July 2017 DAISY Award Winner is Shelly O’Rourke

Shelly OrourkeThe July 2017 DAISY Award winner is Shelly O’Rourke, BSN, RN, from Surgical Care Services at the Mercy Campus. Shelly was nominated by her manager, Michele Klint, and the daughter of a patient who has been going for treatment at Surgical Services since late 2015.Shelly was honored with a surprise celebration on her unit before her leaders, peers and family members.

What follows is an excerpt from the nomination form written by the daughter of the patient.

Shelly is full of compassion, brings a joyful disposition wherever she goes, and is real and down to earth. She invests in her patients. I have had the honor of watching her not only with my mom but with other patients and staff. It is not uncommon for her to offer help to a co-workers, praise her co-workers, or go above and beyond for her patients.

Is it chilly? She’ll get them a warm blanket. Do her patients need someone to talk to? She will listen. Are they looking a little down? She has an uncanny ability to put a smile on their faces.

When Mother’s Day came around, Shelly gifted my mother a beautiful fern and gave her a heart-touching card. When she found out I was recovering from surgery, she made sure to stop in on her day off to sit with my mom during her treatment so she would not be lonely.

These little acts of love add up. They make a difference. It’s the difference between someone simply doing their job and letting patients know they are cared for—not only on a physical level, but also spiritually and emotionally. Having an individual who makes it a point every time to let us know she truly cares not only puts our trust in the care we receive but restores our faith in humanity.

To nominate a well deserving nurse, please complete the nomination form.


Successful Final Student Heart Screening for 2017!

StudentHeartScreeningIcon-RGBMercy Health Physician Partners West Shore Cardiology and Mercy Health Heart Center hosted their final student heart screening before the 2017-2018 school year at the Youngberg Auditorium on Mercy Health Hackley Campus on Wednesday, August 23. Free and open to students in grades 9-12, the event successfully screened 101 students. In total, 591 students were screened at the five events held this year.

Heart screenings are a quick method for identifying pre-existing heart conditions that could increase a student’s risk of complications during physical activity and/or athletic competition. However, students do not have to be athletes or participate in sports to undergo the screening.

The screenings are completed in approximately 15 minutes and consist of a heart history questionnaire, blood pressure check, 12-Lead EKG, physician exam and, if necessary, an echocardiogram. Students from many schools across Michigan registered for this year’s screening, including the following, with the highest participation:

  • Grand Haven: 14%
  • Fruitport:10%
  • Mona Shores: 9%
  • Reeths Puffer: 8%
  • Muskegon Catholic Central: 6%
  • Spring Lake: 6%
  • Oakridge: 5%

Since 2012, several heart screenings have been hosted each year. Mercy Health has screened a total of 4,227 high school students and diagnosed several at-risk students with a serious heart condition.

A special thanks to the numerous Mercy Health colleagues who volunteer for this event and continue to make it a success.

Gov. Snyder and U.S. Secretary of Labor Visit Mercy Health to Learn About MA Registered Apprenticeship Program

Wenika Gibson performing MA duties with Gov. Snyder and Acosta in background
Wenika Gibson, MA apprentice performs her MA duties while Gov. Snyder, Dept. of Labor Secretary Acosta and Roger Curtis look in.

Mercy Health was honored to host Governor Rick Snyder and U.S. Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta on Monday, August 21, 2017. The 45-minute visit focused on the U.S. Department of Labor-registered Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program, which is conducted in partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, Muskegon Community College, Montcalm Community College and West Michigan Works!

During a roundtable discussion, the governor and secretary were eager to hear about the experiences of three Medical Assistants, Jamie Hoeksema, a graduate of the program, and Tania Hernandez and Wenika Gibson, who are currently participating in the program.

 Presenting key information and statistics about the program from Mercy Health were:

  • Bill Manns, president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s;
  • Shana Welch, SHRM-SCP, Regional Director, Talent Acquisition, Human Resources;
  • Diane Goryl, who leads the MA Apprenticeship Program in Muskegon;
  • Karen DeVries, who leads the MA Apprenticeship Program in Grand Rapids;
  • Dave Blair, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director of Mercy Health Physician Partners Grand Rapids;
  • Liz Murphy, CNO, Vice President, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.

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Mercy Health colleagues were joined by Angie Barksdale of West Michigan Works!, and Gov. Snyder was accompanied by Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development.

After the discussion, Gibson demonstrated the skills of a medical assistant for the governor and labor secretary, such as taking a patient’s blood pressure and preparing him for his visit with his provider.

 “It quickly became obvious this visit was not for the governor or secretary to get any media attention or to posture for political gain,” said Manns in a thank-you email to Mercy Health colleagues who had hosted and prepared for the event. “It was remarkable to see the sincerity of their desire to learn from us and to try to identify ways they could spread the program across the nation. Upon leaving, they seemed to be impressed and were very complimentary of our team.”

Welch was appreciative of Snyder and Acosta’s interest in growing and developing the program in the near future, as they pointedly asked Mercy Health and West Michigan Works!,” What do you need to move this program forward?”

“It was meaningful dialogue about the important work of expanding apprenticeship programs and providing clear pathways to a broader population, including high schools students,” said Welch, who has expressed interest in expanding the program.

This trip to Grand Rapids marked Sec. Acosta’s third trip to Michigan since his appointment in April 2017, according to his staffers who accompanied him on the tour.

Fast facts about the Mercy Health Medical Assistant Registered Apprenticeship Program, which began in January 2016:

  •  Mercy Health has had 35 medical assistant apprentices go through the program, representing a mix of external and internal candidates.
  • The program was created to meet local health care providers’ critical need for qualified Medical Assistants and provide an entry point for individuals to grow into a variety of careers in the industry. The program is fully funded and students graduate with no student loan debt.
  • The program allows Mercy Health to foster frontline workers through the Medical Assistant Apprenticeship program, where colleagues receive the clinical training and education to become certified medical assistants, while also earning a paycheck from Mercy Health. Many program participants have encountered barriers to receiving an education or when trying to transfer into their desired field of health care.
  • Mercy Health West Michigan has committed to partnerships with three regional community colleges, West Michigan Works!, and several community workforce training partners—including Grand Rapids Urban League and Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids—to proactively identify and train up to 300 unemployed or underemployed people per year for health care professions, reaching many in underserved populations.




Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Named a Top Nurse Employer in Michigan by Nurse.org

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Named in Nurse.org’s Best Hospitals For Nurses in the State of Michigan

 Nurse.org, the best-hospitals-michiganweb’s leading career site for nurses, has recognized Mercy Health Saint Mary’s as one of the best hospitals for nurses to work for in Michigan. Over the past two years, Nurse.org has collected more than 1,411 reviews by nurses at 125 Michigan hospitals about their workplace satisfaction. Reviews in Michigan have revealed that Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has one of the highest levels of satisfaction among its nurses.

Reviewers cited a family atmosphere and supportive management as the basis for the 4.2 star rating with 96% of the nurses surveyed recommending the hospital as an employer.

Nurse.org’s Product Manager, Phillip Lee, congratulated Mercy Health Saint Mary’s on this achievement saying, “We’re excited to be able to recognize Mercy Health Saint Mary’s for their excellent work environment. After surveying over a thousand nurses in Michigan, our data showed that Mercy Health Saint Mary’s ranked in the top 10% of hospitals in Michigan for work satisfaction among nurses.”

Nurse.org provides a safe platform on which nurses leave honest workplace reviews. Completely anonymous, nurses share their opinions about culture, nurse-to-patient ratios, and other matters important to them.

Making the list of top hospitals shows the organization is focused on nurse satisfaction. Nurse recruitment — a challenge today — becomes easier when the hospital can demonstrate its commitment to nurses by pointing to an unbiased source.

“We have worked diligently to create a positive work environment, and we listen to the voices of our nurses,” said Liz Murphy, BSN, MSBA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE. Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “When nurses are supported, they create a more positive, caring and healing environment. For more than the past ten years, we have rated higher than national norms for RN-Physician collaboration and cross-departmental collaboration. We serve with gratitude and pride.”

The full rankings of the Best Hospitals in Michigan for Nurses is available to view at http://nurse.org/articles/best-hospitals-michigan/

To see all of the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s reviews, see their facility page on Nurse.org.

AED Scavenger Hunt Update: 50 AEDs Located in Muskegon County with More to be Found!

AED Scavenger Hunt Update: 50 AEDs Located with More to be Found!

Mr. Henry Graves (center) with two of the ProMed first responders who came to his rescue after his sudden cardiac arrest in June 2017 at Family Fitness in Muskegon
Mr. Henry Graves (center) with two of the ProMed first responders who came to his rescue after his sudden cardiac arrest in June 2017 at Family Fitness in Muskegon

Last month we published an announcement of the first-of-its-kind AED Scavenger Hunt, which is being spearheaded by Dr. Amada Paden, a fourth-year resident of Mercy Health Muskegon; Dr. Jerry Evans, Medical Director for Emergency Medicine at Mercy Health Muskegon; and Chad Lawton, Medical Control Authority Coordinator for the West Michigan Regional Medical Consortium.

This group is on a mission to save lives by locating all AEDs in Muskegon County and promoting bystander CPR training, which—when used together on someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest—can dramatically improve a person’s rate of survival. To date, 50 AEDs have been located throughout Muskegon County, but there are many more to be found—and we need your help to increase patients’ survival rates from cardiac episodes.

For Mercy Health Muskegon patient Henry Graves, who experienced a sudden cardiac arrest in June while working out at a fitness facility, the use of an AED and CPR while he was awaiting medic intervention saved his life. Four bystanders, including the gym’s manager, immediately jumped into action by calling 911, starting chest compressions and using an AED the gym had hanging on the wall near the front entrance.

The bystanders administered one defibrillation prior to the arrival of first responders from Norton Shores Fire Department, who took over and provided two additional defibrillations. By the time the paramedics arrived in the ambulance (shortly behind first responders) Henry had already regained spontaneous circulation. He was talking by the time he arrived at the ER on the Mercy Health Mercy Campus.

After Mr. Graves was admitted, he underwent a cardiac catheterization procedure. Luckily, no blockages were found, so he received an AICD (Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) and was discharged home with no deficits.

Henry’s story is a prime example of the importance of bystander recognition of cardiac arrest, early activation of the emergency response system (calling 911), early CPR and rapid defibrillation. The bystanders made the difference with their knowledge of CPR and use of a publicly available AED.

Muskegon County experiences about 200 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year. In 2016, the survival rate in Muskegon County was 10.2 percent out of 177 cases. Every year in the United States, there are about 350,000 sudden cardiac arrests, with a survival rate of about 12 percent in 2016.

Unfortunately, most people do not survive these events. However, more communities have dedicated themselves to improving these odds through targeted improvement initiatives, demonstrating that survival is possible if the right elements are in place.

When someone’s heart stops, his or her chance of survival has been demonstrated to decrease by about 7–10 percent for every minute without CPR and/or defibrillation. This presents a problem in most communities, since the average response time for EMS is typically 8–10 minutes. If a victim must wait 10 minutes for EMS to arrive, that person’s chances of survival, statistically, have dropped to about 0-30 percent.

Therefore, some communities have developed campaigns aimed at raising awareness of sudden cardiac arrest, providing CPR training for its citizens, working with their dispatch centers to ensure dispatchers can recognize the signs of cardiac arrest from a caller’s description and provide CPR instructions over the phone when needed, and place and track AEDs throughout the community.

In Henry Graves’ case, the system performed just as it was intended. The AED Scavenger Hunt Committee believes that Mr. Graves’ case is a great example to show the community and our health care colleagues that we can beat sudden cardiac arrest. His case highlights the importance of the “chain of survival,” which includes:

1)     Recognition and activation of the emergency response system by calling 911

2)     Immediate high-quality CPR

3)     Rapid defibrillation with an AED

4)     Basic and advanced emergency medical services (EMS)

5)     Advanced life support and post-arrest care

Please continue to register AEDs you locate throughout our community now through the end of the month. Prizes range from $50 to $300. When you locate an AED, report your Team Name along with a brief description of it, including the address, the AED location within the building, and whether the device appears to be ready for use by general public (e.g., is the AED accessible?) on the contest Facebook page (WMRMC) or by email to muskegonaedregistry@gmail.com Photos of the AED are encouraged, but not required.

Second Annual “Subaru Loves to Care” Blanket Donations to Johnson Family Cancer Center

For the second year in a row, staff from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) of Michigan and Subaru of Muskegon visited the Johnson Family Cancer Center to donate soft, cozy blankets to patients in need of warmth and comfort while they undergo treatment. The blankets each contain a “message of hope” from visitors to Subaru retailers who were given the chance to share personalized messages with patients in our local community.

Together, LLS and Subaru of Muskegon’s goal is to spread hope, love, and warmth to cancer patients through these small gestures. LLS and Subaru (nationally) will donate over 38,000 blankets and messages of hope, written by Subaru customers, to patients across the country, and donate arts & crafts kits to children battling cancer.

subaru hdPictured, left – Colleagues from Subaru of Muskegon and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Michigan deliver blankets to the Mercy Health Johnson Family Cancer Center in Muskegon. Patient Cody Clark (seated, center) poses with one of the blankets he received while undergoing treatment.

About the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. Leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma are types of blood cancers. Since its inception in 1949, LLS has invested more than $1 billion in cutting-edge research to advance cures and better therapies, while LLS support and advocacy programs have helped patients navigate their treatments and access quality, affordable, and coordinated care. As the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education, and patient services, LLS is working to save lives not someday, but today.

About the Johnson Family Cancer Center

As part of Mercy Health, the Johnson Family Cancer Center provides access to the most sophisticated options for cancer treatment in West Michigan – with some of the most advanced cancer care right here on the lakeshore.

Cancer is a difficult journey. That’s why Mercy Health is committed to making world-class cancer care available in Muskegon. Here, patients can access the most advanced cancer-fighting technologies – including TrueBeam and RapidArc radiation therapies.

Our oncology program adheres to high standards for treatment and is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. We employ recognized experts in oncology, nutrition, medication management and counseling. They work together to ensure all of our patients receive the physical and emotional support possible.





Don’t be Afraid to Discuss Urinary Incontinence and Bladder Issues – Physician Spotlight: Dr. Jason Bennett

urogynAs women age, urinary incontinence can be as prevalent as diabetes, back pain and even asthma. Nearly 40 percent of women will experience some form of urine leakage as they grow older, however only 25 percent of them will discuss symptoms and frustrations of this condition with their doctor.


Dr. Jason Bennett of Mercy Health West Michigan Urogynecology, encourages women to talk with their doctor about bladder problems, so that they can begin living their best life without barriers! Dr. Bennett shares recommendations and ways to start the conversation with your doctor on Mercy Health Muskegon’s “Health Care Spotlight” radio show.

Dr. Bennett’s areas of expertise include pelvic organ prolapse and reconstruction, urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence.

Causes and symptoms of urinary incontinence include:

  • Stress Incontinence – Leakage of urine occurs during coughing, laughing, sneezing or a physical activitydr bennett
  • Overactive Bladder – Urinary frequency and/or urgency occurs, sometimes without much warning
  • Urge Incontinence – Sudden, strong urges to urinate along with sudden uncontrollable gushes of urine
  • Overflow Incontinence – Frequent, constant dribbling. May be due to the inability to completely empty the bladder
  • Functional Incontinence – Inability to reach the toilet or remove clothes on time. May be due to impaired mobility, cognition or environmental barriers
  • Mixed Incontinence – A combination of stress and urge incontinence. Bladder control issues can be a symptom of other underlying problems

Dr. Bennett is also experienced with the da Vinci robot – both teaching courses in California and having physicians from 26 states come to learn from him about robotic sacrocolpopexy. He has taught multiple courses on sacral neuromodulation (InterStim) and surgical hemotosis agents to make surgery safer.

Call Dr. Bennett for your consult today!

Mercy Health Bladder Clinic
6401 Prairie Street, Suite 1700
Norton Shores, MI 49444

“This Clinic Changed My World”

Patient Cynthia Walker
Cynthia Walker

Cynthia Walker was a professional office worker for many years before she had a life-changing accident in 2000, which left her without a job, medical and dental insurance, and hope. Devastated that she needed to go on Medicaid, she made tough choices when it came to her dental care.

Due to the lack of private dental offices accepting Medicaid, Walker was unable to pay for proper dental care for years. With the opening of Mercy Health Dental Clinic in 2014, Walker was able to use her dental Medicaid coverage and made an appointment. Each patient has a comprehensive oral exam, and a treatment plan is formulated by a dentist Mercy Health staff explain which procedures are covered by Medicaid in order for the patient to make an informed decision about their care.

Before the clinic opened, Walker—who is social by nature—remained indoors as much as possible. “My rotten teeth made me look like a crack head, which I am NOT,” she declared. “I adore Mercy Health. It’s a blessing that they accept Medicaid. Before I got my dentures, I just stayed in the house because people judged me based on my missing and rotting teeth. When people saw me coming, they didn’t really see me. I was ashamed…This clinic changed my world.”

In fact, Mercy Health Dental Clinic means so much her, that when she is able to do so, Walker drops by just to say hi and drop off a treat for the staff. “The people at the clinic are kind and patient. They work with you to make you comfortable. You don’t have to be afraid of going to the dentist. They take care of you…even the children. When my son gets his teeth cleaned, he actually falls asleep.”

“We love Cynthia,” said Wendy Wilterink, RDA, “She is like a member of our family. Our patients are the reason we are here.”

Wendy Wilterink with Kumar Magar
Wendy Wilterink with Kumar Magar

Kumar Magar, a teen from Nepal, was at the clinic to have four fillings. With his father sitting nearby, the staff used a portable phone to enlist the services of a live interpreter, so the dentist could communicate with Kumar and his father.

“Providing interpretation services is just one of the many ways we make our patients comfortable,” said dental assistant Wendy Wilterink, who works at the clinic because she loves to help people who normally can’t get help. “We have patients who speak many languages: Burmese, Nepali, Arabic, Spanish, Somali, Kinyarwanda, and Hakha Chin to name a few.”

The clinic’s patient base is currently 1,174 patients, but despite the busyness, Mercy Health focuses on each patient’s individual needs. Practice leader Susan Badaluco, RDH, explained, “We care for the underserved and the homeless in the Grand Rapids area as well as many refugee families. Last year we completed 2,188 dental procedures. We care for children from ages 3 to 20 as well as the adult population.”

Walker feels strongly about integrated care. “To take good care of a person, you need to include dental care. Mercy Health does that through this clinic. They actually care about the whole person.

“Thanks to Mercy Health Dental Clinic, I now have dentures, and I can eat and smile,” said Walker in appreciation. “So many people are walking around without teeth, just like I was. They need to know about this clinic and how it can change their lives.”

Mercy Health Dental Clinic

A Community Benefit Ministry of Mercy Health

781 36th Street SE Grand Rapids, MI 4954


Monday–Friday, 7:30 .a.m. to 4 p.m.

Commonly Covered Adult Medicaid Benefits

  • Exams and Cleanings
  • Radiographs
  • Fillings
  • Extractions
  • Partials (pre-authorization required)
  • Dentures (pre-authorization required)

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Back-to-School Bash 2017 Donates 841 Backpacks to Kids

All backpacks were donated by Mercy Health colleagues!

Heartside Health Center, a community benefit ministry of Mercy Health, hosted its third annual Back-to-School Bash on August 12, 2017, to generate excitement and to prepare children for going back to school. Dozens of colleagues and community partners donated their time and energy into creating a successful event that saw more than 1,000 people in attendance, including nearly 850 kids.

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In addition to offering every child who attended a free backpack, the Back-to-School Bash provided other school supplies and had a free book giveaway. Mercy Health Dental Clinic was present, giving away kids’ toothpaste and dental health education.

Onsite activities such as

  • hula hooping,
  • bubble blowing and
  • live music kept the atmosphere fun and light-hearted.

Rochelle Sather, manager at Heartside Health Center, credits the changing neighborhood to the event’s continual success. “The Heartside neighborhood is growing and changing, and our health center is excited to contribute to this diverse community.”

Thanks to the nearly two dozen local agencies who donated their time to participate in this annual event, some of which are listed below:

Congratulations to the Heartside Health Center team on such a successful event!

Jackie Recker, DAISY Award Recipient August 2017 – Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

Jackie Recker poses with The Healer's Touch sculpture and Liz Murphy
Jackie Recker, RN, from the Birth Center at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s received the DAISY Award in August 2017 for her extreme compassion for a family who was experiencing the loss of a newborn. Recker is depicted with CNO Liz Murphy during the award presentation on August 15, 2017.

  Special thanks to Jackie Recker, a nurse from the Birth Center, who was nominated by a family for the exceptional care she provided for them as they experienced the loss of their medically fragile newborn.

An excerpt from the heart-felt nomination is below:

          “Jackie was my and my husband’s strength in the days following the birth of our medically fragile daughter. Knowing our daughter would pass away shortly after birth, Jackie was sure to be there every step of the way — from encouraging us to take lots of pictures, to treating us to Biggby Coffee, to playing music as we held her through her last days.

“I am a nurse and I know first-hand that nursing is hard. Not everyone is comfortable in dealing with death, especially infant death, but Jackie made herself present through it all.

“I want to thank her for just being present. I don’t think she left our room more than 20 minutes the last days. We are so thankful for her strength in our weakest moments. Her care was above and beyond.”



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Jackie was surprised with the DAISY Award on the Birth Center on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. After the entire unit gathered for Liz Murphy to read the nomination, for Jackie to sign the banner and for a group photo, Jackie led the group in prayer for the baby and its family, thanking God for such a sweet baby and for continued healing for the family.

Thank you to Jackie for exhibiting compassion for the family during this extremely difficult time.