March Employee of the Month says, ‘It’s more than a job… it’s a calling.’

March 4, 2015

Gayle Hoelscher is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for March 2015. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

After being a nurse on Boone Hospital Center’s oncology unit for nearly twenty years, Gayle Hoelscher wouldn’t want to work anywhere else – in fact, she knew this before she started her first day on the floor. Gayle says, “When I first applied at Boone Hospital Center, it was specifically for a nursing position on the oncology floor.”

Gayle Hoelscher

Gayle Hoelscher

Gayle’s interest in oncology started while working toward her associates in nursing degree at Central Methodist in Fayette, when she completed her clinical rounds at Columbia Regional Hospital.

“When I was in nursing school, everybody I knew thought I’d go into pediatrics, because I took care of kids,” Gayle says. She began her nursing education at 40, completing prerequisite courses at Columbia College during the evening, and providing childcare in her home during the day as well as raising her three sons. “When the kids were studying, I’d be studying,” she says.

Gayle’s first experience caring for cancer patients and their families inspired her. “Cancer doesn’t only affect the patient,” she says. “It affects their loved ones. You’ll have people staying with the patient overnight, and they need help, too. I like taking care of patients and families – I don’t care if it’s just getting someone a cup of coffee, taking the trash out of a patients’ room, or making someone some toast or hot tea at 2 in the morning. They might say, ‘That’s not your job,’ but my job is to do anything for them.”

Gayle has worked the night shift most of the time and says she enjoys the cooperation and support among other night nurses. “We have each other to depend on,” she says. “If a nurse has a patient who’s critically sick, we’re all involved, whether you’re helping that patient or covering for a nurse’s other patients.”

She also likes the pride that she and her teammates take in their unit and the care they provide.

“I like that I’ve worked with some of the same people for 10 or 15 years,” she says. “Sometimes it can be tough working on an oncology floor, because we do lose patients, and sometimes they can be very young. But again, you’re there for the patient and their family. I think if you continue to work this long on a unit like this, it’s more than a job. I feel like it’s a calling.”

Gayle also takes pride in the quality of care Boone Hospital Center’s physicians and staff provide all of its patients. “I think we have the best of both worlds here. We have a close community, and we also offer the type of care that they provide in Saint Louis or Kansas City. And I think our physicians do what’s best for the patient.”

Gayle grew up in Jefferson City and has called Columbia home for the last 30 years.

When not working, Gayle likes to stay active at the WELLAWARE Fitness Center and gets together with a group of friends once a month for dinner, as they’ve been doing since their children were little. She enjoys spending time and visiting with her three sons, Scott, Jason and Matthew, and her three grandchildren, and traveling with her husband Larry to a different part of the world each year.

February Employee of the Month enjoys improving patient care

February 4, 2015

Jenn Bronson is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for February 2015. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

“When I encounter an opportunity for improvement, I enjoy working with my team to create a solution,” says Jenn Bronson, Outcomes Coordinator, Cardiology, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery.

As an Outcomes Coordinator, Jenn works with other nurses, social workers and case management staff to develop the best discharge plan for patients who’ve undergone cardiothoracic surgery.

Jennifer Bronson

Jennifer Bronson

Jenn joined Boone Hospital Center as a patient care tech on the Cardiothoracic Surgery unit in 2002, while in her junior year at University of Missouri Columbia. “I wanted to get a year of direct patient contact experience before graduating with a nursing degree, and I was attracted to Boone Hospital Center’s excellent reputation in the community,” she says.

After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in 2003, Jenn was offered a floor nurse position on the same unit. In 2009, she was offered the Outcomes Coordinator position, a role she retained when the Cardiothoracic Surgery and Cardiology units merged in November 2013.

Jenn says she enjoys working together with physicians and staff on her unit and in other hospital areas to find new ways to improve the care and discharge process for patients. She likes creating new procedures and improving processes using technology. “When new technologies become available, Boone takes the lead.”

She says, “I enjoy training staff, and seeing the benefits of this work through the best possible outcomes for our patients.”

Jenn also enjoys photography and has won several prizes for her work in Boone Hospital Center’s annual employee photo contest. She also likes tending to her iris garden, camping and spending time with her husband Matt, seven-year-old daughter Erica, and four-year-old son Andrew.

Health care is a fast-paced field with constant changes, but Jenn enjoys the challenge and knows why it’s important to stay on top of the latest technology – to provide patients with excellent care.

“I find it rewarding to make a positive difference in someone’s life,” she says.

January Employee of the Month is inspired by her patients

January 6, 2015

Mung Chin is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for January 2015. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

When Mung Chin saw a job posting for an oncology staff nurse in late 2010, she thought “That might be something I like.” She applied, interviewed and joined Boone Hospital Center in January 2011.

Four years later, she says, “My intuition was right.” Mung has stayed with oncology and is now the nurse navigator for the Stewart Cancer Center. As a nurse navigator, she provides support for newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families, providing education, identifying possible barriers to treatment, and connecting patients with resources to remove those barriers. The ultimate goal is to help cancer patients complete treatment without becoming overwhelmed or getting lost in the system.

Mung Chin, RN

“I help navigate cancer patients through the health care labyrinth,” she explains. Mung enjoys being able to work with patients on a continual basis, before and after staying in the Stewart Cancer Center. “I definitely like the opportunity I have to work with patients and families after they leave the hospital. You get to see their whole lives. I feel like my role is well-rounded.”

Before coming to Boone Hospital Center, Mung had worked as a staff nurse on a medical surgery unit. She earned her associates degree in nursing at Columbia College in 2009, and later completed her bachelor’s in 2013. Prior to becoming a nurse, Mung had moved to Columbia from Singapore in 2004. She worked in customer service and enjoyed her job assisting people, but says, “I kept thinking ‘Something is missing.’ Being a nurse brings me a higher, more rewarding feeling. In the hospital, you may see someone at their worst, but you also see them at their best at the same time. You see their hope and their willingness to do whatever it takes not just for themselves but for their families. It’s very touching.”

In addition to being able to make a diference in the lives of patients and their families, Mung enjoys the teamwork and support she receives from her co-workers and medical staff in her role as nurse navigator.

“When someone is diagnosed and stressed out, you can’t expect them to wait two weeks for an appointment,” she says. “The collaboration I have with physicians and other hospital departments is great. I work closely with Nuclear Medicine, for example. If there are changes to a patient’s schedule, they always work with me. They’re so supportive.”

Mung also appreciates the support from hospital leadership in furthering her education as a nurse, both in completing her BSN and in learning on the job: “My position is our first nurse navigator role. There’s a lot to learn. But everyone I talk to and approach with questions has been very supportive and is willing to teach.”

December Employee of the Month supports the orthopedic surgery team

December 3, 2014

Brenda Singleton is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for December 2014. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

On a typical day in Boone Hospital Center’s Orthopaedics Specialties unit, there can be many patients arriving to the floor before and after joint surgeries. Unit Secretary Brenda Singleton prepares the nurses and patient care techs to treat the patients before they arrive, assisting with room assignments, setting up means to contact members of a patient’s care teams, entering orders, answering phones and working with our orthopedic surgeons and other physicians.

“My job is primarily multitasking,” Brenda says. “I make sure everything is running smoothly so that the charge nurse doesn’t have to worry about every minor detail and can do exactly what they need to do to care for a patient.”

Brenda Singleton

Brenda Singleton

Brenda, a Boone baby who grew up in Columbia and attended Hickman High School, joined the Boone Hospital Center team in August 2012. She had previously worked elsewhere as a medical coder.

She says, “I was looking for a job in a hospital setting, where I could work around patients. The unit secretary position was a good fit, and I was excited to get hired here. I really like the people I’m surrounded by, both my co-workers and our patients. I think Boone takes really good care of their employees. Everyone’s extremely friendly and will help you and answer your questions. You just feel like everyone here is nice and easy to talk to – that’s something that’s hard to find.”

Brenda has two daughters; the oldest lives in Columbia with Brenda’s 3-year-old granddaughter, and the youngest is a Navy officer living in California with her husband and Brenda’s second granddaughter, now 2 years old. “I really enjoy being a grandmother,” Brenda says.

She also enjoys reading mystery and thriller novels and watching movies, particularly small, independent movies, and is a supporter of Ragtag Cinema in downtown Columbia.

“I love Columbia,” Brenda says. “I always have. This is a great area to a raise family, with a great hospital.”

Brenda admits she wasn’t ever expecting to be selected as Boone Hospital Center’s newest Employee of the Month, but says she is very grateful that her teammates thought of her and nominated her for this honor: “You don’t come to work expecting an award. You do your job and hope you’re doing your best for the patients.”

November Employee of the Month enjoys caring for everyone in our community

November 4, 2014

Ty Hamilton is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for November 2014. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

As a respiratory therapist, Ty Hamilton’s skills are needed on every inpatient unit at Boone Hospital Center.

“We work with the entire population, from neonates to geriatrics,” he says. “One day I may be in the labor and delivery unit watching someone being born and then, that same night, taking care of someone near the end of life.”

Ty Hamilton

Ty’s role involves, as he puts it, “anything having to do with breathing,” a range that goes from treating patients for asthma or allergic reactions to running a patient’s life support equipment.

Born and raised in southeast Missouri, Ty came to Columbia as a student at the University of Missouri Columbia. He first experienced Boone Hospital Center while shadowing respiratory therapists, after he decided he wanted to enter the University’s respiratory therapy program.

Ty found he liked living in Columbia, particularly for its diversity. After graduating, he applied for a respiratory therapist position and joined the Boone Hospital Center team in January 2002.

Ty has worked on the night shift all 12 years, but he doesn’t mind it. “It took a while to get acclimated to it,” he says, “But it’s not bad.”

Among the many reasons he likes working at Boone Hospital Center, Ty says he enjoys caring for a variety of patients.

“I like the infusion of people from the community,” Ty says. “The patients who come here like this hospital. They brag about this hospital. And you build a rapport with some patients.”

He also enjoys the teamwork both in the respiratory therapy department and across all areas of the hospital, from patient care to maintenance, in taking care of patients.

Ty enjoys spending most of his free time with his children, Taylor and Kyren, fishing in conservation areas around mid-Missouri, and watching basketball games.

Above all, Ty says that he takes prides in being part of Boone Hospital Center. “It’s been wonderful watching Boone grow,” he says. “That’s one of the best things about working here.”

October Employee of the Month: “I can be myself at Boone.”

October 1, 2014

Jeanine Hickman is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for October 2014. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

When Jeanine Hickman was told that she was Boone Hospital Center’s October Employee of the Month, she did a literal victory dance, high-fiving her many co-workers who had gathered in the Boone Appetít Café for the announcement. Known for her outgoing personality, great customer service and sense of humor, neither the award nor her reaction were a surprise to those who’ve met Jeanine.

“I can be myself here at Boone,” she says. “I don’t have to pretend to be anyone but Jeanine – and I’m happy to be me.”

Jeanine Hickman

Jeanine Hickman

Jeanine joined the Boone Hospital team in early 2013, working part-time as a cashier and barista at Boone Appetít. She later went full-time in the cafe, until May this year, when she accepted a position in the hospital’s catering department, preparing and serving food for meetings, special events and other activities. “I started on the first floor making coffee, then I went upstairs to make sandwiches,” she says.

Jeanine grew up in Malden, a small town in southeast Missouri, as the youngest of 25 children. Upon graduating high school in 1996, she had lived for a couple of years in Columbia, then moved to Saint Louis. She later returned to mid-Missouri in August 2010, to provide a change of environment for her young daughter. While living in Saint Louis, she had worked at another BJC hospital, Missouri Baptist.

When she’s not working, Jeanine loves spending time with her daughters Natalie, 8, and Lily, 2. “My spare time is all about my girls. We sing and dance around the house. We do girl stuff all the time, dress up, put on make-up. I love being with my girls.”

Jeanine says she loves everything about working at Boone Hospital Center. Working at Boone Appetít, she quickly made friends with regular customers, including co-workers, patients and family members, winning them over with her positive attitude. “If I can make your day, I’m here to make your day,” she says.

She was so well-liked by her regular customers that, when Jeanine first moved to the catering department, people dropped by the Nutrition and Food Services office to ask where she went.

While she may miss her customers, Jeanine also loves working in the catering department, and takes great pride in making delicious and beautiful-looking food: “I like what I do. This job shows my variety and what I’m capable of doing outside of making white chocolate mochas.

“With caramel,” she adds, laughing.

Jeanine, who began working as a teenager, says that without a doubt, Boone Hospital Center has been her favorite place to work.

“The Boone atmosphere is amazing. Everybody is so friendly, and everybody is treated like an individual,” she says. “I’m so excited to be here – I know I keep saying that, but I really am.”

September Employee of the Month loves teaching and learning on the ICU

September 5, 2014

Sharon Acra is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for September 2014. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

When Sharon Acra and her family moved to Columbia, she interviewed for a staff nurse position at three hospitals in the area. “Boone was the one that impressed me the most,” she says.

Sharon Acra

Sharon Acra

The feeling was mutual; Sharon joined the Boone Hospital Center family in July 1998 and has worked in the Intensive Care Unit for the subsequent 16 years. She enjoys being a nurse on the ICU, working with her patients and the opportunities to learn something new every day – or every night, rather, since she works the third shift.

As a staff nurse on the unit, Sharon takes part in the orientation of new hires, training recent nursing school graduates and educating nursing school students. She enjoys working on the night shift with many of the newer hospital employees. “They’re fun and have a fresh perspective on things,” she says.

Additionally, Sharon serves as a community representative for Boone Hospital Center, providing blood pressure screenings to residents of The Terrace Retirement Community in Columbia.

Sharon was born in Saint Louis, but moved to several places while her husband served in the U.S. Navy. While he was stationed in Connecticut, she received her Associates Degree in Nursing at a local community college. She later earned her BSN through the University of Missouri, inspired to further her education when her second daughter enrolled at the Sinclair School of Nursing.

“I decided she was not going to beat me to a bachelor’s degree,” Sharon says. “I did the RN-BSN program online at Mizzou, she did the traditional program, and we graduated on the same day.”

Sharon’s three daughters live with their families in Jacksonville, Florida, and she has two grandchildren that she adores and visits often. She loves to bowl and recently joined a local senior bowling league – “You only have to be 50 to join!” she says – where she enjoys listening to other bowlers’ stories and picking up some good bowling tips, as well

When asked what she enjoys most about working at Boone Hospital Center, Sharon says, “I work with some wonderful people. I have to give credit to the people I work with for being chosen for Employee of the Month. We have an excellent team, and they encourage and assist me to be a better nurse.”


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