May Employee of the Month loves Boone Hospital’s “family atmosphere”

May 5, 2014

Tori Martin is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for May 2014. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

When Tori Martin returned from a weeklong vacation in Jamaica, her co-workers on the Surgical Specialties unit congratulated her on the exciting news – she had gotten engaged a few days ago.

Tori Martin

Tori Martin

A little later that Monday, the unit had another reason to congratulate Tori, when it was announced that she was Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month.

As a circulating nurse, Tori helps patients check in to the OR, reviews that their paperwork has been correctly completed, assists anesthesiologists, preps the patient for surgery and gets the sterile items that the surgeon and staff need during the procedure.

Tori has worked in this role for a combined total of 6 years. She received her nursing degree at Central Methodist University in Fayette. She was a Boone baby and has grown up in Columbia. Tori’s father, Ray Balulis, had worked in the Plant Operations department for 30 years. He had also been named Employee of the Month, in September 1999.

“My Dad said Boone was the only place to work,” Tori says.

Because Tori and Ray were so close, and she admired her father greatly, she wanted to work where he’d been happy for so many years – and in the place where she grew up.

Tori met her fiancé, Paul Newcom, while working together in the OR. The two love being active outdoors and enjoy travel to any place that’s warm, especially during the winter. After this year’s prolonged chilly weather, a tropical vacation was just what Tori needed.

While away, on the morning of her 30th birthday, Tori celebrated another milestone: “There was a spot on the beach where I would go every morning while we were on vacation. Paul came out to meet me at that spot, and he proposed there. It was sweet – and it was perfect for us.”

When asked what she likes about working at Boone Hospital Center, Tori says she most enjoys working with the surgeons and staff in the OR.

“We definitely have a family atmosphere,” she says. “If you ever need anything, there’s always somebody that’s willing to help you out.”

Tori also credits her supervisor, Heidi Woods, with creating a positive and supportive work environment. Tori’s peers feel the same way about her: last November, she was awarded a Boone Hospital Center Excellence in Nursing Award for Nursing Spirit, which recognizes nurses who have a positive attitude and show eagerness and enthusiasm while providing exceptional patient care.

Tori’s nursing spirit is why she has received her second award in less than a year. When asked about the timing of the announcement, she laughs and says, “I thought, ‘I need to buy a lottery ticket!’”

It just so happened that Paul did buy a lottery ticket that morning, which is extremely rare for him. But Tori assures us, “If we win a million dollars, I’ll still be here.”

Good luck and congratulations, Tori!

Our 2013 Employee of the Year

March 20, 2014

Earlier this month at our Service Awards Banquet, we celebrated our staff who achieved 5, 10, 15, 20 or more years of service in 2013, recognized an employee with 40 years of service, announced our Employee of the Year and Leader of the Year, and presented a special lifetime achievement award to our vice president and chief operating officer, Randy Morrow.

This week, we’d like to share some videos with you about the people who make Boone Hospital Center a special place.

Joni Cupp, Pre-Admitting Surgical Services
Employee of the Year

Coming to the hospital for a surgery creates anxiety for many patients, especially first-timers. Fortunately, Boone Hospital Center has nurses like Joni Cupp. As a registered nurse who works in Pre-Admitting Surgical Services, Joni helps guide patients through the surgery process. She compiles a medical history and tells patients and their families what to expect before, during and after surgery.

Every day, Joni works with patients to make sure that their experience is a positive one from the start and to put their fears at ease. She embodies both the compassion and the quality that make Boone Hospital a great place to receive health care. She truly deserves to be our 2013 Employee of the Year.  

Joni’s teammates couldn’t agree more:

Thank you and congratulations, Joni!

Nurse strives to take the fear out of surgery

October 4, 2013

Joni Cupp is Boone Hospital Center’s Employee of the Month for October 2013. Click here to nominate someone for Employee of the Month.

Coming to the hospital for a surgery creates anxiety for many patients, especially first-timers.

Fortunately, Boone Hospital Center has nurses like Joni Cupp to help make patients feel comfortable and put their fears at ease.

Joni Cupp Oct 2013 EOM“From the moment they walk in the door, if they start off having a good experience from there, you can just tell their anxiety level drops quite a bit,” Joni said.

As a registered nurse who works in Pre-Admitting Surgical Services, Joni helps guide patients through the surgery process. She compiles a medical history and tells patients and their families what to expect before, during and after surgery.

“These patients have received a lot of information from the doctors and then they come to the hospital and get a lot of information here, too. It can almost make your head spin,” Joni said. “So whatever we can do to help them feel better about what they’re coming in for is worth it.”

Joni grew up in Laddonia. After high school, she came to Columbia because she wanted to live in a larger city with more opportunities. She got a job transcribing physicians’ notes at Columbia Surgical Associates. She found that she was very interested in health care and decided to pursue a nursing degree at Central Methodist University.

While at nursing school, she started working part time at Boone Hospital and moved into her current role after graduating.

She is married to Urologist Mike Cupp, MD. They have four children between them, Cari, 19; Lauren, 18; Nathan, 18 and Mason, 17.

Away from the hospital, Joni loves taking outdoors vacations with her family. She also enjoys reading fiction.

She said the best thing about working at Boone is the people she serves alongside.

“It’s the people I work with,” she said. “We have a great group of nurses who work well together as a team.”

Boone Hospital Center tops Consumer Reports Missouri surgery rating

July 31, 2013

Trusted national magazine Consumer Reports has issued a new rating of surgery safety performance at U.S. hospitals, with Boone Hospital Center sharing the highest score in the state.

Untitled-1Boone Hospital was one of two hospitals in the state to earn a solid red dot, the highest score awarded in Consumer Reports’ rating system. According to Consumer Reports, the ratings are based on an analysis of Medicare patient billing claims from 2009-2011. They include 27 categories of scheduled surgeries and various specific procedure types.

“At Boone Hospital Center, our patients’ safety is our utmost focus. We are continually looking at ways to enhance our surgical care and ensure we are providing the best, safest care possible,” said Randy Morrow, interim president of Boone Hospital Center. “It’s rewarding to see this focus on safe surgeries recognized by Consumer Reports. As always, we will continue to look for ways to become even better.”

From the heartland — Quadruple bypass frees farmer from years of pain

May 16, 2013

By Jacob Luecke

This story is featured in the Spring 2013 edition of myBoone Health magazine. Click here for a free subscription.

When you’re running a farm, you can’t let a little pain get in the way of a day’s work.

That’s what Lowell Woods thought five years ago as he was moving cattle from one pasture to another on the 1,300-acre farm he operates with his wife and son in Baring, Mo.

Lowell Woods on his farm near Baring, Mo.

Lowell Woods on his farm in Baring, Mo.

On this day, a few of his cows were being ornery, and Lowell had to hustle to get them to stay moving. As he ran, he felt a sharp pain at the center of his chest.

“That was the first time I noticed it,” Lowell said. “I had to stop and rest a minute but then the pain went away.”

Days later, he was moving hay bales in his barn when the chest pain suddenly came back. Again, he rested and the pain subsided.

And so went the next five years of his life. Every couple days, while doing strenuous work or walking up hills, Lowell would feel the sharp pains. He’d rest and then continue onward.

The thought would creep into his mind that something was probably wrong. But on some days, he felt nothing.

“The reason I put up with this is because I might go a couple days, doing the same kind of work, and not feel any pain in my chest,” he said. “I’d think, ‘this is great, I might be over this.’”

It’s not uncommon for people to ignore pain and other cardiovascular warning signs, said cardiothoracic surgeon Eric Thompson, MD. But that’s a very dangerous behavior.

“With a situation like this, it’s not just that a heart attack could happen. You can die suddenly,” Dr. Thompson said.

He said there are several heart warning signs that should elicit a prompt visit to a family doctor or cardiologist: shortness of breath during exertion, chest pain or discomfort, strange pains in the arms, and pain in neck or back.

When Lowell’s pain kept returning and increasing in intensity, he finally listened to his wife and agreed to come to Boone Hospital Center and get tested.

At Boone, he badly failed a stress test. He was scheduled to come back for a cardiac catheterization, where his cardiologist could look for blockage in his heart.

What they found was shocking — all three of his major coronary arteries were 90-95 percent blocked. He would need quadruple bypass surgery.

The discovery was unwelcome news for Lowell. At 75 years old, he’d already had far more than his share of illness and hospitalization — at just five years old he was nearly killed when a horse stepped on his head, cracking his skull in two places.

Another major operation seemed too much to bear.

Lowell and Darlene Woods

Lowell and Darlene Woods

“I was scared to death; I said I couldn’t go through it,” Lowell said. “But I thought about my wife, Darlene. I’ve got the sweetest wife any man could ever have. I thought, I’ve got to do it for her.”

Woods was immediately admitted to the hospital where he awaited his operation the next day.

At 10 a.m., Lowell was taken into the operating room where his operation, performed by Dr. Thompson, which lasted three hours.

The quadruple bypass was a success. To save a heart patient like Lowell, Dr. Thompson said it takes a team effort that extends well beyond the doctors and nurses. The team includes dozens of other hospital employees.

It’s a team that was recently honored by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons with the three star composite quality rating. That’s the society’s highest rating given to only 15 percent of hospitals nationwide.

“To care for a patient after heart surgery, there are probably 50 different people involved, all working together,” he said. “You need all of them; they each play an essential role.”

Dr. Thompson predicts the combined effort will make a profound impact for Lowell.

“His outlook, with his disease as it was, was very poor,” said Dr. Thompson. “Now, after the surgery, his life expectancy should be the same as the average, healthy 75-year-old.”

After his surgery, Lowell spent a day in the intensive care unit and then four days on the cardiac surgery unit. During this time, Darlene stayed by his side. They loved that Lowell’s hospital rooms included space for family members, including a pull-out couch where Darlene could sleep.

“It was wonderful to be able to be right there,” Darlene said. “I never had to leave.”

Lowell agreed.

“I couldn’t imagine going through that without her there with me,” Lowell said. “It is the nicest place you could ever come for health care. It was absolutely perfect. I had the best care that any person could ever have.”

Today, back on their farm in Baring, the surroundings are the same as always.

Lowell and Darlene have been tending to this land for more than 50 years now. They know it by heart. They know the small streams, the rolling pasture and the level crop fields.

But for Lowell, the experience of walking next to his wife and working the land is entirely different.

“Oh, it’s beautiful. I can walk, I have no pain whatsoever,” he said. “I owe it all to the people at Boone hospital — the doctors, the nurses and every one that saved me.”

National Infertility Awareness Week

April 26, 2013

National Infertility Awareness Week is a time to remember that many couples experience difficulties when starting a family. It’s also a time to raise awareness of the many treatment options available today.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, about 10 percent of women in the United States between the ages of 15-44 have problems getting pregnant or staying pregnant.

For women, a number of physical issues including blocked fallopian tubes and hormone imbalances can cause problems with ovulation, an essential process in conception.

A woman’s age, diet and lifestyle choices can also contribute to infertility.

Physical, environmental and lifestyle choices can also contribute to infertility in men.

Over the years, a number of effective medical treatments have evolved and are now able to help many couples conceive.

Columbia is actually home to Missouri’s most successful fertility clinic. Boone Hospital’s Dr. Gil Wishire has been serving patients in mid-Missouri since 2006.

To speak to a fertility specialist, contact Boone Hospital’s physician referral service at 573-815-6400.

From the moment patient walked into the hospital “I felt like I mattered”

April 24, 2013

By Betsy Lowenberg

Betsy, of Moulton, Iowa, shared this story via the online submission form. Click here to share your story.

I went to see Dr. James Pitt on April 18, 2013, for a consult. He sent me right from his office to Boone for some X-rays and that is where my story started.

flowers and signEveryone in X-ray was amazing and Dr. Brummett looked at my X-ray and knew right away there was a problem.  So he did not send me on my way and make me wait to hear from Dr. Pitt. Knowing that I drove two hours for my appointment, he called Dr. Pitt right then.

I was kept and on Friday, April 19, I had surgery to repair my stomach. From the moment we walked in to that hospital Thursday, I felt like I mattered. I have seen many doctors at home and everyone told me it was nothing and there was nothing wrong. Dr. Pitt was a lifesaver.

I had my surgery and it was worse than they thought once they got in there. After I was out of the OR , according to my husband, Dr. Pitt sat and talked to my husband and my mother-in-law and answered all their questions.

My first night in the surgery floor in room S526 was terrible.  The NG tube made me so sick, but my nurse Tony and the tech assigned to me — I wish I remembered her name, it started with an A — they were wonderful. The concern and care they took with me was so wonderful. And my daytime nurse Jill was just a doll!

They made a bad situation bearable with their kindness, concern and Tony’s humor!  I cannot thank them all enough!

I was away from home and in a scary position but they made me at ease. No doubt about it, we will use Boone as much as we can, even with the two hour drive each way!


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