to attend a retreat sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters entitled, “Reflections with Julian of Norwich: A Lenten Retreat”. The retreat will be held on Saturday, March 29 from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Benedictine PeaceCenter in Yankton, SD. A $15 donation is requested. To register for the event, or for more information, please contact Sister Jeanne Ranek at or 605-668-6292. The Benedictine Sisters, along with the presentation sisters, are the sponsors of Avera Health.


Sunday, March 30, is Doctor’s Day, and Avera Queen of Peace Hospital will be honoring our physicians on Monday,March 31. Tom Clark, President and CEO, and members of Administrative Council will be at the doctors’ entrance from 6 to 10a.m. to greet physicians, offer refreshments, and present each physician with a token of our appreciation. Thanks to RisëWaldera, Physician Recruiter, and Kari Kirchmeyer, Director of Business Development, for making the arrangements for Doctor’s Day. Please remember to greet the physicians on their special day!


The Avera Employee Wellness Program, To Your Health, offers one-on-one coaching to participants who are interested in working on their health goals. If you have not enrolled in EMPOWERED coaching and you are interested in working with an EMPOWERED coach to set and meet health goals, you can enroll in this program by calling 1-800-996-7018 or you may self-enroll by visiting Avera.org/employeewellness. One-on-one coaching is not for everybody. It is recommended that you enroll in this program only if you feel you would benefit from it. After July 1, 2014, no new enrollees will be allowed into this program. If you are counting on completing this Tier 2 activity, you must enroll in EMPOWERED coaching before July 1! Just a reminder, in order to be eligible for the 2014 Tier 2 wellness incentive, you must have completed Tier 1 and have completed two of the four Tier 2 activities by September 30, 2014 (Tier 2 wellness incentive activities include: tobacco free and biometrics in recommended range, preventative exam, EMPOWERED coaching, Great American Fitness Adventure. A number of the Tier 2 activities are time sensitive so do not wait until September to complete Tier 2 activities as there may not be qualified activities with openings for your participation. Just a reminder…if you are benefits-eligible but not enrolled in the Avera employee health insurance plan or did not complete Tier 1, you can still participate in Tier 2 activities…you are just not eligible for the 2014 wellness incentive associated with Tier 2 activities. If you have questions, contact Amanda Harty at 605-322-5395 or log onto Avera.org/employeewellness.


Pat Reiner, Director of Infection Prevention/Employee Health, reminds all associates to wash their hands according to regulations:

  1. Turn the water on (moderate temp) with the realization that the faucet handles are contaminated
  2. Obtain one application of the provided soap
  3. Lather hands thoroughly for 15-20 seconds (between fingers, thumb and wrists)
  4. Rinse soap from hands thoroughly
  5. Dry hands (while water continues running)
  6. Throw away the used paper towels
  7. AND obtain a dry clean paper towel to turn off the water

Do not use cell phones or radios until after washing your hands. If cell phones or radios become contaminated, antiseptic wipes are available throughout the hospital for disinfection that are safe for the equipment.


Your opinion matters! The Avera Queen of Peace region is conducting a confidential survey through March 28 to gather associate feedback. We want to understand your thoughts about our organization and use your input to make this a better place for you to work. Please set aside 15 minutes to complete the Associate Insight and Engagement Survey, which will be available online through March 28.

The link to the survey is posted on the QNet. To get started, click on the “Engage. Participate. Succeed” image that will take you to the survey, then enter the password and select your work group. The passwords are as follows:

Avera Queen of Peace Hospital and Avera Medical Group associates – AQOP

Avera Brady Health and Rehab and Assisted Living – ABHR

Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital – AWMMC

Weskota Manor Avera – WESMANOR

Avera DeSmet Memorial Hospital – ADMH

Avera St. Benedict Hospital – ASB

We want your feedback on how you feel about your job, supervisor, co-workers, pay and benefits, policies, working conditions, and the Avera mission. This is an online survey only. We hope you are as excited as we are about the opportunity to gather feedback on important associate issues. We achieved 98% participation last year and are striving for 100% participation in this very important effort.


KSFY recently filmed an Avera Medical Minutes at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital featuringRegistered Nurse Carolyn Klinkhammer and Registered Dietitian Nancy Miller. Both are Certified Diabetes Educators and they provide education to people who are newly diagnosed diabetics, those whose doctor has changed their treatment, or those who want a refresher course. These people are able to make an appointment with the Diabetes Educators at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in order to fully understand their medications andchanges in their lifestyle, and to learn more about making healthy food choices.

The numbers ofdiagnosed diabetics is increasing, and diabetes is being diagnosed in younger people every year. Medical providers realize that a diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming, and they count on the Diabetes Educators to work with their patients to learn more about how to manage their diabetes through meal planning, exercise, medication (if necessary), and testing their blood sugar. The Diabetes Educators can teach individuals how to live and live well with diabetes. The good news is that the Avera Queen of Peace Foundation isselling “Roses…Just Because” and all of the proceeds will go to support the Diabetes Care Assistance Program. TheAvera Medical Minute will air on Thursday, March 20, at 10p.m. on KSFY.


Plant Operations announces that we have signed a contract with Mitchell Telecom to provide cable TV services atAvera Queen of Peace Hospital and Avera Brady Health and Rehab. Mitchell Telecom has begun adding someneeded equipment, and our facilities will switch over according to the following schedule: Tuesday, March18, Avera Queen of Peace; Wednesday, March 19, Hospitality House; and Tuesday and Wednesday, March 25 and 26, Avera Brady. Although Mitchell Telecom has a lot of the same line-up as Midcontinent, there willbe some changes, and line-up cards will be distributed as soon as we receive them. Televisions will be reprogrammed at the hospital on March 18 – the day of the switch over. For questions about the hospital and Hospitality House, contact JimBuck , and for questions about Avera Brady, contact Travis Kampshoff.


Angie McCain provided the following Mission story…A mother came in bleeding and the OB physician induced her to ensure safety for the mom and baby. The 36-week infant was borning in the evening and required oxygen support, IV fluids, IV antibiotics, and Level II monitoring. Dr. Jennifer Tegethoff spent all but two hours of that night in the nursery monitoring the baby’s respiratory status and entering orders as needed. Thanks to her dedication, this infant did not need to be transferred to a higher level of care. Dr. Tegethoff is a role model for others and her commitment to patients is just another reason why I am proud to work at Avera Queen of Peace.

Kristi Riggs shares…Recently, we had a family passing through the area who, unfortunately, were involved in an accident on Interstate 90. Three of the four family members in the vehicle required hospitalization at Avera Queen of Peace. This accident made the news in the Daily Republic as many of us saw…however…there was one piece missing. In addition to the four family members, there was also a beloved German Shephard named Tucker who was in the car. Once the EMS arrived and opened the car door, Tucker ran away. The family members were brought to the hospital via ambulance and Tucker was nowhere to be found. Once the family members were admitted to the floor, their conditions and fears settled a bit, they shared what had occurred with Tucker and said they were very afraid that he was hurt and worried that they would never find him. Lisa Sowl, nurse assistant on duty that night, and a dog lover herself, asked their permission to contact Animal Rescue on their behalf to provide a description of Tucker and describe the area where he was lost. The family was overjoyed and accepted her offer. Lisa contacted Animal Rescue the next morning and they went to work right away to find him. Within a couple of hours, they were successful! They found him just north of where the accident occurred. Animal Rescue brought Tucker to the hospital to verify his identity and then took him to Lakeview Veterinary Clinic for a complimentary health check; the family was offered complimentary shelter until the family could take him home. The family has sung the praises of Lisa and the entire Avera Queen of Peace staff provided such excellent care for them. This is a great example of responsiveness in going above and beyond for the customer.

*Avera Chart: Special Information for associates

In order to meet Federal Meaningful Use criteria, Avera must have a Patient Portal and achieve certain usage standards. Meaningful use simply means that we need patients to access and use Avera Chart. Hospitals need at least 5% of patients to access, download, or transmit information during a specified reporting period. Eligible providers need 5% of patients to access the portal plus send or respond to an email. This project is important to all Avera employees. If we do not meet usage standards, Avera stands to lose up to $40 million in Medicare reimbursement. These dollars are tied to jobs, pay raises, facility and technology improvements, and more. If you are an Avera associate, what can you do to help?

  • If you work in registration or admissions, be diligient about gathering patient emails and, when the time comes, help patients enroll. Encourage patients to use the portal.
  • Make sure you fully understand any assigned role you have in the portal.
  • If you are a patient at an Avera hospital or clinic, use the portal! Email your provider and check and respond to emails.

Avera Chart will be rolling out throughout the entire Avera system; Avera Queen of Peace is scheduled for March 31. Avera Chart is completely confidential, convenient, and easy to use. In a user-friendly format, when Avera Chart is fully implemented, you will be able to message your physician, request prescription renewals or changes, review test results, read your physician’s notes about your care, request an appointment, and much more. Avera Chart is a a user friendly Patient Portal and is a new way to communicate with your care team and review your medical record online. Wherever you have internet access, you have access to Avera Chart.

’Round avera queen of Peace

  • Marketing has 10 pairs of tickets to give away for the Mitchell Lions Pancake Jamboree on Saturday, April5, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Gertie Belle Rogers School. Ifyou would like your name placed in a drawing for thisevent, please click on the purple ticket on the home page of Qnet, then click on “Respond to Survey” andcomplete the form. Click on “Finish” when done. Thedeadline for signing up is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March19. Thewinners will be notified via email on Thursday, March 20.
  • Tracy Pardy, Foundation Director, reports how a wonderful donation of $2,600 from Hollywood Style’s Cuts for Cancer has been utilized. 235 cancer center patients have been served a complimentary meal at the Cancer Center. It’s really made a difference in the customer service provided to the patients. The patients have been surprised and pleased and have wonderful things to say about this thoughtful gift. The efforts of the staff at Hollywood Style have really made a difference to 235 people. There is a $1,300 balance remaining which will continue to underwrite the cost of meals.
  • Kay Thomas, Office Manager at Avera Medical Group Optometry, reports that the clinic has begun having monthly webinars on progressive lenses, tints, and other dispensing techniques in response to questions about advancement of education in a previous employee survey.
  • Pat Sudbeck, Director of Education Services/Telemedicine Services/Physician Education, reports the following:
  • Hands-on training on the new Nova Statstrip Glucose Meters will begin on March 12 and 13. Carolyn Klinkhammer and Mary Hieb are working to set up correlation, configuration, and linearity testing of the meters prior to staff training. The go-live date is March 24. Thanks is extended to Tami Hartley from the Lab who is providing Laboratory expertise for the project.
  • Heart Code BLS has been launched to our associates this month. The feedback for the new format has been positive and the level of skill of our associates has been exemplary. The American Heart Association Heart Code BLS Online Course replaces the American Heart Association BLS for Heart Care Provider Course. Forty-five associates have successfully completed the online lesson and have validated their skills with a certified instructer. Cindy Easton and Jean Brown have assisted with skills validation in the new patient simulation center located on the first floor in the Specialty Clinic area. Please call Pat Sudbeck with any questions 995-2462.
  • The 24-hour EMT Refresher was held in February 2014 with support from the Emergency Department, nursing staff, and Jamie Grosdidier. Brenda Bawdon and Susan Ebert presented on postpartum hemorrhage including risk factors, what to watch for, and how to treat in the prehospital setting. Brenda provided a real-life case scenario with the simulation mannequin. EMS personnel participated in the scenario and addressed the critical elements to this emergent situation. Jamie Grosdidier presented education on EMS medications, age-appropriate dosages, and their indications.
  • Over 80 community members are served with the outreach blood pressure clinic and health education every month. Jan Koch, RN, and Lonna Miller, LPN, shared information on pain management to the clients in residential housing facilities and James Valley Community Center. Department statistics: 79 eConsult appointments - 39 inpatients and 39 outpatients; diabetic education - 24 outpatients and 2 inpatients; ostomy education - 1 inpatient; Lovenox education - 2 inpatients.
  • Angie McCain and Kristi Riggs report that consolidated unit continues to be very busy since the move on February 7. Staff is working well as a team and Kristi, Angie, and Lisa Williams have been reviewing various topics and have identified and selected best practices.
  • Process Excellence has been completed in the Maternal Care Center which will increase efficiency and eliminate over-ordering which will equal a cost savings as the result will be minimal outdates.
  • Kristi Riggs and Angie McCain are developing a three-hour clinical enhancement scheduled for March 20 for all Medical/Surgical/Pediatric staff which will include five stations: SE, ortho, peds, preop checklist/sepsis, and quality measures.
  • Janet Jackson, Gail Lundeen, and Jane Sexton are sharing a breastfeeding educational opportunities with patients: Gail Lundeen and Stacy Hohn will lead the monthly breastfeeding support group.
  • Melonnie Gregerson reports the following Social Services received 129 referrals during February and, in addition, monitored 68 Medicaid patients through the inpatient hospitalization notification process. Social Services received five referrals for advanced directives during February. Seventeen patients were enrolled in the Care Transitions program and there was one palliative care referral. Chaplaincy Services is staffed each weekday to cover both Same Day Services and inpatient nursing areas. The department is also staffed on Saturday and Sunday mornings and there is coverage 24/7 via pager. Two chaplains have been hired and are being trained and a second social worker is being hired.
  • Dr. Matthew Christiansen is our region’s representative on the Avera Behavioral Health Services line steering committee.