“Amazing attitudes and compassion”: A father’s gratitude

May 16, 2014

By Daniel and Amy Neale

Daniel, of Columbia, shared his story using our online submission form. Click here to share your story.

Our son Cooper was born at Boone Family Birthplace at 37 weeks on April 22, 2014 by emergency C-section and was in the ICN until the following Saturday, April 26.

Amy Neale with son Cooper

Amy Neale with son Cooper

First off, we would like to tell you how much we enjoyed the staff and what a great job they did. Dr. Merrihew showed a great level of care and went above and beyond to keep us posted throughout the first night and following days. She was great at explaining our son’s level of care and steps involved. She showed great dedication to the care of the patients, families and the ICN.

Two of your staff members stood out above the rest: Emily Kvitle was great with our son and very knowledgeable as well as able to answer any question we had clear and thoroughly. She showed a great compassion for the children and was on top of their care. Molly Jaecques really left a lasting impression with us – she was absolutely amazing. My wife had a placental abruption while Molly was her nurse. When Molly discovered this, she was perfectly calm and handled the situation with total confidence. Her actions and level head kept my wife calm during what could have been a very upsetting situation. She showed amazing skills and knowledge while keeping a smile and pleasant atmosphere. We cannot say enough great things about Molly.

These two are great assets to the family birthplace, and while their skill set may be replaceable, their amazing attitudes and compassion for the care they give is not. Please recognize and pass along our greatest and most sincere gratitude to these two outstanding individuals.


Mother Knows Best: Birthplace Moms Connect With Their Patients Through Shared Experiences

May 11, 2014

By Jacob Luecke

This story is featured in the Spring 2014 edition of myBoone Health magazine. Click here for a free subscription.

Marla Owen and her family

Marla Owen, RN and her family

As a nurse with 16 years of experience helping deliver babies, Marla Owen has witnessed the miracle of birth hundreds of times. Yet, there are three deliveries in particular that inspire her on a daily basis: the births of her three sons.

Luke, 13, Cale, 11, and Andrew, 18 months, were all born at the Boone Family Birthplace. Each day as she serves patients at Boone Hospital, Owen is reminded of how her own nurses gave words of encouragement, helped take pictures and celebrated by her side as her children were born.

Now, in her nursing work, she tries to provide that same level of care to the women and families at the birthplace.

“There is not a more special, exciting time than the day and the moment when your children are born,” Owen says. “I want all the moms that I care for to have the good memories of the day their children were born. I certainly do and it’s because of the care I received from my friends and coworkers.”

The other mothers who serve patients at the Boone Family Birthplace share that sentiment. They empathize as their patients endure contractions. They share in the joy of seeing a child’s face for the first time. They relate to worries and fears new parents often have. All of these are familiar emotions because they’ve experienced them all firsthand.

Rebecca Romero-Perez and Anderson

Rebecca Romero-Perez and Anderson

“I believe that my experience as a mom helps me tremendously to be a better nurse,” birthplace nurse Rebecca Romero-Perez says. “I can actually relate to my patients with what they are going through, physically and emotionally. There are times that I even share my own personal stories with my patients and it helps us to bond over our common experiences.”

Romero-Perez has served patients at the Boone Family Birthplace for more than six years, and she’s always had an interest in birth and infants.

“I always knew that I wanted to work with pregnant women and babies,” she says. “The whole labor and delivery process is simply amazing!”

She has three sons at home, Aidan, 8, Ashton, 5 and Anderson, 16 months. “I’m thrilled to say that each one of them is a Boone Baby!” she says.

As she helps welcome new children into the world each day, she often reflects back to when her own boys were brand-new.

“Being around babies at work makes me think of my boys when they were little,” Romero-Perez says. “On occasion I’ll see a baby that resembles my boys, and it’s always so sweet to see. It’s also cool to see a baby that weighs the same as my boys. It’s so crazy to think that they were once that exact same size.”

Owen says she feels the same way. She, too, is often reminded of her children as newborns.

“I love remembering what it was like the day they were born, what they looked like and how they sounded when they cried,” she says. “I feel extremely lucky that I get to share these experiences with the families I care for during their birth experiences.”

Jennifer Roelands, MD, with twins Blake and Brooklyn

Jennifer Roelands, MD, with twins Blake and Brooklyn

While the celebration of new life is one of the greatest joys of working in the Boone Family Birthplace, some caregivers also have experienced personally the complications that sometimes come with labor and birth. This has given them a great level of compassion with patients facing similar issues.

Two years ago, Jennifer Roelands, MD, with Women’s Health Associates, came close to delivering her twins at 31 weeks gestation. She was put on bed rest — not always the most comfortable experience. However, the precaution worked and she made it to 34 weeks before delivering her twins, who were cared for in Boone Hospital’s Intensive Care Nursery.

“I think about my labor experience every time I am involved in someone else’s labor, especially preterm babies,” Dr. Roelands says. “I often think about the fear and uncertainty that preterm babies cause mothers and try to impart my story to them when appropriate because I think when people are scared they want to feel like they are not the only one.”

Dr. Roelands’ twins, Blake and Brooklyn, now 2, joined her older sons, Aidan, 7, and Logan, 4. Aidan was born before the family moved to mid-Missouri. Her three youngest were born at Boone Hospital.

“Being around babies always makes me think of my kids,” she says. “I love holding the newborns when my patients come in for their postpartum check. I like to see how they have grown and see how they have changed.”

Boone Family Birthplace caregivers also say their experience raising children has given them a greater understanding about how to care for patients.

“I think that being a mom teaches you a lot about compassion and anticipating the needs of others,” Owen says. “You certainly have to put the needs of others — like your children — before your own needs. You also have to learn to be organized. I see these qualities in my coworkers and the nurses that I want to be like.”

While working in the Boone Family Birthplace makes every day a celebration of motherhood, these caregivers say they are looking forward to Mother’s Day. Like all moms, they say they enjoy the opportunity to rest, receive homemade gifts and eat a good meal.

Dr. Roelands says she plans to do the cooking.

“I love to cook and it makes me happy when the kids want me to make breakfast for them,” she says.

Romero-Perez shares this wish: “Every mother should get to feel like a queen on Mother’s Day.”


A Mother’s Influence

May 5, 2014

By Kelsey Hoffmann

This story is featured in the Spring 2014 edition of myBoone Health magazine. Click here for a free subscription.

They pulled up to the hospital at 11 a.m. With no air conditioning, the car was sweltering hot, but she did not mind. She was just excited that her dad let her come along to pick mom up from work. But as the minutes passed by, the excitement dwindled. After 45 minutes of waiting, her dad let out a groan and uttered, “These nurses work too hard.”

Memories like these have stuck with Laura Noren. Spending her childhood observing her mom’s work ethic taught Laura invaluable lessons and has molded her into the nurse she is today.

Laura Noren and her mother, Ann, visit Boone Hospital Center's nursery.

Laura Noren and her mother, Ann, visit Boone Hospital Center’s nursery.

Getting on board

Throughout her career, Laura, who has worked at Boone Hospital Center since 1992, has taken on positions and challenges that have pushed her to exceed expectations. In February, the work ethic that her mother instilled in her proved beneficial when she was nominated to the Missouri State Board of Nursing.

In the summer of 2013, one of Laura’s sisters, Wendy, put the idea in her mind to apply for the board.

“My family has always been politically minded,” Laura said. “My father was director of Missouri Department of Conservation for many years, and I grew up in that kind of culture. My sister is also a public servant as the Boone County clerk.”

The political drive she learned from her father and the passion for nursing she inherited from her mother had Laura intrigued by the possibility of serving on the board. However, she knew it would mean a significant time commitment, so before she did anything she had a conversation with Dr. Mary Beck, vice president and chief nursing officer. After receiving her full support, Laura applied.

In February, she got the call that Gov. Jay Nixon nominated her for the board.

“I was very excited,’ Laura said. “I called my sister first. I let my husband know, too, but I called Wendy first.”

Laura will serve on the board until June 1, 2016. During that time, she and eight other board members will oversee the 130,000 nurses in the state of Missouri.

“[The nomination] is beneficial to the hospital and BJC because I will have a better understanding of what the profession expects,” Laura said. “The board oversees the rules and regulations. There have been times we are making decisions here, and we will contact the state board of nursing for an interpretation. I think being on the board will help me gain insight of how they view things, which will in turn help the hospital.”

Stealing the show

In February, Laura went to Jefferson City, Mo., for Sen. Kurt Schaeffer to introduce her to the senate and have her nomination approved. Laura and her small entourage of her mom, her best friend, Dr. Beck and Monica Smith, the Boone Hospital cardiac and cardiothoracic surgery service line director, had the honor of attending a ceremony at the capital and touring the governor’s office. But Laura admits the experience would not have been the same without her mom.

“She kind of stole the show a bit,” Laura said. “Everyone was impressed with her career and her influence.”

Laura was happy to share the glory. After all, it was her mother who led her to nursing and guided her through her career.

Like mother, like daughter

Laura’s mother, Ann Noren, 92, was a nurse in World War II before settling in Jefferson City with her husband, Carl. Ann soon got a job at St. Mary’s Health Center and, over time, worked her way to become what would be referred to as today as director of women’s and children’s health.

Ann was well respected by her colleagues and was often described as a great mentor. Laura would be the first to confirm her mother’s natural ability to guide nurses.

“She actually gave me my first job,” Laura said. “Back in the days when you could hire your own children.”

In 1969, Laura started working under her mother as a nursing aide in the newborn nursery. It was during this time that Laura absorbed many lessons from her mother.

“She was very calm and very respectful,” Laura said. “She was fair and hardworking. She didn’t ask anything of her staff that she wouldn’t jump in and do.”

Laura learned patience, determination and leadership skills from her mother. In February, her mother’s influence on her career became even more evident when Laura accepted the position of service line director of women’s and children’s health at Boone Hospital Center.

“I think my mom is really excited that it’s come full circle and that I am going to be doing this,” Laura said.

Preparing the next generation

Laura’s mom has been happy to see her daughter succeed in so many different areas of nursing.

“I think sometimes I baffle her about the different things that I pick up because really these opportunities weren’t there when she was a nurse,” Laura said.

With her great accomplishments and her natural ability to lead, Laura has proved that she, like her mother, is capable of preparing nurses for a successful career.

“I have wonderful staff who are newer in their roles, and I really enjoy trying to help them learn and teach and grow,” Laura said. “My goal is to step out of the way and let somebody else step in.”

Continuing to serve

Laura does not know what will happen after her position with the board is finished, but she hopes to spend the rest of her career at Boone Hospital Center.

“I’m a true Boonie,” she said. “I am very loyal to this hospital and care about it deeply. It’s a family. It sounds so catchy, but it’s true. People care about each other here.”

Even after retirement, there is a good chance she will not give up her love of nursing. Laura’s mother served at hospitals, including Boone Hospital Center, until her late 80s. Laura seems to have adopted her drive.

“It’s hard to complain or feel like you are overwhelmed or tired or something because you look at her and go, well… never mind,” Laura said. “If she can do it, I can do it.”


Our Maternal Child Health team is looking for a new member.

April 18, 2014

At Boone Hospital Center we stress the importance of building a strong team that will support, encourage and challenge you to be your best.

Cindy Bracht, Megan Perry and Jody Miller

Cindy Bracht, Megan Perry and Jody Miller

Cindy Bracht, Megan Perry and Jody Miller each play their roles within Maternal Child Health and understand the importance of working together.

“You have to have a good team base,” Jody says. “We’re a very close unit. We are like a family.”

In addition to building internal relationships, our nurses enjoy providing compassionate and thorough care to our tiniest patients and their mothers.

“We are a very happy place. Being able to be a part of someone’s starting a new family is amazing,” Jody says.

Click here to learn about how you can join the Boone Hospital team.


A new mother’s gratitude: “Thank you for saving our baby”

December 6, 2013

By Kyndal Riffie

Kyndal, of Columbia, shared this story via the online submission form. Click here to share your story.

I was 32.5 weeks pregnant and at Boone Hospital, where I work, on an ordinary Monday when my coworker Nancy Schuenemeyer emailed me to ask how I was feeling.

Baby Caz

Baby Caz

I was feeling a little “off” that morning and thought my son’s kicks weren’t happening as often. But since I had just finished a very busy weekend, I thought it was due more to my inattentiveness than to anything bad.

Throughout the day, Nancy continued to check on me and encouraged me to call my doctor or go to Labor and Delivery to get checked out. Near the end of the workday, I reluctantly went with her to L&D for fetal monitoring.

Nancy knew I was refusing to call my husband since I thought I was overreacting, so she stayed with me for over two hours. In the end, my son had to be delivered that night, almost 7 1/2 weeks early and he was very, very sick. Without Nancy’s urging, I would have gone home that night — and who knows what would have happened?

When baby Caz was born, he spent a month in the Intensive Care Nursery being cared for by the most amazing doctors and staff. We literally trusted them with our son’s life and even though that was a very scary month, I am grateful for the time we spent getting to know his caregivers. These doctors and staff may spend their days and nights in a locked unit most people don’t ever see, but they all deserve to be recognized for the excellent care they provide.

Finally, I more fully understand what “The Boone Family” means. While Caz was cared for by the ICN staff, I was cared for by my fellow employees. Not a day went by where someone at Boone didn’t make sure my husband and I were okay.

From one staff member to many others, thank you for saving our baby. Thank you for making my family and I feel a part of the Boone Family. I can’t imagine getting to work with a better group of people.


One day, two special gifts

October 9, 2013

By Jacob Luecke

Click here for a free subscription to myBoone Health magazine.

Shauna Stafford was expecting an exciting day on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 8, as she arrived at Boone Hospital Center to give birth to her first child.

But she only knew half of what was coming that day.

Bruce Gilbert and Shauna Stafford with their daughter, Kinsley Taylor.

Bruce Gilbert and Shauna Stafford with their daughter, Kinsley Taylor.

Just before 2 p.m., she and boyfriend Bruce Gilbert welcomed their daughter, Kinsley Taylor. She is a perfect baby, weighing 8 pounds, .08 ounces. She is 22 inches long.

Shortly after Kinsley’s birth, Bruce put his plan into action.

He had secretly packed an engagement ring in his hospital bag. He wanted his new daughter to help him pop the question.

Bruce’s cousin had made a special onesie for Kinsley emblazoned with the phrase “Mommy, Will you marry my Daddy?” Attached to the onesie is a sentimental toy ring the couple won on a trip earlier in their relationship.

“After we had our baby, I told our nurse what would happen and asked her if she could help us get the onesie on,” Bruce said. “She said, ‘Oh yeah, definitely.”

When their nurse, Marla Owen, RN, took Kinsley out of the room for standard testing, she dressed the newborn in the special onesie. She then swaddled Kinsley for scrub tech Tami Held to bring back to her mother.

When Shauna unswaddled her daughter, it took her a moment to understand what was happening — then she saw Bruce down on one knee.

DSC_0036“I read it, but it didn’t quite click, then I saw my whole family standing up with cameras. And he’s down on the floor crying, and I just covered my face and bawled like a baby,” she said.

She said yes.

One day later, Shauna said it was certainly a day to remember.

“It was very eventful,” she said. “It’s a day we won’t forget.”

The couple plans to take their time with wedding planning and just enjoy the moment with their new family. Kinsley also has a half brother, age five.

Shauna and Bruce said their care at the Boone Family Birthplace was great, especially the nurse who helped Bruce carry out his proposal plan.

“Marla is awesome,” Bruce said. “She went above and beyond.”

Marla said she enjoyed being part of their doubly special day.

“I have never experienced anything like that. It was so cool,” she said. “They are just a sweet fun couple and the whole family is amazing. It was just so happy.”


Mother of five: “They made each and every one of my birth experiences special!”

August 23, 2013

By Heather Shay

Heather, of Boonville, shared this story via myBoone Health submission form. Click here to share your story.

Heather ShayI have nothing but good things to say about Boone Family Birthplace! I have had five babies there and the experience with all five has been amazing.

My oldest son was born there in 2002! He spent a week in the NICU where he received lots of loving care by the best nurses! As hard as it was to leave him there, I knew he was in the best hands! They did an amazing job making sure I felt comfortable and always knew what was going on.

In 2008, we welcomed son number two. In 2010, our first daughter joined our family! In 2011, we were once again blessed with amazing care as we had our third boy! Just 12 weeks ago, on May 30, we welcomed our fifth and final baby! Our little girl gave us a little bit of a scare during labor but thanks to Dr. Kevin Jones and the amazing nurses she arrived safely!

I can’t remember all of the nurses names we’ve had over the years but I do know they are all amazing! They made each and every one of my birth experiences special!!


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