Journeys, Winter 2013

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“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice …” – William Jennings Bryan

FALL 2012

JOURNEYS Modern marvel



ON THE COVER: Steve Minarick shows off his life-sustaining LVAD with Dr. Richard Thompson and Dr. Mathue Baker. FROM OUR PRESIDENT


NEW AT BRYAN Thanks to LVAD, for Steve, life’s no longer an uphill climb


BRYAN HEART Award-winning heart care PET/CT imaging benefits heart patients

10 NEW AT BRYAN The best decision I ever made Bryan Bariatric Advantage helping navigate a new life

Join Facebook to follow perfusionist Vic Grdina (left), Dr. Robert Oakes and nurse Sheryl Sanders in Rwanda.

14 BRYAN FOUNDATION Memory of young Caleb lives on with anesthesia scholarship

From Nebraska to Africa, Bryan Health changes lives

16 BRYAN FOUNDATION Profile of Jim and Suanne Stange, builders for tomorrow 18 WOMEN’S & CHILDREN’S HEALTH 19 MEDICAL STAFF UPDATE 20 MEDICAL STAFF SPOTLIGHT How do I stay safe and avoid getting sick this winter? 22 BRYAN COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES 25 NEW AT BRYAN eCHART electronic patient record ushers in new era of computerized charting 28 CRETE AREA MEDICAL CENTER Giving heart and soul to rural medicine 30 IN SERVICE TO THE WORLD He takes medical skills to Iraq and back 32 BRYAN STERLING CONNECTION 34 VOLUNTEERS & CUSTOMER CARE Visits with Sarah brighten patients’ days 36 BRYAN LIFEPOINTE LifeFit leads to better futures 40 ACHIEVEMENTS

Cardiothoracic surgeon Robert Oakes, MD, of Bryan Heart, traveled to Rwanda Feb. 1 as a volunteer heart surgeon with Team Heart. This year, Bryan Health employees Vic Grdina, CCP, LP, and Sheryl Sanders, RN, joined the mission trip. Team Heart is a non-profit organization of volunteers in medicine, nursing, perfusion, respiratory therapy and non-clinical positions. The team performs heart surgery for Rwandan people who have no such resources. The patients are gravely ill and very young; the first of 16 patients to receive surgical care last year was a 14-year-old boy. We’re proud to have Bryan Health medical care professionals involved in this humanitarian effort, just as we’re proud of the Bryan Health employees who support care every day in Nebraska and the region. We invite you to follow and encourage the work of this group as they bring life-saving care to the Rwandan people. Join us on n



Statesman William Jennings Bryan, one of the original benefactors of Bryan Health, said:

We welcome your comments. For more information about Journeys, contact the Advancement team by calling 402-481-8674. To learn more about Bryan programs and services, visit us online at

“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” Journeys tells our story of how Bryan chooses to achieve. This free publication is mailed quarterly to our employees, physicians, volunteers and the communities we serve.

OPPORTUNITIES TO SUPPORT Your contributions help us care for those who come to Bryan at every stage of life. To find out how you can participate, call the Bryan Foundation at 402-481-8605, or write to us at:

Bryan Foundation 1600 S. 48th St. Lincoln, NE 68506

Kimberly Russel President & CEO, Bryan Health John Woodrich President & COO, Bryan Medical Center John Trapp, MD Chief of Staff, Bryan Medical Staff Bob Ravenscroft Vice President of Advancement Edgar Bumanis Director of Public Relations Paul Hadley Editor



hink about a friend you respect for having made a significant change in his or her life. Maybe a career change. Or someone who went back to school after years of being out. Perhaps it’s someone who has returned home to raise a family or care for aging loved ones. To make such changes, he or she needed courage. To achieve long-term goals, your friend most likely counted on others for advice, education and expertise and, when things got really tough, support to keep going. In this issue of Journeys we feature the stories of people who chose Bryan Health to be their partner as they embarked on life-altering changes. What an honor it is for us to be trusted in this way — to offer education and advice to help others make the right decision, to provide nationally recognized physicians and clinicians with technical expertise and to be ready with a support network to meet every physical, spiritual and emotional need. Stories like these inspire me and my 3,500 colleagues at Bryan Health to relentlessly pursue excellence in everything we

do. We feel a huge responsibility when a family chooses us as its partner on a wellness, acute care or rehabilitation journey. This magazine always features stories of how our locally owned and governed Bryan team has played a part in making someone’s life better. Thanks to all of the families who allow us to share these details. Our community is stronger and healthier because of their openness. Please remember that additional stories and the latest news from Bryan Health are available at, and Community. Future. Health. Helping you prepare for what’s next in your life will always be what’s next in ours.

Kimberly A. Russel President and Chief Executive Officer Bryan Health

They’re making a difference: These colleagues represent part of the Bryan Bariatric Advantage team that’s helping patients make life-altering changes. The team’s comprehensive approach supports patients through all phases of care, from nutrition and exercise counseling, to weight-loss surgery and follow-up consultations and support groups.

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After receiving a left ventricular assist device, Steve Minarick enjoys walks with Sharen and can crest any hill in their Morse Bluff neighborhood.

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Thanks to LVAD, for Steve,

Life’s no longer an uphill climb


here’s a hill in the tiny town of Morse Bluff that leads to Steve and Sharen Minarick’s home. Over the past five years, this hill has monitored the downward progression of Steve’s heart failure. But now it serves as a tribute to his determination and Bryan Health’s commitment to improving Steve’s quality of life. “During the past year I could not walk up the hill by my house without stopping two or three times on the gentle incline,” Steve says. At age 56, he struggled to spend quality time with his daughter, Hannah, and son, Joshua, and had to surrender much of the physical work of running his gravel pit business. But two months after becoming the first Bryan Heart patient to receive a HeartMate II left ventricular assist device (LVAD) at Bryan Medical Center, the hill in front of the Minaricks’ home no longer poses a challenge. “Now I not only walk up and down the hill, but I also walk for a good 15 minutes at a time,” Steve remarks. By August 2012, Steve was approaching the end stages of heart failure and had a less than 10 percent chance of living more than a few months. “It was just a matter of time before Steve’s heart gave out completely,” says his cardiologist, Mathue Baker, MD, who also is medical director of the Bryan Heart LVAD program. “His quality of life had been poor for a very long time and since he was not eligible for a transplant, an LVAD, which is a mechanical device that circulates blood through the body when the heart is too weak to do so itself, was his last hope.” Steve battled Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2007 and won. He was cancer free, but a year later he was facing another major challenge. The chemotherapy that killed his cancer had damaged his heart so badly that he now needed a heart transplant. But he couldn’t get one. “At least not for five years,” Steve says. “That’s how long you have to wait once you are clear of the cancer before you are eligible for transplant.” When the five years were up in May 2012, doctors from two different transplant centers still felt he wasn’t a good candidate because chronic immunosuppression required after a transplant could lead to a recurrence of the cancer. Though disappointed, Steve always had thought that the pump (LVAD) would be where he would end up, so he spent hours and hours on the Internet, researching the device and reading LVAD patient forums. He found it reassuring that many people who had experienced similar problems had improved after receiving LVADs. Though most patients were 75 or older, he was surprised by the

number of people who were a lot younger — such as a mother in her late twenties. “I found there were situations a lot more tragic than mine, and I felt fortunate to have this option,” Steve notes. Since Steve’s heart was failing more every day, he and the Bryan Heart team quickly focused on preparing him for the LVAD. Steve says, “As it happened, Bryan Heart was ready to launch its program, so the timing was perfect.” On Sept. 25, Steve became Bryan Heart’s first LVAD patient. “I wasn’t nervous about being first as I knew the doctors’ and team’s backgrounds and knew they were going to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s.” Both Dr. Baker and Bryan Heart cardiothoracic surgeon Richard Thompson, MD, had been involved in LVAD programs before launching the program at Bryan. “Dr. Thompson showed confidence that everything was going to be fine and made sure I knew what to expect,” Steve says. The surgeon describes Steve’s LVAD as destination therapy, meaning it is a permanent treatment for his condition. He says, “Destination therapy is an alternative to transplantation. By implanting a long® The HeartMate II from Thoratec is term LVAD, patients the first pump of its kind approved have the opportunity for treating advanced heart failure. to live more independently with a longer and higher-quality life.” Steve received the HeartMate II, which is the latest model and the smallest of all the FDA-approved LVADs — measuring approximately 3 inches in length and weighing about 10 ounces. It is placed just below the diaphragm in the abdomen and is attached to the left ventricle and the aorta. An external, wearable system

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Although Steve Minarick isn’t certain yet how involved he will be in the operation of his family’s gravel pit business, he vows to stay as active as possible in the day-to-day lives of Sharen and their teenagers.

that includes a small controller and two batteries is worn outside the clothing and keeps the device running. “The LVAD helps us make an amazing difference in people’s lives,” says Dr. Baker. “The difference for Steve was immediate, and he was ready to get out of the hospital 10 days after the surgery. He was walking all over the hospital and wearing the carpet off the hospital floor for the last five days he was in here.” Two days after Steve was brought out of sedation, he called Sharen at work. The first thing he said to her was, “I feel so good.” “It had been six years since I’d heard those words from him,” Sharen recalls. “We continue to feel very blessed to have arrived here as Steve has come around almost full circle since the surgery; for that I am extremely grateful!” “The whole Bryan team was wonderful, from the doctors and nurse practitioners at Bryan Heart, to those who took care of me after surgery on the fourth floor at Bryan Medical Center,” Steve shares. “You could just tell they all worked well together. I actually asked one of the nurses if everybody really got along that well and she told me it is the best place she has ever worked. “Leah McClement, the LVAD coordinator, has been phenomenal.

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She is the go-between with the doctors, the LVAD manufacturer and me and has helped me understand what to expect and problems I might experience. We still text back and forth about once a week, and I can call her any time.” Steve also visits Dr. Baker, his Bryan Heart cardiologist, about once a month. Though he still may see his primary care doctor from time to time, the Bryan Heart team continues to take an active role in his care. Steve’s journey during the past six years has been very difficult, but support from family, friends and the community has been overwhelming. “I get a little emotional when I realize how many people have been there for me,” he says. “Sharen has been my rock, and our faith has helped us keep going when it has been tough.” “It’s just absolutely wonderful to see someone who has so much to offer get another chance to flourish,” says Dr. Baker. “That’s as good as it gets for us as medical professionals.” “I’ve certainly had a lot of people at Bryan who have touched my life,” Steve reflects. “Actually, they saved my life.” n


Teamwork fuels Steve’s success


elating to Steve Minarick, the first recipient of a HeartMate II left ventricular assist device in Bryan Health’s new LVAD program, is easy for cardiologist Mathue Baker, MD. Ironically, the company Steve owns near Morse Bluff is similar to Dr. Baker’s family’s gravel pit business south of North Platte — a location that’s given him access to excellent pheasant hunting venues over the years, he points out. But coincidence aside, Dr. Baker, medical director for the LVAD program, is excited to be a member of the team that contributed to dramatic improvement in Steve’s quality of life. Having had a passion for the heart failure area of cardiology, Dr. Baker became involved with the emerging technology in 2008 during his cardiology fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine. “The HeartMate II was coming through clinical trials then,”

Dr. Mathue Baker and LVAD coordinator Leah McClement, RN, discuss ongoing care with Steve Minarick.

The Minarick family — Steve and Sharen with children Hannah and Joshua — meet the media before Steve is dismissed from the hospital with his new LVAD. he explains. “I was fortunate to be there from the get-go at the University and was on the team taking care of their first HeartMate II LVAD patient.” Dr. Baker and two other Bryan Heart cardiologists who specialize in heart failure, Keith Miller, MD, and Timothy Gardner, MD, believe many of their advanced heart failure patients will be able to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life as a result of Bryan’s LVAD program. “After working with heart failure patients over many years, we develop personal relationships,” says Dr. Baker. “So, it’s very rewarding that our LVAD program will help us really have a significant impact on their lives.” Cardiothoracic surgeon Richard Thompson, MD, (who implanted the LVAD in Steve at Bryan Medical Center) had extensive experience with LVADs during his practice in Pennsylvania before moving to Lincoln to join Bryan Heart. He says, “Bryan is now a comprehensive destination for endstage heart failure. We provide all the services that are offered at other major cardiac centers across the country with the exception of heart transplantation.” These expanded capabilities help relieve stress for area families who won’t have to travel outside of the area or be so far away from

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They provide options and instill hope programs virtually seamless by avoiding duplication of all the work that has already been done here.” Specialty equipment was purchased for the LVAD program, but the primary resources needed for such an effort rest in the expertise of the providers. Team members, including cardiologists, surgeons, nurse practitioners, anesthesiologists, perfusionists, operating room nurses, intensive care nurses, operating room scrub techs, respiratory therapists, physical therapists and nutritionists, gained substantial experience at the leading LVAD programs across the United States. “That’s the great thing about the new Bryan program,” says Dr. Baker. “We have people from so many prestigious programs, like Duke, Stanford, Harvard and the Mayo Clinic, who have brought their experience to Lincoln.” He adds, “Everyone in the whole system

Steve Minarick and Dr. Mathue Baker share a laugh during a follow-up visit at Bryan. home while their loved ones are hospitalized after LVAD surgery. “Our referring physicians also appreciate that their patients’ needs can be handled here at Bryan, where they’re already familiar with the facility and staff,” says Dr. Thompson. The Bryan LVAD program is designed to accommodate patients for whom heart transplantation is not an option, whether due to age or other medical conditions, as well as for patients awaiting heart transplants. “We have partnerships with transplant centers,” adds Dr. Baker, “so if our patients are currently transplant candidates, or were to become candidates, we can help make the process of getting them into transplant

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LVADs evolve Today’s HeartMate II from Thoratec® (at right) is much smaller than earlier assist devices, so it can fit inside a broader range of patients to provide life-sustaining pumping action. LVADs help a patient’s heart move oxygenated blood from the left ventricle throughout the body. HeartMate II gives patients great mobility because longlasting portable batteries power the system when it’s not plugged into a conventional electrical outlet.

— from the administration at Bryan Health to the physicians, medical professionals and ancillary staff — is committed to providing this option to our heart failure patients.” n

Dr. Richard Thompson (right) implanted Steve’s LVAD at Bryan Medical Center, East Campus.

To find out how you can support the work of Bryan Heart and Bryan Health, please call the Bryan Foundation at 402-481-8605.


These Bryan Health co-workers and Bryan Heart physicians are part of the heart team that the Society of Thoracic Surgeons recognized for highest quality heart surgery.

Society of Thoracic Surgeons rates heart care team at Bryan among America’s best According to Society of Thoracic Surgeons statistics, patients at Bryan have access to some of the best heart care available. The STS has developed a comprehensive rating system for the quality of cardiac surgery among hospitals across the United States. Approximately 12-15 percent of hospitals receive the Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ highest rating. In the current analysis of national data covering the period from July 2011 through June 1, 2012, the cardiac surgery performance at Bryan Medical Center is in this highest quality tier. n

Truven recognizes our cardiovascular care Bryan is among the Top 50 U.S. hospitals for heart care, according to the latest Truven Health Analytics study of inpatient cardiovascular services. The study examined the outcomes of heart patients at more than 1,000 hospitals and recognized organizations such as Bryan for achieving higher levels of care and efficiency than their peers. n

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Unique in Nebraska

PET/CT imaging benefits heart patients


ryan Heart is the only cardiac program in Nebraska offering PET/CT imaging to assess heart function and detect abnormalities that indicate blockages in coronary arteries. Cardiologist Clyde Meckel, MD, says PET/CT — short for positron emission tomography and computerized axial tomography — combines two types of scans to provide an overall examination that’s superior to all others. “This three-dimensional imaging is very effective for stress testing to identify possible heart tissue damage which may have been caused by blockages in the vessels,” he notes. “And it’s wonderful for patients, who benefit from the value of having PET, as well as CT scans, done during the same visit to Bryan.”

New technology here A cardiac PET scan is a new tool for assessing heart disease, although similar equipment is used elsewhere at Bryan Health for diagnosing cancer. The exam takes only about 45 minutes, and PET images showing the heart under stress are quickly available to compare to CT images made of the heart at rest.

More sensitive test “It’s much more sensitive than our traditional cardiac stress testing, known as SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) nuclear perfusion imaging,” according to Dr. Meckel. He adds that PET/CT is extremely effective in determining whether parts of the heart are working properly.

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Who benefits PET/CT eliminates shadowing artifacts — false positives that in SPECT scans may look like blockages. Typical causes of shadowing are soft tissue, especially in obese patients or women who have large breasts, or if the patient’s diaphragm is high in the chest. So, PET/CT imaging especially benefits those who have those physical characteristics. PET/CT also helps doctors decide whether patients who may have multi-vessel coronary artery disease should have a procedure to clear their arteries. How effective is it? Dr. Meckel points out that in just its first month of operation, PET/CT overruled five cases where earlier SPECT exams suggested those patients should have heart catheterizations to treat suspected heart conditions.

Ready for the future Cardiologists Mathue Baker, MD, Matthew Johnson, MD, Joseph Kummer, MD, Keith Miller, MD, Todd Tessendorf, MD, and Ryan Whitney, MD, have joined Dr. Meckel in interpreting the scans at Bryan Medical Center. “Bryan Heart has a heritage of innovation — integrating this new technology is another example,” says Dr. Meckel. To learn more about the benefits of PET/CT, ask your physician, or contact Bryan Heart at 402-483-3333. n

Patient Patricia Smith is the center of attention before her PET/CT scan with Beth Nemec, RN, (left) and nuclear medicine technologists Michelle Andersen and Tom Schadl of Bryan Health.

To find out how you can support the work of Bryan Heart and Bryan Health, contact the Bryan Foundation by calling 402-481-8605.

Dr. Clyde Meckel and other Bryan Heart cardiologists are the only physicians in Nebraska using PET/CT scans to diagnose heart disease.

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Patient calls bariatric surgery

The best decision I ever made


argaret Bennett of Lincoln is living a whole new life. It’s taken a lot of soul searching, preparation, courage and commitment, but Margaret says she’d do it all again. On Aug. 20, 2012, Margaret had a sleeve gastrectomy — one of the very first surgical procedures performed by the Bryan Bariatric Advantage team. Since then she’s lost more than 70 pounds, improved her health and become a regular in exercise classes at the Bryan LifePointe Campus. “I don’t have to take any medication,” Margaret says with a smile. “My blood sugar is well below what it used to be. I had been going through testing for sleep apnea, and now that risk is down significantly. “There are so many benefits, it’s just an amazing change.”

The last straw “I’m not sure what finally convinced me to look into surgical options,” Margaret says. “But the last five years, my health wasn’t in my control. My mobility was limited, and I had been classified as disabled.” Then Margaret got even worse news. “My doctor said I was borderline diabetic and should start medication. I’m terrified of needles, so that really scared me.” It also brought back a painful memory. “In 7th grade, while we were at Girl Scout Camp, my friend’s older sister died from diabetes,” she says. Margaret began investigating weight-loss surgery online. “I’m a geek by nature,” she says, “and I started reading everything I could

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find — different procedures, where I could get it done, which doctors performed it.” Margaret and her husband, Robert, visited two other facilities and even had a surgery date scheduled before meeting R. Armour Forse, MD, medical director of Bryan Bariatric Advantage. “When we met, I knew immediately he was the doctor I wanted,” Margaret recalls. “I asked Dr. Forse why he chose bariatrics, and he said he gets to see how much it impacts people’s lives. That was the right answer. When he said that, I knew he’d take good care of me.” Dr. Forse had plenty of questions for Margaret, too. Because of the commitment needed to ensure success, patients are carefully evaluated. “He was very cautious,” she says. “It was almost like I was selling him on me doing it. I told him the number of pounds isn’t a big deal to me — the way I feel is. I wanted to walk around a store without getting out of breath; I wanted to climb a flight of stairs or wear a pair of high-heeled shoes again.” That was what Dr. Forse wanted to hear.

Ongoing commitment Margaret is quick to point out that the surgery was neither the beginning nor the end of her journey. “It’s actually a smaller piece of it,” she says. “You go in, they do it, and that’s it. But there is so much more involved. You have to make a commitment to a life change.” Often people don’t realize that commitment starts months before surgery. “I have lost 70 pounds since my surgery,

but close to 100 pounds overall,” Margaret explains. “So it was the prep work before surgery — the exercise and nutrition changes — where the first pounds came off.” Margaret says she is now more in tune with what’s going on in her body. “The impression a lot of people have is that someone who is overweight is preoccupied with food,” she says. “I can tell you categorically that I spend more time thinking about food now than I ever did before. You have to be vigilant. I have become meticulous in meal planning. “It’s completely changed how my husband and I handle things. I grew up in a family of five, and I know how to cook for five. But now, it’s like cooking for one-anda-half. When we go to a restaurant, Robert orders a dinner, and I pick at it.”

Small steps, big differences Margaret says reaching milestones in weight loss is gratifying, but she really loves being surprised by other accomplishments. “For me, the big thing was driving my car without having to wear a seat belt extender,” she recalls. “The first time I was able to do that, I called my husband, and I said, ‘You’re not going to believe this!’ Being able to walk up and down a flight of stairs is a huge thing to celebrate. “We even went on a cruise — our first vacation together in years — and I’m thrilled to just be able to go and walk around.”

Speaking out As one of the first patients in Bryan Bariatric Advantage, Margaret has given

lots of feedback to help the staff perfect its routine. “I think I was the second patient on the first day they did surgeries,” Margaret says. She discovered she had a talent for speaking on behalf of patients. Now she is taking classes through the Creighton University School of Law to pursue a career as a patient advocate. Margaret also has become an outspoken supporter of Bryan Bariatric Advantage. “Initially I didn’t tell a lot of people because there can be a stigma about weightloss surgeries,” she says. “But I have been able to help some friends with similar decisions, and that’s what made me decide to ‘out’ myself. “It’s not for everyone. Once you have the surgery, you can’t go back. I tell people to do a lot of investigating. They need to thoroughly understand what the procedure is going to require of them, and they need to look inside themselves and really be honest about whether they can do that. Because if they think there’s a chance they can’t, they need to look for some other alternative.” But for Margaret, the journey has been worth everything she put into it. “It’s the best, hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done because I’ve gotten myself back,” she says. “There was a long time where I was not the person I remembered being. “The best part of all is I’m back to being me.” n To learn more about Bryan Bariatric Advantage, call 402-481-5490, or go to

Margaret Bennett is an outspoken supporter of weight-loss procedures by Bryan Bariatric Advantage.

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Bryan Bariatric Advantage

Helping navigate a new life


atients often say choosing weight-loss surgery is like beginning a whole new life. Fortunately, they don’t have to go there alone. A skilled team at Bryan Health is with them every step of the way. Nurse navigator Jody Yank is a nurse practitioner with a dual certification in women’s health and family practice. She coordinates the efforts of the Bryan Bariatric Advantage team to create each patient’s overall program. In addition to medical doctors and psychiatrists, the team includes specialists, like exercise specialist Cindy Kugler and dietitian Katie Walz from Bryan’s LifePointe Campus. Cindy develops patients’ exercise regimens and helps them stay on track. Katie teaches patients how to change nutritional habits.

Long-term changes Jody, Cindy and Katie emphasize that the surgery itself is neither the beginning nor the end, but merely one step in a lifelong journey of change. Margaret Bennett, a successful bariatric patient, agrees. “There’s a lot that goes into getting ready for surgery,” she says. “And afterward, you learn a whole new way of eating.” This comprehensive approach is one of the key determinants of long-term success. Many times, though, making the required lifestyle changes can be a big challenge. “Some people expect surgery to solve all of their problems,” says Katie. “But it takes nutrition, education, exercise and psychology, too.” “That’s what I really liked about Bryan’s program,” says Margaret. “After the surgery, I had a support system at Bryan’s LifePointe Campus. My exercise specialist introduced me to warm water aerobics and other exercises, and my dietitian was always there for me, too. I could call or email her questions any time. She helped me get the right vitamins and a protein supplement. “I never spent much time in the kitchen before, but now I actually enjoy shopping and cooking — being in charge of my own nutrition — and my life.” Little steps can make a big difference. “You don’t have to be a marathon-running vegetarian to succeed,” Cindy says. “If you can pull up a 10-minute chair exercise video on the Internet and complete that three times a week, that’s a start.”

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I can do this Habits formed over a lifetime can be tough to change, especially when they involve behaviors as personal as diet and exercise. Patients need a great deal of reinforcement, and the team jokes that patients often feel “a love-hate relationship” toward them. Still, when change comes, it is something patients and their Bryan team can share. Seeing people take pride in what they have accomplished is the greatest reward of the job. Margaret says her weight loss has made a noticeable difference in her activity level. “I do more in a day than I used to do in a week,” she says. On her last visit to medical director R. Armour Forse, MD, she thanked him for saving her life. “I believe this surgery saved me — emotionally and physically.” Jody adds, “Margaret couldn’t walk very far without significant pain. Now, after her procedure, she’s up walking, smiling, and you can see a glow on her face. She feels that sense of self-worth that says, ‘I deserve this, and I’m responsible for it. I can control it. I can do it.’” Not a bad way to begin a new life. n

Clinical exercise physiologist Kristi Beyer encourages Margaret Bennett as she exercises at LifePointe. Bryan Bariatric Advantage uses a comprehensive approach to improve health.


Dr. Forse brings expertise to Bryan Bariatric Advantage

Nurse navigator Jody Yank, RN, and Dr. R. Armour Forse are part of the team that supports patients through all phases of care.

Learn more about Bryan Bariatric Advantage Bryan Bariatric Advantage offers a full range of education and support before, during and after procedures. Monthly information sessions and support groups are free to anyone who has had or is considering having a bariatric procedure. They’re offered at Bryan LifePointe Campus, 7501 S. 27th St. To register, call 402-481-5490, or go to n For more details about Bryan Bariatric Advantage, go to, or use your smartphone’s QR application to access this code.

Bryan Bariatric Advantage has one of the most experienced surgeons in the field: R. Armour Forse, MD, PhD, who has performed more than 1,000 successful procedures. “The chairman of my training program was a pioneer in the field,” says Dr. Forse. Under that tutelage, he witnessed the development of bariatrics from the beginning. “I’ve been fortunate to have been involved with practically every surgical approach,” he says. Early techniques involved wiring jaws shut, and corsets were used to constrict the abdomen, forcing patients to feel full. These procedures, though rudimentary, taught two very important lessons. “We learned that if you could restrict people taking food in, they would lose weight,” Dr. Forse says. “We also learned that when you took the wires or the corset off, people would start eating again and usually gain it all back.” Finding a solution that wasn’t temporary became the challenge. Dr. Forse notes obesity comes from “survival genes,” which allow us to store calories efficiently and burn less energy to maintain the body. Unfortunately, what once aided survival has become a liability because unneeded calories are everywhere. Current bariatric procedures fall into two main categories. Restriction means physically limiting the amount of food that a patient can or will eat. Effective options include gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. Malabsorption procedures are newer and more involved. They decrease a patient’s ability to absorb nutrients from food by rerouting around parts of the digestive system. The most common is gastric bypass. A newer, more advanced procedure is biliopancreatic diversion, or BPD. Dr. Forse is the only surgeon in Lincoln with extensive experience in BPDs, and Bryan Bariatric Advantage is the only area program offering this procedure. Malabsorptive procedures are most effective but riskier. However, people who also have diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea are likely to die sooner unless they lose weight. Studies in Sweden, Canada and the United States show that for successful procedures performed in young adulthood, life expectancy can increase by as much as 10 to 20 years. “When we treat relatively young people, they have their whole lives to benefit from it,” Dr. Forse says. “It helps them in ways many of us take for granted. They can buy a dress off the rack; they fit in movie theater seats.” Seeing such successes, he adds, is the best part of his job. n

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Your support inspires us


very week I receive a list of new donations to the Bryan Foundation. It is a great way to start the week because seeing how people are investing in Bryan Health inspires me to do even more for our patients and staff. This quarter’s Bryan Foundation update serves the same purpose for me as those weekly reports because it allows me to introduce two new William Jennings Bryan Society members. The William Jennings Bryan Society recognizes people who have made deferred gifts to support Bryan. Every gift is greatly appreciated; however, deferred gifts especially touch us, for they represent the deep sense of trust and investment that families have in their locally owned and governed health system. These donors recognize — as does Bryan Health — that decisions for Nebraskans are best made by Nebraskans. They value Bryan Health’s heritage of relentlessly pursuing all of our region’s health needs — from world class care to a continuing commitment to important services not often offered everywhere, such as mental health, substance abuse and trauma. Remaining committed to the most advanced technology and innovation, as well as meeting the needs of those less fortunate, is rewarding while also presenting complex challenges. Yet, no issue seems insurmountable when a community partners with us. Thank you to every member of the William Jennings Bryan Society. Everyone at Bryan Health gains energy and strength from the trust you place in us. Your investment and Bryan’s commitment will touch many people, for many years. I hope you enjoy the articles about the Stanges, the Mathison family and the Gales, and if you would like information on how you can join the William Jennings Bryan Society or support Bryan initiatives, please contact the Bryan Foundation at 402-481-8605. Bob Ravenscroft, Vice President of Advancement

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Builders for tomorrow Retired architect Jim Stange and Suanne Stange, his wife, have a long association with Bryan Health — and their generosity is helping students get the education needed to care for tomorrow’s patients. After college, Jim joined Davis and Wilson in 1954 — its architects already were famous for such landmarks as Memorial Stadium, the Stuart Building and Lincoln High School. Later it became Davis, Fenton, Stange and Darling, and today it’s known as Davis Design. During his tenure there, the firm improved the physical appearance and efficiency of Bryan Medical Center to meet a changing health care landscape.

Successful projects Adding an east wing at the Bryan East Campus in 1957 was the first of many big hospital projects for Stange. “We worked with President Gene Edwards, who was interested in responding to the needs of cardiologists and heart patients, when we designed that addition,” Jim recalls. “When technology beckoned, we had to answer. Bryan’s commitment to the health of our community was impressive.” In the 1960s, he helped design the “pod” scheme for patient care units at Lincoln General Hospital (now the Bryan

BRYAN FOUNDATION West Campus). Movie fans may remember seeing one of those centrally located nursing stations at Lincoln General in the movie, “Terms of Endearment.” While at Davis, Fenton, Stange and Darling, he also worked on the 1970s master plan for Bryan Memorial Hospital (now Bryan East Campus). “The administration was always forward thinking, especially when it came to heart care,” he says. He’s been on the Bryan Foundation Board for five years and has begun his term as that organization’s new chairman. Jim adds, “It was my privilege to begin working at Bryan with Gene and then with Lynn Wilson and now with Kim Russel, the current CEO.” As a long-time volunteer, Suanne shares Jim’s affection for the hospital.

Active supporters The Stanges are members of the William Jennings Bryan Society, indicating a deferred gift to the Bryan Foundation, and regularly participate in the Bryan College of Health Sciences Scholarship Luncheon. They both have been patients at Bryan, and their son, Wade (now an architect at Davis Design), was born at Bryan. Suanne says, “It was one of the highlights of my life. I have such a warm feeling about the place — Bryan helps the entire community, and they are a very worthy cause.” “For us, giving to Bryan was a natural thing to do,” Jim agrees. “Bryan is a treasure for our community. When we retired, we did an estate plan and included Bryan among the entities that we would give to. Contributing to scholarships is important — it helps makes sure there will be great nurses to care for us in the future.” n

Gales share Fairview painting Secretary of State John Gale and Carol, his wife, restored this painting of Fairview, the last Lincoln home of William and Mary Bryan. The artwork hung in Gale’s office before the couple presented it to Bryan Health. Congressman, attorney, orator and presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan was Nebraska’s only U.S. Secretary of State, serving in Woodrow Wilson’s cabinet. The gift will be displayed prominently on 1st Floor of the Bryan East campus.

Do you have questions for us? The Bryan Foundation is eager to assist! To learn how you can support Bryan, contact: DeEtta Mayrose, Major Gift Officer (left) 402-481-8287 Valerie Hunt, Senior Development Officer (right) 402-481-3168

Bryan Journeys 15


Memory of young Caleb lives on


In 2012, nurse anesthesia student Ross Tegeler (left) accepted the first-ever Caleb Mathison Memorial Scholarship from Eric and Tanya Mathison and their children, Liahona (left), Montey and Tamara. Eric graduated from Bryan’s program in 2010.

16 Winter 2013

ryan’s program was best for families. That’s what brought them to Lincoln. Eric Mathison and his wife, Tanya, moved from Washington state with their family in 2007 when Eric enrolled in the Bryan School of Nurse Anesthesia. “I had applied to about 10 different schools to figure out where we wanted to go,” says Eric. But for someone with a family, Bryan was best. Eric and Tanya had three kids, and another would be born soon. It was a perfect fit. “I met my classmates at the Bryan College of Health Sciences,” Eric recalls. “There were 10 of us, and we spent a lot of time together in classes and clinical rotations. So, we got to know each other pretty well during the 33-month program.” Eric and Tanya’s oldest, son Caleb, had just turned 8 in August 2009. Eric was doing a trauma rotation in Omaha, working hard. But he finally got a day off; so the family went to Nebraska City to visit the Arbor Day Farm. After an enjoyable day together, they arrived home at around 4 in the afternoon. Caleb had recently started Cub Scouts, and it occurred to the Mathisons they’d yet to buy his uniform, handbook and all the items a new Cub needs. Leaving Eric with the other children, Tanya drove off on the errand with Caleb. Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. It was heart-breaking news: There had been an accident. When Eric got to the scene, “They were still trying to get Caleb out of the car. Bystanders helped out and stayed with our other children.” Tanya’s injuries weren’t life-threatening, but she was in a state of shock and confusion. An ambulance transported her to Bryan Medical Center, while a helicopter flew Caleb to the Creighton Medical Center in Omaha. When Eric arrived at Creighton, he was led to a room, where a neurosurgeon explained, “There’s nothing more we can do.” Tanya was transferred to Creighton so she could be with her son. They gathered at Caleb’s bedside and stayed with him a precious half hour or so. Shortly thereafter, all extraordinary lifesaving measures were stopped. “It was only about two minutes later that he passed away,” Eric says. It was a little after midnight, Aug. 25, 2009.


with anesthesia scholarship

Caleb Mathison was only 8 when he was fatally injured in a car crash. Eric and Tanya went home the next day. The young parents, still reeling from their loss, had to decide where they were going to bury their son. “I hadn’t planned for anything like this,” Eric says. “As a fulltime student, I didn’t have the funds to cover all the expenses.” Unknown to them, a fund was established at a local bank to pay for the funeral, to fly the family back and forth to Washington, and to buy a headstone. “It was just incredible,” Eric says. “The majority of that fund came from people in Nebraska.” He finished the program in 2010, somehow setting his grief aside to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Eric says he and Tanya struggled during those eight long months. They were devastated, sometimes in a daze. At the completion of the program, as is tradition, the Bryan School of Nurse Anesthesia had a small commencement breakfast for Eric and the other nine graduating students. It was a pleasant gathering of faculty and hospital staff members with the graduates and their loved ones. And then: “One of my classmates got up and presented the Caleb Mathison Memorial Scholarship,” Eric remembers. The family was stunned. “My classmates had already raised $8,000 for the scholarship. They had kept it a secret for the

whole eight months.” Emotions poured out of the Mathisons at that moment. “We were just blown away. It was incredible, how generous people can be. You watch the news and see bad things going on, the worst of mankind. Our experience was completely the opposite; we saw so much good and the best that people can be,” Eric says. Since then, the Mathisons and the people who were at that breakfast worked to endow the scholarship to ensure that Caleb’s name will always live on. “All my classmates, wherever they got jobs, petitioned people to help,” Eric says. “The pain never really goes away,” he continues. “You’re just able to deal with it better, as time goes on.” But more than that they’d worried: Who would remember their son? Who would remember the boy who loved to play soccer, who loved Nebraska, who talked to his sisters at night through the vents on the floor? Who watched over his baby brother and made him laugh and laugh? This past September there was another gathering. Eric is a nurse anesthetist now, beginning his career at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Wash. But it was time to come back to Nebraska, back to Lincoln, back to Bryan. “We don’t even know who all donated,” Eric says. But they’d reached the magic number; the scholarship was endowed. The very first Caleb Mathison Memorial Scholarship was awarded at a special ceremony at Bryan — and the endowment means there will be one every year from now on. “This has been through the efforts of so many people. It’s uplifting,” Eric notes. There may always be pain. But Bryan proved to be the best program for the Mathisons. Thanks to the people in the program, and others, their son — their beautiful boy — will never be forgotten in Lincoln, his adopted hometown. n To find out how you can support the Bryan College of Health Sciences, contact the Bryan Foundation by calling 402-481-8605.

Bryan Journeys 17


Oh, Baby!

Almost 700 visited the Bryan Conference Center Nov. 14 for a reunion of families that had babies cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit since 2008. Shannon Hall (at right in the first

18 Winter 2013

photo below) showed off twins Presley and Dayveen with Bryan’s Stacey Anderson. Meghanne Brunke brought son Tyler (center photo) to the celebration, as did hundreds of other parents.


Remembering our colleagues Bryan medical community notes physicians’ passing in 2012 Joseph Stitcher, MD, died Sept. 10 at age 82. Dr. Stitcher is remembered for his long tenure at Bryan Memorial Hospital and Lincoln General Hospital. He was Chief of Staff at Bryan Memorial Hospital and served on many committees at Lincoln General Hospital before retiring in 1992. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, in 1955 and served in the Navy Medical Corps until 1965. He specialized in gastroenterology and practiced in Philadelphia before moving to Lincoln. Dr. Stitcher was a founding member of Gastroenterology Specialties, PC. He helped establish a medical clinic for low-income families and for his contributions he received the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department’s John J. Hannigan, MD, Distinguished Service Award in 1998. Robert Osborne, MD, FAPA, died Sept. 28 at age 81. During his distinguished career, Dr. Osborne was the director of the Lincoln Regional Center and president of the Nebraska Psychiatric Association. In 1967, he was appointed Nebraska’s Director of Medical Services for Public Services. He was president of the Lancaster County Medical Society and coordinator of the Lincoln Family Medicine Program. An active psychiatrist, Dr. Osborne also served as Chief of Staff at Lincoln General Hospital. Dr. Osborne graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Omaha, in 1956. He was an intern at Lincoln General Hospital and completed his residency at the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute, Omaha.

Harold “Hal” Pumphrey, MD, died Oct. 18 at age 63. Dr. Pumphrey joined the faculty of the Lincoln Medical Education Partnership in 1996. He enjoyed teaching residents and continued as a valued member of the faculty until his death. Dr. Pumphrey graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine, Omaha, and completed a residency at the Lincoln Family Medicine Program. In 1980, he opened a medical clinic in his hometown, Hebron. He practiced there until 1996, when he returned to Lincoln to teach. Dr. Pumphrey enjoyed flying and being with his large family. Chris Maasdam, MD, died Dec. 5 at age 62. Dr. Maasdam was a graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine, Omaha, and the Army War College. A colonel in the Nebraska Army National Guard, he was the Nebraska State Flight Surgeon and served two years in Iraq. During his medical career in Lincoln, Dr. Maasdam worked as a gastroenterologist. Dr. Maasdam lived in Walton, and he continued his career as an emergency room physician in Beatrice. Chester “Chet” Paul, MD, FACS, died Dec. 14 at age 70. Dr. Paul was involved in the development of the Advanced Trauma Life Support course, a course still taught throughout the world by the American College of Surgeons. He was associated with the Lincoln Surgical Group and during his career served as a clinical professor of surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine, Omaha, the Creighton University Medical School, Omaha, and the Lincoln Medical Education Partnership. He graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine in 1969 and completed an internship at Lincoln General Hospital, a general surgery residency at the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System and a vascular surgery fellowship at Baptist Memorial, Memphis, Tenn. He also completed burn treatment fellowships at Brook Army Burn Center, San Antonio, and at Harborview Hospital, Seattle, and was instrumental in establishing a burn center in Lincoln.

Bryan Journeys 19


Ask the doctor: How do I stay safe and avoid getting sick this winter? Michael McCoy, MD, answers your questions. Q: Do more people get illnesses in the winter? Why or why not? Yes, more do get illnesses in the winter, especially respiratory infections related to being in enclosed spaces for prolonged periods of time, like at home, school and work. In the fall and winter, the air is drier, which dries out the respiratory tract, making it more prone to infection. Q: Is February too late to get a flu shot? No, it’s not too late, although a flu vaccination is more protective if it is obtained in late summer or early fall. Even if a flu shot hasn’t been given by the end of the year, I would still advise getting one, as it may boost immunity during the critical months of January through March. Q: Do I need a vaccine for shingles? A shingles vaccine is advised for anyone older than 50, but many insurance companies will not cover the vaccine until after age 60. A vaccine also may be needed in younger people under special conditions, such as those with immune disorders. Q: Whooping cough has been in the news. What do I need to know about this illness? Pertussis — whooping cough — is still out there. This very contagious illness can cause serious illness; it may seem like a cold, bronchitis or the flu at first, but then lead to coughing spells and vomiting and can last for months. Coughing and sneezing spreads pertussis. Prevention is the best approach to controlling whooping cough. I advise a Tdap shot for all adults who need a tetanus update, for women who are expecting and

20 Winter 2013

Family practice specialist Michael McCoy, MD, of Bryan Urgent Care, LifePointe Campus, 7501 S. 27th St. 402-481-6343

MEDICAL STAFF SPOTLIGHT for other adults who will be around children. Q: Who is at greatest risk of getting ill in the winter? Those at greatest risk are people who have immune deficiencies or chronic diseases, such as diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Those regularly in contact with ill people, such as health care workers, teachers and those who work with the homeless, also are at high risk. Q: If I’m in one of these groups, how can I protect myself? Try to maintain good health with proper diet, exercise, stay up to date with immunizations and avoid being around people who are sick. Q: What kinds of illnesses do I need to watch out for this year? Watch out for the common wintertime illnesses, such as influenza, pneumonia and sinusitis. Most sinus infections are viral, meaning they don’t respond to antibiotics. Q: Is it true that I should starve a cold and feed a fever — or is this an urban legend? I think this common expression is incorrect. An appropriate diet, healthy and balanced, and adequate fluids daily are appropriate for both conditions. If fever is present, fluids are even more important. Q: With winter illnesses, what symptoms should prompt me to make an appointment with my physician? Symptoms that should prompt you to go to the doctor are any lingering (more than seven to 10 days) respiratory illness, if you’re an adult with a fever above 103° F, or if you’re coughing up blood or have persistent nasal bleeding, severe persistent headache with or without neck pain or stiffness. Q: What are the warning signs of frostbite? If you’re outside in cold weather, be aware of pain or paleness in any exposed body parts or digits (fingers, toes, nose, etc.). Q: How do you treat frostbite? First of all, recognize signs and symptoms of frostbite promptly. Then gradually rewarm with warm (not hot!) water. Use adequate pain control and avoid alcohol. Q: Why is it important to exercise during the winter?

For many reasons, try to maintain adequate physical conditioning year-round. This helps reduce the risk of infections and other acute and chronic health conditions. Q: Is it safe to exercise outdoors during the winter? Yes, but dress appropriately for the activity and conditions. Q: If I can’t exercise outdoors, what are my options? Many indoor activities are available, either at a health club or gym or at home with exercise machines, stair climbing, jumping rope, etc. Q: How do I stay safe while skiing? Adequate conditioning is important before you go skiing with emphasis on ski-specific activities/exercise. Wear appropriate clothing. Make sure your equipment — skis, boots and helmet — fits properly. Ski on terrain consistent with your skill level. Avoid skiing alone on empty or out-of-bounds areas. Monitor weather forecasts, and be prepared for sudden weather changes. Drink lots of fluids — but avoid or reduce alcohol consumption — and be alert for signs and symptoms of altitude illness (headache, nausea, extreme fatigue, seizures). Q: If I’m not as thirsty in the winter, why is it still important to drink water? It’s always important to drink lots of fluids. In the wintertime, there is a risk of dehydration due to heat and dryness indoors. If you are active outdoors, you need to replenish moisture lost by respiration and perspiration. Q: If I slip on the ice, what symptoms should prompt me to go to the doctor? Look for persistent pain, deformity, decreased range of motion, the inability to bear weight or painful weight-bearing. The elderly and those with osteoporosis and osteopenia are particularly at risk for fractures. Q: What else can I do to stay healthy this winter? Be sure to exercise, eat a proper diet and get adequate sleep. Also spend time with family and friends. Maintaining mental health can be a challenge on dark, dreary winter days. Find something you enjoy, such as reading, journal writing, scrapbooking, or join a club — anything that interests you or gives you personal satisfaction. n

Bryan Journeys 21


MSN prepares tomorrow’s educators


Graduate student Carey Deeds listens to a classmate’s presentation.

Jessica Warren makes an in-class teaching presentation to fellow MSN students at Bryan College of Health Sciences.

To learn more about the Bryan College of Health Sciences, use your smartphone’s QR application to access this code.

22 Winter 2013

new Master of Science in Nursing “They get to come to campus and talk didegree at Bryan College of Health rectly with the faculty and classmates, while the Sciences is bridging the projected online aspect gives them the flexibility of being gap in the number of educators able to study at their own time,” Dr. Kube says. needed to prepare tomorrow’s care givers. “It’s very exciting to see this program in “The average age of nurse educators in place. When we hear students say they already the United States is about 55 — which means are able to apply what they’ve learned in class, a large number are already in their sixties we know we’re achieving and getting ready to retire — but there aren’t outcomes we wanted.” enough people going into education to replace Our undergraduate them,” says Marcia Kube, EdD. “So, this new programs have been MSN degree is a way to help meet that need.” known since the The Master of Science Nurse Educator 1920s for providing program targets working RNs and others who personalized attention want to expand their career options. and practical application The program can be tailored to students’ — and Dr. Kube says needs; graduates are prepared for teaching we’ve maintained that in Dr. Marcia Kube and leadership positions in colleges and our graduate programs. universities, patient “Students “After feeling how great it education, staff tell us that the faculty are was to be in the driver’s seat development and staff genuinely interested in helping and watch my ideas unfold training. them succeed,” she says. According to Dr. Kube, “We have a very committed, before the class, I see why “It’s also valuable for those credentialed faculty who are teachers who love what they in continuing education excited to help students explore do, do it for so long. It was and patient education ways to be successful.” another ‘first experience’ I roles, and we’ve had What’s next? The program will remember for a lifetime.” assistant managers and has been granted candidacy from ~ Carey Deeds, after his first the National League for Nursing house supervisors whose in-class teaching presentation Accrediting Commission, which jobs include orienting will make an on-site visit later other employees.” this year as part of the accrediting process. She adds, “Most of our students have fullThe first group of graduate students will time jobs, so the program is designed to help receive their MSN degrees in December 2013. them balance their work and home life while To learn more, call the Graduate Studies enrolled as a part-time student.” office at 402-481-3194, or go to bryanhealth. There are other distinct advantages: com/msnnurseeducator. n • Small class sizes and expert faculty. • Modern facilities and Simulation Center. Just announced: $2,000 Bryan Foundation • The program can be completed in two years. MSN Scholarships are available. Because courses are offered in a ratio To find out how you can support the Bryan of about 75 percent online and 25 percent College of Health Sciences, please call the face-to-face, students enjoy the best of both Bryan Foundation at 402-481-8605. learning environments.


Center for Gerontological Studies opens


re you equipped for the Silver Tsunami? The average American is aging quickly — every day, 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 — and more than one-fourth of Nebraskans will be of retirement age by 2030. That means tomorrow’s care givers must be able to recognize agerelated changes, communicate with clients from a different generation and identify non-typical symptoms of illnesses. There’s help! The Center for Excellence in Gerontological Studies at Bryan College of Health Sciences equips students to provide the bestpossible geriatric care, says Assistant Professor Linda Miles, MSN. Thirteen already have declared a minor in Gerontology at Bryan, and every student learns about aging issues and differences in caring for older patients. “About three years ago, Dr. Theresa Delahoyde and I attended the Geriatric Nursing Linda Miles, MSN Education Consortium,” Miles recalls. “This gave us ideas for reviewing our curriculum for gerontology content. “Looking at statistics, we saw the aging trend continuing for at least another 15 years. There’s a need not just for educating students here at the college, but people in the community, as well.” So, the Center for Excellence evolved. Members of the Sterling Connection (formerly known as Bryan 55PLUS) were surveyed last year. “We found they overwhelmingly wanted to be referred to as ‘seniors’ and said employees at today’s businesses, such as banks, gas stations and bigger stores, don’t know how to interact with older people,” she says. “There are a lot of misconceptions about aging and the abilities of older adults.”

What did they suggest? “The seniors said workers need a better understanding of this generation and what ‘customer service’ means to them,” Miles notes. “They thought they needed training on how to communicate with older adults — to recognize sensory changes, like hearing or vision loss, and functional changes might cause an older person to take a little longer to count out change or give the clerk a check.” She points out, “We have to think of the older patient as more complex because, in addition to normal, age-related changes, they present atypically. They don’t have symptoms for pneumonia or appendicitis that a younger patient has, and what the Baby Boomer wants and expects differs from the previous generation’s wants.” That’s why Bryan offers presentations to interdisciplinary health care professionals. “We developed the Center of Excellence to especially help smaller communities, which may have a greater percentage of older residents. I’ve done a program for an assisted living facility and for a rural fire department, where I presented basic principles of communicating with geriatric patients when responding to calls,” she says. Education is available for providers in various settings, from emergency medical service teams to local businesses. “We also are collaborating with the Center for Excellence in Clinical Simulation to develop a program for taking a simulation mannequin off campus to teach nursing home staff, police departments and others,” she says. Bryan also is planning a spring workshop, “Successful Clinical Teaching in Nursing Homes.” For details, call 402-481-8763, or go to n To find out how you can support the Bryan College of Health Sciences, please call the Bryan Foundation at 402-481-8605.

Welcome, new Dean of General Studies Bryan College of Health Sciences is pleased to introduce Peter Iyere, PhD, as the new Dean of General Studies. Dr. Iyere earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, as well as another master’s and his doctorate of chemistry from Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass. During his career, he’s served as Dean of the

Science and Mathematics Division at Vincennes University, Vincennes, Ind.; Chair of the Department of Physical Science at Chapman University, Orange, Calif.; Chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff; and Professor of Chemistry at Tennessee State University, Nashville. n

Dr. Peter Iyere

Bryan Journeys 23





uring commencement Dec. 15, Bryan College of Health Sciences awarded 50 Bachelor of Science in Nursing diplomas and nine Bachelor of Science in Health Professions diplomas, and 15 graduates earned Associate of Science degrees in Health Professions. To learn about the Bryan Alumni Association, call 402-481-8692 or go to

It’s smiles all around! Juliann Wehrman (middle photo) accepts her nursing diploma from President Marilyn Moore while Jim Griesen (right) of the Bryan College of Health Sciences Board congratulates health professions grad Skylar Wissmann, and nursing students applaud their colleagues (left). Photos by Cory Richmond of Richmond Photography

24 Winter 2013


eCHART electronic patient record ushers in new era of computerized charting Computerized eCHART improves how we document your care What are the benefits of eCHART? This technology replaces most of our paper documentation and offers many benefits to patients. The power of eCHART allows the health care team instant access to records — saving time and eliminating duplication. In addition, eCHART has systems to identify possible drug interactions, graph test results to watch your health status and store your health history. This information helps your care team decide on the best care for you. How does it work? Nurses, therapists and other clinicians document your care in the computer and create an electronic health record (EHR). This will be continuously updated with current vital signs, test results, education needs, etc. Information will remain confidential. We’re delivering a better future Bringing eCHART to our patients, doctors and clinicians is part of Bryan Health’s commitment to improve patient care through collaboration and technology.


ryan was Lincoln’s first hospital to implement a computer documentation system that creates an electronic health record for every patient. Since our eCHART system went live in the fall, we’ve reduced time spent looking for charts and duplicating records — which means our staff can concentrate on spending more time with patients. Health care teams have immediate access to the most up-to-date information, which they’re using for making patient care plans.



Patient care: Where’s the chart?

The electronic chart can be accessed by multiple providers at the same time from any location. Patient data is up to date to help make appropriate care decisions. And it’s easily accessed from any computer.

Access to chart: Where’s a computer?

Computers are in patient rooms, plus designated staff members have their own laptop computers. We’re adding computer workspaces for physicians on the nursing units.

Where’s the paper?

Less paper is needed because duplicate records are eliminated, and notes are entered directly. Current information is in the electronic health record.

What about medications?

There’s an improved format for the list of medications that patients take home. Most reports are only one or two pages, with text in larger type and presented in easy-tounderstand, patient-friendly language.

Bryan Journeys 25


eCHART empowers us “eCHART provides secure access to patient information with very few clicks, something that is important as we transition to a more electronic medical community. The layout of eCHART displays the major chart components in a logical way, which makes it easy to find the necessary information.” t

~ Anthony Dresbach, MD

“The best thing is we’re charting in real time, right after we do an assessment, so others can access that information right away.” t

“We’re finding eCHART saves us time and gives us quicker access to information — and that allows us to spend less time on paperwork and more time with our patients.” ~ Talia Friesen, RN, interim Cardiac ICU manager

26 Winter 2013

~ Marcia Carlson, RN, Youth Mental Health Services t


~ Linda Scheffert, RRT, Respiratory Therapy


“When nurses document vital signs, that information automatically goes into our oxygen flow records, too, and what we document in respiratory automatically flows into the nursing vital signs records — so we both see in real time what each of us is assessing.”

Joyce Helmink, RN, talks with Dwayne Schmale in the Inpatient Rehab Unit on the Bryan West Campus.


~ Louis Lemon, RN, Cardiac & Vascular Services

“As I make rounds, I have access to a complete clinical picture from any computer.” t

“The service provider workspace gives us the current status on all our patients in real time, so I can see if a procedure is in progress or completed. It’s a great communications tool.”

~ Aaron Pierce, PharmD, Pharmacy

Bryan Journeys 27


Stephen Nagengast, MD, is the Nebraska Rural Health Association’s 2012 Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner.

Giving heart and soul to rural medicine


ne snowy night during a recent Nebraska winter, an elderly man in the Nemaha County Hospital needed emergency surgery. When staff reached surgeon Stephen Nagengast, MD, he offered to drive the 66 miles from Lincoln to Auburn, saying: “It is much easier and more comfortable

28 Winter 2013

for me to drive in the snow than for him to make the trip in an ambulance.” It’s just one example cited by the Nebraska Rural Health Association (NeRHA) as it announced Dr. Nagengast as the 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner Award. The award recognizes direct service providers who have exhibited outstanding

leadership, care and collaboration in improving health services in rural Nebraska. Dr. Nagengast has served the Crete Area Medical Center with his surgical expertise since 1991 — holding regular clinics in Crete, as well as at hospitals in Auburn, Nebraska City, Syracuse, Osceola and Lincoln. He has demonstrated his

CRETE AREA MEDICAL CENTER commitment to rural Nebraska time and again, according to his peers and patients. “He brings the best of medical and surgical care, delivered in a kind and unassuming manner, putting his patients and their families at ease,” the NeRHA states, calling him a mentor for health care trainees, new staff and all team members.

Father set example “I’m overwhelmed,” Dr. Nagengast says of his award. “I know there are a lot of good physicians out there.” He believes he learned from one of the best. His father, the late D.J. Nagengast, MD, was a small-town family doctor from their hometown of Bloomfield for more than 50 years. In the days before cell phones and hospitalists, when one doctor was the doctor in town, that meant house calls and taking two cars to restaurants in case the hospital needed him right away. Dr. D.J. Nagangast always took the call, his son recalls, whether it meant delivering a baby, performing minor surgery or soothing the common cold. “He pretty much worked 24/7 … my father set the bar pretty high. That’s what I strive for,” says Stephen Nagangast. It’s not only what his father did for a living, Dr. Nagengast says, but that he chose it over all other options. “He was top of his medical class, could have done anything he wanted to do — and this was it.”

Limitless compassion The younger Nagengast has set his own bar and made the same choices, says Carol Friesen, President and CEO of Crete Area Medical Center. “We are absolutely blessed to have Dr.

Nagengast practicing at CAMC. He is an amazing surgeon and a man of character with a humble servant’s heart. He comes alongside our physicians and providers, partnering with them in the care of our patients. His compassion is limitless. His dedication is unwavering. He truly is a part of our care team at CAMC and the community of Crete,” she says. Dr. Nagengast has spent his entire career in southeast Nebraska, starting in 1991 after his surgical training in Arizona. His patients range from infants to the elderly, his operations from gallbladder removal to cancer. He may perform routine laparoscopic surgery and emergency stomach surgery back to back. He often logs more than 800 miles a week, driving to hospitals. Like his father, he has his own family who supports his career behind the scenes, including his wife, Karla, and their six children. He couldn’t be successful without their support and the commitment of the health care teams he partners with to provide surgical care, he points out. “The people I work with give their heart and soul to it and to their community. I dedicate my practice to that because these people have dedicated their lives, too.”

Meeting needs Growing up in a small town, himself, Dr. Nagengast knows how important rural hospitals are to their population. So he takes the calls, answers every question, strives to meet each patient before performing their operation. “He visits with patients in an unhurried and understanding manner, never leaving questions unanswered or confusing for the patient and family

members,” one of his nominators wrote. “Patience is probably the best virtue my father gave me,” Dr. Nagengast says. “He treated people so fairly. It didn’t matter if it was the banker or a little old lady at the nursing home — he treated everyone equally.”

It›s personal The surgeon’s career also was shaped by his mother, who died of breast cancer in her 40s, when her son was just 18. Health care is personal, Dr. Nagangast says, and even more so in rural populations. His job is not for everyone; he tells that to medical students considering careers in surgery. He tells them: “It’s hard work. “You have to be sure of yourself because there are less people to lean on than in big facilities. “You’ll be weary at times of the calls from the hospital in the middle of birthday parties and family events.” But, he emphasizes to them, it’s also a blessing: Patients in small hospitals are so appreciative of the care they receive. It’s personal. Dr. Nagengast has redefined surgical expertise — success is less about his low infection rates and surgical stats, and all about his patients. “Patients may be facing a difficult surgery; maybe they are going to die of their disease. One of your roles as a surgeon is to coach them down that avenue. It’s a blessing to me, to step into that part of a person’s life.” n

Bryan Journeys 29


He takes medical skills to Iraq and back


evin Reichmuth, MD, is a husband, a father of four and a partner with Nebraska Pulmonary Specialties. He’s also a colonel in the Nebraska Army National Guard who’s seen his share of action overseas. A native of Columbus, Dr. Reichmuth enlisted in the infantry in 1990. While in medical school, he says, “I decided I wanted to become an officer, so I shifted from infantry to the medical side.” Dr. Reichmuth graduated in 1999 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine, Omaha, then completed a residency and fellowship in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. While serving in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, he made two combat deployments to Iraq — first in 2004 and again in 2008. “In 2004, we were in a very isolated location south of Baghdad,” Dr. Reichmuth recalls. “We were getting lots of casualties and we did everything. We took care of less seriously wounded patients there, and others we stabilized and moved by Medivac to higherechelon care.” Conditions were very different from a pristine ICU. “We had to make do with tents and minimal lighting. I remember cleaning wounds; you have sterile gloves on, then the wind blows in and you see dust swirling around.” In 2008, Dr. Reichmuth was re-deployed. “I did more pulmonary critical care that tour, in addition to combat medicine,” he says. After the second deployment, he and Tracy, his wife, relocated their family from Madison to Lincoln. He has been affiliated with Bryan

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Dr. Kevin Reichmuth (left) gets ready to help a wounded soldier at a military hospital in Iraq in 2004. Most medical team members near the combat zone are armed at all times. Health ever since. “I was amazed — and continue to be amazed — by the state-of-the-art care available here in Lincoln, and Bryan Health is a huge part of that.” In 2010, Dr. Reichmuth made his third deployment to Iraq — this time as a lieutenant colonel and brigade surgeon for the Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. “Each deployment has been so different,” he says. “I enjoy military strategy and operations, which I did when I was in the infantry. This time, I got to do a lot more of that.” Amanda Young, a physician’s assistant from Nebraska Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, also was on that deployment. “We teamed up,” says Dr. Reichmuth. “We did a lot of medical ops, figuring out how to maintain medical readiness for the

brigade and support the mission.” He adds, “Civilian and military experiences really strengthen each other. You do a lot of things you wouldn’t normally do at home when you’re the one who’s there on the front lines to do them. “You also learn to put things in perspective. It’s made me able to stay pretty calm and collected in situations where it’s easy to lose your cool.” Dr. Reichmuth is grateful to all those who have supported him. “I couldn’t have done any of this,” he insists, “without the support of my family and my partners and everyone here at Bryan. “People checked on Tracy and our four children while I was away. And I got whole boxes of letters and goodies while in Iraq, which really boosts morale. You may wonder when you write a letter if it will do any good. I can tell you, yes, it does! “And my wife has been an angel through all of this. I give all credit to her, our friends and colleagues and to the Lord for everything I’ve been able to do.” On his first two deployments, Dr. Reichmuth brought back American flags that had flown over his area of operation in Iraq. On his most recent deployment, he discovered that flags could be carried on unmanned Predator drones as they flew above enemy territory. “I wanted one of those flags to bring back to Bryan,” he says. “Tracy helped make a display for it, which we presented to the staff when I returned.” If you’re visiting Nebraska Pulmonary Specialties on 8th floor of the Bryan Medical Plaza, you can see it for yourself. n

IN SERVICE TO THE WORLD Dr. Kevin Reichmuth — who’s a colonel in the Nebraska Army National Guard — proudly displays an American flag that flew above enemy territory while inside an unmanned Predator surveillance drone. He’s a veteran of three deployments to hospitals in combat zones.

Bryan Journeys 31


Bryan 55PLUS is now Bryan Sterling Connection


or nearly a quarter century, Bryan has been delivering a better future to people 55 and older by being the source to trust on how to stay healthy and active. As we begin a new era, we do so with a new name:

Bryan Sterling Connection

Sterling = a superior wisdom derived from experience Connection = joining together of two or more people, things or parts This name truly describes this program. Bryan Sterling Connection will be here to help you transition from one phase of your life to the next, connecting you with the latest information, physicians, staff members and

Sterling Connection programs to help you be your best. Look for new benefits over the next months. Not only will Bryan Sterling Connection be offered at Bryan Health, it will continue to be offered at your local Heartland Health Alliance hospital. A new card will be mailed to current members soon. To join the free Bryan Sterling Connection, call 402-481-3355, or go to Welcome to Bryan Sterling Connection! n

Bryan Sterling Connection Advisory Board needs you! Want to learn more about Bryan Sterling Connection and Bryan Medical Center? Bryan Sterling Connection Advisory Board members provide important input on new ideas, programs and services for Sterling Connection and Bryan. In addition, they may scoop ice cream, pour coffee or greet members at ice cream and holiday socials. Advisory Board members serve for two years and attend quarterly meetings. If you are interested in serving, please call 402-481-3355. n

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Our Advisory Board includes (seated, from left) Gordon Bair, Larry Monaghan, Deanna Troxel, Dorene Casey, Mary Wit, Bill Schuller and (standing) Sterling Connection/stewardship manager Kathy Wolf, Karen Beek, Lori Lee of Sterling Connection/Advancement, Debbe Bundy, Bill Duncan, Connie Svik of Sterling Connection/Advancement, Diane Engelsma, Don Clouston, Carolyn Henning, Caroline Caauwe, Theresa Hohmeier, Don Sammet, Diane Belschner and Ken Majors. (Not pictured: Tom Beachell, Norma Hyman and Richard Metteer)


Travel for 2013

marvel at the nostalgia and enjoy a root beer float. It will be a great day of fun!

We offer a variety of wonderful travel opportunities, ranging from one day to six days. Sterling Connection tours sell out quickly, so make reservations early!

Or enjoy an extended trip

Sign up for one-day tours

Holiday fun galore The 25th annual Holiday Social was a big hit Dec. 9. More than 1,000 members and guests gathered at Bryan for food, fellowship and music by The Tree Top Trio (above) and pianist Dorothy Applebee.

Amish Lifestyle and More Tuesday, April 16 Come with Bryan Sterling Connection to experience Amish life in Pawnee County along with other fun attractions. You’ll enjoy a buffalo ranch tour, collection of 450 peddle toys, lunch at an Amish farmstead and more.

Bryan Sterling Connection presents:

Scaling Fiscal Cliffs and Other Cliffs in Estate Planning Monday, Feb. 18 7-8:30 p.m. Plaza Conference Center, 1500 S. 48th St. Bryan Medical Center, East Campus Join attorneys Kent Endacott, Jeffery Peetz and Patrick Timmer of Woods & Aitken LLP as they discuss the current status of federal estate and gift tax laws and recent changes in Nebraska laws affecting estate planning. They also will discuss changes in conservatorships, guardianships and the new Nebraska Uniform Power of Attorney Act. To register for this free presentation, go online to, or call 402-481-8886. n

The Social Security Claiming Decision Tuesday, April 9 7-8:30 p.m. Plaza Conference Center, 1500 S. 48th St. Bryan Medical Center, East Campus Executive Wealth Management consultants Michael Johnson and Jeff Johnson discuss Social Security basics, why it’s important from a personal financial perspective and ways to maximize benefits. If you’ve thought, “Social Security won’t be around when I need it” or “Since I’m retired, I may as well take Social Security early,” this is for you. To register for this free presentation, go online to, or call 402-481-8886. n

Don’t Get Wet — Get Tanked! Thursday, June 13 This unique tour features “tankin” — gently gliding down the Nishnabotna River in western Iowa in a horse tank. Other fun attractions include the Union Pacific Museum in Council Bluffs, hand making a “treasure” from trash and visiting the FarmAll-Land USA Museum of 200 displays of items from yesteryear. Nebraska Wine Passport Tour Saturday, Sept. 28 Visit two Nebraska wineries to sample their handmade wine along with lunch. In addition, we’ll plan a fun mystery stop along the way. Enjoy a day sampling the “fruit of the vine” with Bryan Sterling Connection. Omaha Day of Fun Tuesday, Oct. 22 This unique day includes a narrated tour of historical downtown Omaha, lunch at the retro Hollywood Diner and an afternoon at the Fairmont Antique & Mercantile/Hollywood Candy. Hear about old-fashioned candy, watch an episode of the “I Love Lucy” TV show,

Pella Tulip Festival & Amana Colonies Thursday-Friday, May 2-3 A great combination: The colorful Pella Tulip Festival in Iowa and the rich history and culture of the Amana Colonies will make for a tour that’s fun filled. 4th of July in Boston Tuesday-Friday, July 2-5 Join us for a very special tour to celebrate our nation’s birthday in Boston, the cradle of freedom for our country. Spend three nights in Boston and see it all. The outdoor 4th of July concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra will be incredible! Don’t miss this patriotic tour. Railroads of New England Tuesday-Sunday, Oct. 8-13 This perfect vacation combines the awesome colors of fall with four scenic railroad excursions including Amtrak’s spectacular Vermonter route. From the steepest cog railroad to the scenic panoramic views high atop Cannon Mountain, this New England trip will create years of memories. Mystery Christmas 2013 Tuesday-Saturday , Dec. 10-14 We can’t tell you much about this one other than it will be filled with the holiday spirit. This holiday getaway is guaranteed to be a great time. Brochures for these trips are available at Download your chosen brochures, or call 402-481-3355 or 800-742-7844, and ask for Bryan Sterling Connection. n

Bryan Journeys 33


Volunteer Sarah Scholz enjoys visiting with Bryan patients, like Charlotte Tryon of Marysville, Kan.

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Visits with Sarah brighten patients’ days


f you’re ever a patient at Bryan Health, you might have a visitor when you least expect it. Sarah Scholz, 17, with her winning ways and big smile, might pop into your room for a chat at any time. That’s her job. She’s a patient visitor with the Volunteers and Customer Care department. “I like talking to people,” Sarah says. Sarah came to Bryan Medical Center two years ago as a volunteering veteran. She already had served at the senior center, the city library and the Lincoln Children’s Museum. She is interested in a career in health care and thought Bryan Health would be a good place to volunteer. Out of all the volunteer positions available, she selected patient visitor. She doesn’t receive school credit for volunteering; Sarah does it because she likes it so much.

Welcome visitor “I think it’s nice to have someone to talk to,” she says. “Most of the patients are glad to have me visit.” She visits patients at random, focusing on those who don’t already have visitors. “It’s interesting,” she says. Many of the older patients talk about their grandkids, what they used to do for a career, where they’ve traveled and many other topics. For example, one patient was a retired female police officer and told Sarah many anecdotes from a time when there weren’t many women cops. “They’re so full of good stories.” Sarah usually is able to visit about 15 patients in her twohour shift. As well as talking to people, she also fills water pitchers for them. “I believe patient visitors must have a strong sense of caring for others,” says Ellen Beans, director of Volunteers and Customer Care. “They need to have a sense of self-assurance. We look for people who have good listening skills and who are self-starters.” Sarah obviously has these gifts. In fact, she’s so good at what she does, that Volunteers and Customer Care has put her

in charge of training people of all ages to be patient visitors. “Sarah appreciates the position of patient visitor,” Ellen adds. “She wants others to derive the same satisfaction that she enjoys from volunteering. And she sees a need for patient visitors within our medical center.” “I really enjoy it. I get to pass on something I enjoy to others,” says Sarah.

Leading by example She takes her new recruits out on the nursing floor and gives them helpful advice before they visit a patient, such as, “Ask basic questions. Smile. Have a positive attitude.” Her students are doing well. “Last week I had the sweetest lady. She picked it up really well, and she felt right at home. It’s going to be a good thing.” Sarah is a senior in high school. Two of her favorite courses are chemistry and writing. With senior-level homework and working 15-20 hours a week at a local super market, one might wonder how Sarah fits volunteering into her schedule. “I make it a priority to volunteer,” she says. “It’s so rewarding.” Sarah feels a great sense of thankfulness. “I’m so grateful for the things I have. I’m glad I can give of my time to others.” n More than 600 volunteers, from students and professionals to retired individuals, contribute to the success of Bryan Health by serving in various volunteer roles throughout the medical center. To find out about opportunities, please call 402-481-3032, visit, or use your smartphone’s QR application to access the code below. To support the Volunteer Resources Fund, contact the Bryan Foundation by calling 402-481-8605.

Bryan Journeys 35


LifeFit leads to better futures

LifeFit inspires Sally Merker to put her health and well-being back on the front burner, where she knows they belong.


any times, we go to our doctor for a check up and find out we need to do something like lose weight, reduce stress, get more exercise, improve our balance or reduce our blood pressure. But how many of us actually follow through and make the lifestyle changes needed to improve or retain our health and vitality? A new program at Bryan LifePointe, called LifeFit, is providing the services and expertise to help you do the very things your physician urges you to do. LifeFit is a 60-day medical membership program that began last fall. According to LifePointe clinical liaison Cindy Kugler, doctors send patients with a prescription that tells what a person’s health needs are, and the LifeFit staff uses that to determine how to proceed. Clients receive a full assessment at LifePointe to check their

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health status and to set goals; they receive active and consistent support from the fully trained health coaching staff; and clients are held accountable through follow-up at 30 and 60 days, to track progress and review results. Participants also get nutrition advice, and included in the $60 fee is a cooking class. “It used to be most things we saw our doctors for were communicable diseases,” Kugler says. “But now, the bulk of health issues we see are non-communicable diseases and have a lifestyle component. In other words, our living habits are not always conducive to living!” LifeFit supports family doctors in their efforts to help patients make specific lifestyle changes which will improve their patients’ health. Services range from smoking cessation to weight loss to balance improvement. LifeFit also provides the needed

BRYAN LIFEPOINTE coaching and support for follow-through to help clients maintain their new, healthier lifestyle. “LifeFit really is our concerted effort to have all the pieces in place for each individual, and to work with family physicians to help patients prevent major health problems in the first place,” Kugler says.


lthough participants must be referred by their physicians, an urgent medical need is not what this program is about. Sally Merker, who is in her mid40s, appreciates that. Having put her own health on hold to care for an ill parent, she and her doctor saw LifeFit as the perfect push for getting her exercising and taking care of herself again. “I was a member of LifePointe previously, but took a hiatus to take care of my father. So I put myself on the way back burner like many people do,” she says. “I had scheduled an appointment with my doctor and it was like, ‘You know you’re in your 40s, time to take care of yourself.’“ Merker had been thinking about rejoining LifePointe but wasn’t motivated. Her doctor, Amanda Fitzgerald, MD, showed her the LifeFit brochure and thought it would be the right program to get her moving. “So I called LifePointe, and they made it incredibly simple,” she says. There were no so-called red flags on Merker’s LifeFit assessment. Her goal was simply to maintain her existing good health, perhaps lose a little weight, increase her flexibility and stave off health issues down the road. “I want to prevent as many medical issues as I possibly can. Some stuff is hereditary and no matter what you do you might not be able to ward it off, but the more I can ward off the better,” she says. Merker will continue to be a member of LifePointe. “I love this gym, I really do,” she says. “I’ve been a member of a lot of other facilities in Lincoln. I like that it’s always clean here. People are here for their health. Everyone is friendly. Plus, the fitness staff actually are certified, educated trainers.”


on Joekel came to LifeFit after health complications stemming from a heart attack and a five-bypass surgery. As a former coach and someone who was always fit, those health issues were frustrating. “Strange thing was, I didn’t have high blood pressure or cholesterol problems — I had none of those symptoms. But

Chair exercises and training with light weights help Ron Joekel improve his balance and strength.

Bryan Journeys 37


High blood pressure, weight gain and his 5-year-old son motivated Greg Gonzales to try LifeFit — and to join LifePointe. there is a history of heart attack in my family. I had quite a time,” Joekel (pronounced Yay-kel) recalls. He dealt with drug reactions, fluid-filled lungs, a damaged heart valve, and more. When Joekel was ready, cardiologist Ryan Whitney, MD, referred his patient to LifeFit. “I’d been a member here two years before the lungs stuff started and I had to stop,” the 78-year-old says. Since coming back through the LifeFit program, he’s doing much better. For Joekel, who retired from UNL for the second time in June 2012, his goals are improving balance and building up his back muscles so that he can walk farther. And he wants to continue to work out and enjoy retirement with his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “People who retire and sit around don’t live long,” he says. “You’ve got to keep your mind and body active.”


ive-year-old son Preston was all the motivation Greg Gonzales needed to work on his health. Gonzales, who turns 43 in March, found himself with high blood pressure and weight gain and noticed that he was having trouble keeping up with his family. His LifeFit trainer,

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Dustin Roth, put him on a regimen of cardio and weight training. Gonzales started with 20 minutes of cardio training and very quickly moved up to 50 minutes. In his first LifeFit assessment, he was found to be at high risk of serious health issues; Gonzales proudly notes that, after 60 days, he had lost 10 pounds and was placed in the “normal” category for most of his health concerns. “I haven’t lost significant weight, but I have increased my endurance and strength,” he says. “I used to have trouble carrying my son to the car — now I just throw him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes,” he says with a laugh. Gonzales says child care at LifePointe is a big help to his family and is one reason he will continue to be a member. “My wife is able to do things in the afternoon that she couldn’t have done before I joined LifePointe. I can pick up my son and come work out,” he says. Plus, he adds, “The atmosphere is not intimidating. Everyone is nice, the trainers are nice, everyone smiles and says ‘Hi’ to you. You can’t beat that. I’m really impressed with this program.” Kugler says that although the program is new, word is getting out, and patients and their doctors are pleased. LifeFit staff members complete a report at the end of the 60 days and send it to the referring physician so that they can see the progress. “The reality is that 60 days is just the beginning, if individuals truly want to change their lifestyles for the healthier,” Kugler points out. “So we always have a ‘what’s next’ appointment. We go over everything and tell our clients, ‘OK, this is what we’ve done and accomplished in your 60 days with LifeFit, so now, what’s next?’ We hope that we can continue helping them, and about half join LifePointe and stay with their program.” But, she adds, “We understand that there are many reasons why some people can’t join LifePointe. We want them to stay healthy and on track, so we help as much as we can with a plan for them to take with them and hopefully continue to do on their own. We do want them here because we feel we can do more for them here and make sure their health and safety come first.” If you think LifeFit is right for you, ask your doctor for a referral to the program, or call Cindy Kugler at LifePointe at 402-481-6376. n



Cooking with the Cardiologist

The Mediterranean Diet February is Heart Month! Join Bryan Heart cardiologists and Hy-Vee registered dietitians to learn how to prepare heart-healthy, low-cholesterol foods with a Mediterranean diet. Generous food samples will be provided. Payment is required when you register. Limited space available — call the number below to register today because these sessions sell out fast! $12 per person. All sessions start at 6:30 p.m.

Monday, February 18

6:30 p.m. Matthew Johnson, MD, with Robbyn Nelson, RD, & Travis Lucas, RD Location: Hy-Vee, 70th & Pioneers To register: Call 402-489-4244 or e-mail or

Tuesday, February 19

6:30 p.m. W. Michael Kutayli, MD, with Karen Kuzma, RD Location: Hy-Vee, 50th & O Streets To register: Call 402-314-6704 or e-mail

Wednesday, February 20

6:30 p.m. Mathue Baker, MD, with Marcia Wallen, RD Location: Hy-Vee, 40th & Old Cheney To register: Call 402-421-2462 or e-mail

Thursday, February 21

COMMUNITY CALENDAR These classes begin at 7 p.m. in the Plaza Conference Center at Bryan Medical Center, East Campus, 1500 S. 48th St. Thursday, March 21 Asthma: Breathe Easier With pulmonary medicine specialist John Trapp, MD. Thursday, March 28 2013 Health Care Reform Update With Bruce Rieker, Vice President of Advocacy, Nebraska Hospital Association. Tuesday, April 23 Fast Relief for Plantar Fasciitus and Other Tendon Pain WIth interventional radiologist Michael Budler, MD. To register: Go to www.bryanhealth. org/calendar, or call 402-481-8886 for more information about these and other classes.

6:30 p.m. Ryan Whitney, MD, with Becky Guittar, RD Location: Hy-Vee, 84th & Holdrege To register: Call 402-467-5505 or e-mail Bryan Journeys 39


Kathy Campbell and Mike Flood were honored legislators.

NHA award winners Stephanie Roth (left), Collyn Florendo and Darci McMurray were honored at the annual Caring Kind Luncheon in Lincoln.

Senators are Health Care Champions

McMurray and Roth are Caring Kind winners, Board leader Florendo is state’s top trustee

Sen. Kathy Campbell and Speaker Mike Flood of Lincoln received the Nebraska Hospital Association’s “Health Care Champion Award” at the Caring Kind luncheon last fall. Campbell is a member of the Bryan Health Board. The state senators were recognized for exemplary contributions to the health and well-being of the people of Nebraska during the 2012 legislative session. The NHA saluted them for demonstrating outstanding commitment to assure the availability of affordable and high-quality health care. n

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The Nebraska Hospital Association presented its Trustee of the Year Award to Collyn Florendo during the Oct. 19 Caring Kind Award Luncheon. Florendo, former chairman of the Crete Area Medical Center Board, also was a member of the Bryan Health Board.

Registered dietitian Darci McMurray of Bryan Health and radiology/mammography technician Stephanie Roth of Crete Area Medical Center were honored as Caring Kind Award recipients. McMurray’s nominators point out her motivation to

Mental health screening lauded Bryan Health earned distinction as a top site for National Depression Screening Day 2012, according to NDSD program manager Michelle Holberg of the Wellesley, Mass. based Screening for Mental Health organization. “Addressing public mental health issues is no easy task,

and we congratulate you for making it a priority,” she continues. Bryan was a Top 25 online screening site for National Depression Screening Day. To take our free, confidential mental health screening, go to onlinescreenings. n

provide evidence-based care, passion as a nutrition advocate and commitment to teaching. They add, “Darci’s contribution to the nutritional management of babies in the NICU and her relationship with staff is excellent. She’s a true asset.” “Steph exemplifies the mission to make a difference through compassionate and exceptional care,” according to Roth’s nomination. “Patients and teammates applaud her positive outlook. Her passion is serving others and helping them feel safe and comfortable. “She also brings stories to life and has been instrumental in creating educational and inspirational video presentations for the medical center.” n


Joni Schmidt, pathology, was the fastest female 10K runner.

Some of the members of Bryan’s organ recovery team show off their latest national award.

HHS recognizes Bryan’s organ donation efforts Bryan Health received Nebraska’s only Silver Medal in recognition of its organ donor program. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services saluted 404 hospitals for achieving national goals. “I applaud these award winners for bringing the ‘gift of life’ to so many,” says HHS Assistant Secretary of Health Howard Koh, MD. “Their tireless efforts to make improvements in the donation and transplantation field will continue to help save lives.” Kelli Klopfenstein, interim

nurse manager of neurotrauma critical care and donation specialist, says, “We see families affected by tragedy nearly every day. Offering organ donation as an option is very comforting for families affected by a sudden tragic death. And it’s rewarding to know that we’ve helped so many who’ve received the gift of a donation.” Over the years, more than 750 organ donors have been cared for at Bryan Health’s campuses. Bryan is a leader, participating in the Nebraska Donation Improvement

Council and the Nebraska Organ Recovery System and encouraging staff nurses to become nurse donation specialists. HHS has presented four Gold Medals and two Silvers to Bryan since the National Organ Donation Collaborative began in 2005. Sandy Kirchner, charge nurse and donation specialist, adds, “Donation represents a last wish a family can complete for their loved one. Being able to support the family members and to be a part of the NORS team is special.” n

Annual Run to Overcome draws crowd The second-ever Bryan Run to Overcome drew 1,181 runners Sept. 30 and raised $27,795 for mental health education and depression awareness. Joni Schmidt, outpatient phlebotomy, was the fastest female runner in the 10K, and she was second only to Anthony Schutz, who was the first male in the 10K. T.J. Hubbard was the overall male winner in the 5K, and 12-year-old Madi Muma was the female winner at that distance. n

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1600 S. 48th St., Lincoln, NE 68506

Address service requested