Enjoy a Healthier You through Lifestyle Improvements and Self-Care

A healthier body, mind and spirit are goals many of us strive to reach. However, the pressures of daily life make can it difficult for many women to achieve these aims. Trying to do it all – maintain a successful career, sustain stable relationships, raise children, care for aging parents – can take a serious toll on your physical and emotional health.

Therefore, it’s important that women, or the women in your life, take the time and make the effort to focus on themselves without feelings of guilt. Mercy Health would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to take the necessary steps to jump-start positive lifestyle changes by taking better care of all aspects of your well-being.

Lifestyle modification can consist of a variety of strategies such as healthier eating, exercise and physical activity, getting adequate sleep, reducing stress and spiritual fulfillment. However, it’s important to remember that no two women are the same and you should tailor whatever strategies you use to your own life and goals.

Ensuring that you get enough physical activity will go a long way toward improving your overall quality of life. Although the benefits of physical activity far outweigh the possibility of adverse outcomes, you should still start gradually and perform the types of physical activity that are appropriate for your current fitness level. However, because we are designed to use our bodies and inactivity can be a contributing factor to many health issues, you should strive to meet the following recommendations:

  • Do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) per week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes) per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.
  • Perform muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week.
  • Do activities that you enjoy, be it weightlifting, walking, yoga, swimming and biking because almost any exercise is helpful.

Women’s busy schedules can sometimes make it difficult to eat correctly. Proper nutrition is a key component of any strategy to live healthier. Keep these guidelines in mind when planning your meals:

  • Eat three meals a day. Meals should consist primarily of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Control portion sizes. Take time to enjoy smaller amounts of food.
  • Limit foods high in salt, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and added sugar.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink it in moderation – up to one drink a day for women.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking enough water.

Poll results of all adults have shown women are more likely than men to have difficulty falling and staying asleep and to experience more daytime sleepiness at least a few nights/days a week. Additionally, new research shows that when women lose sleep they’re at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and depression. Here are a few tips to help you get a better night’s rest:

  • Establish a regular sleep/wake cycle. Avoid taking naps, which can make falling asleep more difficult.
  • Make your bedroom an inviting place. However avoid use of the bed for watching TV, eating or working.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine as these things can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. Also avoid stimulating activities close to bedtime and instead engage in calming, relaxing activities.

Making changes to improve the physical aspects of your well-being are great. But what can women do to enhance their mental and spiritual health? Physical, mental and spiritual health are deeply intertwined and have a profound effect on one another. Even though it may seem hard to find ways to de-stress with all the things you have to do, it’s important to find those ways. The following suggestions can help:

  • Stress relievers like deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises and keeping a journal, can be helpful in controlling the impact stress has on your body.
  • Don’t try to do too much at one time – make sure to have time for proper nutrition, sleep, work and play.
  • Maintaining a close circle of family and friends can provide you with emotional support when you need it.
  • Make time for meditation and/or prayer. Spend time in nature.
  • Strive to practice compassion, love, forgiveness, altruism, joy, and fulfillment.
  • Work to increase the positive moments in your work and your life, while reducing the negative.

Last but not least, your lifestyle improvement program should always include getting annual physicals and tests from your primary care physician (PCP). Finding a PCP is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

Mercy Health is committed to helping you Live Your Whole Life by nurturing well-being through body, mind and spirit.

Departments Work Together to Greatly Reduce Risk of Hospital-Acquired Infections

Bundled Intervention, Continuous Improvement Credited for Reducing HAIs at Mercy Health in Muskegon

Bruce Olson, MD, Hilary VanderKooi RN, Debbie Eisen BSN, RN, Linda Dunmore MSN, RN, Kim Greenwald BA, RN, Pam Ronning MPA, BSN, RN, Russ Laarman, RN. Not pictured: Paige Morningstar

When patients come in to the hospital for treatment, our goal is to make sure that they’re better off after they leave. One way we do this is by taking precautions to reduce their risk of developing a Hospital-Acquired Infection (HAI).

Two dedicated teams in Muskegon – the Infection Prevention and Control team, along with the newly-formed Antibiotic Stewardship Committee, are spearheading efforts to reduce HAI rates –  a Strategic Aim toward People Centered Care for both Mercy Health and Trinity Health. Led by Bruce Olson, MD, medical director of Infectious Disease and associate medical director of Quality at Mercy Health Muskegon, their primary goal is to protect patients, colleagues and the public from developing an HAI.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, HAIs are infections that patients can contract while receiving medical treatment in a health care facility. While they’re a major threat to patient safety, most HAIs are preventable through proactive measures.

“A lot of people have heard about Hospital-Acquired Infections, and that the majority of the time, they’re preventable. That is what we spend the most of our efforts focused on,” said Dr. Olson.

It’s not an easy task, though. Consider the fact that for clinical staff, trying to minimize the risk of developing an infection while in the hospital is like trying to dry yourself off with a wet towel. They are continually putting in catheters, central lines – or even hooking patients up to ventilators – all in an environment where inherently everyone around them is ill. The risk for exposure to an infection is there, but with Dr. Olson’s teams at work, our hospital system has been able to significantly reduce exposure to HAIs through an extremely proactive approach.

Proactively Preventative – The Infection Prevention & Control Team

There are six major categories of infection prevention:

  1. Communicable infection, such as influenza (spread by coughing or sneezing)
  2. Infections with extremely-resistant bacteria
  3. Infections related to surgery
  4. Device-related infections (bladder catheters, intravenous catheters, ventilators)
  5. Clostridium Difficile infection (C. Diff)
  6. Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) infection

To maximize the ability to identify risk and prevent infection in the hospital environment, the IPC team is made up of specialty-trained nurses, physicians and data analysts who have a continuous improvement mindset and are always monitoring their progress.

“We have a scorecard from Trinity Health and the Centers for Disease Control that tells us how we’re doing compared to other hospitals,” said Dr. Olson. “Right now, we’re doing quite well. We have an HAI rate that is currently about half that of most hospitals.”

Debbie Eisen, BSN RN, manager, Accreditation, Patient Safety and Infection Control, helps lead the group while using kata and teamwork to maintain the success of HAI reduction.

“The thing I am most proud of regarding the HAI reduction is how the departments from nursing, pharmacy, environmental services, lab  and medical staff have collaborated to reduce the hospital-acquired infections at Mercy Health Muskegon,”  said Eisen.  The implementation of learning from defects and kata in 2017, along with multi-disciplinary communication and engagement have been instrumental in the overall reduction.”

Specifically, their team uses bundled interventions that are known to reduce risk and create a culture of safety.

For example, “If we put an IV in a patient, first – we want to make sure it’s necessary. Once the IV is no longer necessary, we get it out as soon as possible. We always want to make sure the IVs are put in using appropriate technique, and that they’re managed on a daily basis – all in a way that minimizes risk to the patient,” said Olson.

The team approach to process, along with the outcomes the IPC group is trying to avoid are what drive their efficiencies.

“Our efforts are facilitated by lean. We’re continually giving measurement and feedback to those involved,” said Dr. Olson.

The Antibiotic Stewardship Committee – Working in Partnership to Reduce Risk

Operating in tandem with the IPC group, the Antibiotic Stewardship Committee, led by Todd Capron, PharmD, has identified how the excessive use of antibiotics can cause increased resistance, which prolongs recovery and creates more risk for the spread of disease.

“We want to preserve antibiotics’ effectiveness for our patients,” said Olson.

The team has established establish guidelines for appropriate use of antibiotics in the hospital. They’ve created programs for reassessment of each patient, and modify the treatment if necessary. The ASC’s current focus is on the inpatient population – making sure to stop antibiotics if they’re no longer needed, and help identify duration of treatment and dosing. All to more effectively use these drugs to get the maximum benefit with the least amount of risk.

“These two groups are operating under the same principles, just targeting different areas, looking at process, measuring outcomes, and providing feedback – with a constant focus on continuous improvement,” said Olson. “We’re always trying to improve what we do. What was best at one time, may no longer be the most effective strategy to prevent infections.”

Debbie Eisen added, “I am excited to see what will happen in 2018 with the new Antibiotic Stewardship Committee and its alignment with Infection Prevention & Control and HAI reduction.  I think Mercy Health will be the organization that other Regional Health Ministries within Trinity Health look to as a best practice.”

For more information on Mercy Health’s Infectious Disease prevention and specialists, please visit their website.


Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Over time, full-time Aquinas College Assistant Baseball Coach Casey Wila has developed an excellent relationship with surgeon Timothy Henne, MD.

That’s because during the last decade, Dr. Henne has performed three orthopedic surgeries on Wila’s four sports-related injuries.

An active athlete throughout his life, in high school Wila played baseball, basketball and football. His ongoing passion for athletics took a toll on his body.

Wila and Dr. Henne met for the first time shortly after Wila injured his right ACL during his junior year in high school.

“Dr. Henne makes you feel super comfortable. He’s a regular guy…you can talk to him about anything. He treats everyone like a friend and is very personable. That’s why patients are at ease with him.”

As an athlete at Aquinas College, Wila then injured his left ACL, and also broke his ankle and femur.

Casey Wila and Dr. Henne

Dr. Henne performed Wila’s first three surgeries, and Geoffrey Sandman, MD, repaired Wila’s femur during his most recent surgery.

“Both surgeons are consummate professionals,” said Wila. “They explained my injuries to me and made sure I was comfortable with all aspects of my treatment and rehab. Throughout all four surgeries, I received very good, high quality care.”

“It speaks to Casey’s character and resilience that he could be knocked down four times and pick himself up and have a good attitude about it,” said Dr. Henne about Wila.

After undergoing his surgeries, Wila speaks from ample experience as he encourages other patients to stick with their rehab regimen.

“You need to do the rehab the doctors recommend to give you the quality of life you want.” Wila’s femur injury was particularly significant because he had to start from scratch.

“I had to learn to walk again and put weight on that leg, and I’m glad I did everything that was recommended. I trust my doctors.”

Coach Wila is grateful to be back to doing what he truly enjoys. “Coaching has been the most challenging and rewarding experience in my life. I look forward to coaching for a long time. Thanks to Mercy Health, I’m back to playing sports, coaching and good health.”


Inspired by God and Cancer

Grand Girlfriends Funds Grant to Purchase Books that Explain Cancer to Children

Mothers and grandmothers are often the main caregivers in their families. What happens when they must step back from this role due to a cancer diagnosis, and in turn undergo dramatic changes?

“I kept saying to everyone, ‘It’s still me,'” said 12-year cancer survivor Rebecca DuBois who received her treatment at Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center in 2005.

This phrase, “Still Me,” —combined with prayer, continued love and support from her friends and family — bolstered DuBois throughout her treatment, and in turn, became the title of the book DuBois geared toward children with people in their lives who are undergoing cancer treatment.

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Published in 2012, DuBois’ book is “meant to be used as a tool to create a dialogue between children and their loved ones,” she said. “I was inspired by God to tell His message about the journey of cancer, as seen by the child and his mother.”

As a nurse navigator at the cancer center, Katie Bouwhuis, BSN, was given the book by another nurse navigator and gave it to a newly diagnosed mom of three young children.

“After a few minutes, I came back to find the mom reading it, tears streaming down her face, appreciative of the way the book represents cancer treatment and the child’s perspective,” said Bouwhuis. “It didn’t talk about her dying as the end result, but rather showed the changes she and the relationships with her kids would undergo.”

Cancer survivor and “Still Me” author Rebecca DuBois explains the imagery and meaning behind the book that explains the process of cancer treatment to children on December 12, 2017. Funds from Grand Girlfriends donor group supplied 350 books to patients of Lacks Cancer Center.

It was that same day that Bouwhuis received a request from the Saint Mary’s Foundation, calling for small grant opportunities funded by the Grand Girlfriends, an all-female donor group that supports the health care needs of women at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.

“It was providential,” said Bouwhuis, who applied for the grant.

The Lacks Cancer Center was awarded the grant by Grand Girlfriends to purchase 350 copies of Still Me, which is about a year’s supply for newly diagnosed female patients at Lacks Cancer Center.

“As social workers and nurse navigators, we will be able to provide this book as a tool for cancer patients to use with their children and grandchildren,” said Bouwhuis.

DuBois offers her words as a message of hope and strength to cancer patients: “The book uses the imagery of trees, as people are like trees, with strong roots that can weather storms and the givers of life,” said DuBois. Still Me takes the reader through four different seasons to show transitions in life, and in turn, through the course of cancer treatment, before the person is renewed.

DuBois has inserted a bird in each picture, as the “bird represents God, as He is always with us on this journey.”

Bouwhuis agrees, “It was a God moment that led us here, to be able to receive these books as gifts for our patients.”

Want to inspire patients in their time of need? Consider becoming a Grand Girlfriend,  or its male counterpart, Grand Guys,  to help improve the health of our patients.

“Leaving His Legacy While He Was Alive”

The late Ralph W. Hauenstein

Celebrating the Gifts of Ralph W. Hauenstein

To celebrate the gifts from the Ralph W. Hauenstein estate, three West Michigan organizations, including Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, publicly thanked his family for the impact his life and generosity have had on the region. Mr. Hauenstein, who died in January 2016, lived his life in service, helping others through his military career and using his success in business to further causes that he supported throughout his life as a generous philanthropist.

His son, Ralph D. Hauenstein, presented the gifts to each institution to support:

“I feel elated that I am able to carry out my dad’s wishes regarding the important work these places do,” said Ralph D. Hauenstein on December 11, 2017, during a news conference. “My dad believed in the mission of education, health care, and leadership and integrity in all aspects of life. I’m the guy carrying the ball over the finish line, and I’m honored to do so.”

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s was planning to expand its neuroscience programs in the early 2000s when the organization was approached by Ralph Hauenstein while he was a patient, who asked how he could help. Hauenstein was interested in improving the care of Parkinson’s patients, since both his father and his close friend, Amway co-founder Jay Van Andel, had died of the disease.

Grace and Ralph W. Hauenstein

With Mr. Hauenstein’s support, Saint Mary’s opened a Parkinson’s clinic in 2003, which immediately Mr. Hauenstein said was, “too small.” And so began the planning for the Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences Center, for which Mr. Hauenstein gave a generous donation and helped raise $15 million toward the $60 million project.

In 2009, the center opened, housing multi-specialty neurosciences programs, a first-rate critical care unit and a state-of-the-art emergency and trauma department.

Mr. Hauenstein made it a priority to make rounds on the staff at the neuroscience center that bears his name.

“People loved to see him,” said Michelle Rabideau, president of the Saint Mary’s Foundation. “I think he was so proud, but he also simply loved walking through and thanking people. It was very personal for him. He wanted to get to know the physicians and nurses and staff members.”

With the recent distribution from the estate of Ralph W. Hauenstein, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s will fulfill the promise made to Mr. Hauenstein to continue to support the neurosciences program, elevating it to the only comprehensive program of its kind in West Michigan.


Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences Center

“Mr. Hauenstein wanted to leave his legacy while he was alive and fully appreciate the impact his thoughtful giving was going to make,” Rabideau shared. “This gift is one that truly keeps giving because the impact on the thousands of patients and their families is significant and one of Mr. Hauenstein’s proudest philanthropic moments.”





From left to right: Philip Gorelick, MD, Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences, Brian Hauenstein, Dr. Damien Marie from Aquinas College, Ralph D. Hauenstein and Gleaves Whitney, from Grand Valley State University, all gathered on December 11, 2017 to celebrate the the legacy of Ralph W. Hauenstein.

Hackley Professional Pharmacy Beginning to See Benefits of Specialty Accreditation

Hackley Professional Pharmacy in Muskegon is now URAC accredited for Specialty Pharmacy, which demonstrates a comprehensive commitment to quality care, improved processes and better patient outcomes. The Hackley Professional Pharmacy is the first pharmacy within the Trinity Health organization, and one of only nine in the entire state of Michigan to receive URAC Specialty Pharmacy accreditation.

The process of accreditation is a method by which an independent organization (URAC, in this instance) uses trained reviewers to examine an organization’s operations and to ensure they are delivering health care in a manner consistent with national standards. “The examination process is long and tedious, but the added value to the Hackley Professional Pharmacy was well worth the work,” said Tara Zdybel, PharmD and community pharmacy manager. Additionally, Lisa Smith, PharmD, mentioned, “Because we’re now Specialty accredited, and we’re published on URAC’s list – outside manufacturers, as well as new vendors are reaching out to us with medications that could have a huge impact on the quality of life for our patients.”

Mercy Health Pharmacy Solutions, our Grand Rapids-based Specialty Pharmacy, is slated to earn accreditation in early 2018. Mercy Health Pharmacy Solutions continues to provide pharmacy service to Hepatitis C patients and has recently started providing service to Multiple Sclerosis patients.

What is a specialty drug?

The URAC organization states that specialty drugs are often high-cost prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic conditions such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and even cholesterol. Hackley Professional Pharmacy is now able to dispense those complex medications that were previously unavailable to our customers. “Patients were being sent outside of the Mercy Health system for certain medications, and our goal with this Specialty designation was to close the gap,” said Smith.

From left to right: Linda Fagundo, CPhT, Danielle Green, CPhT, Tanisha Norman, CPhT, Lisa Smith, PharmD and Tara Zdybel, PharmD

What are the benefits of using a Specialty Pharmacy?

Zdybel and Smith agree that the benefit of using Hackley Professional Pharmacy is the “professional, compassionate and proactive approach focused and centered around the health of each patient.” Normally, at other retail locations, patients will have to call their pharmacy to request a prescription refill. “At Mercy – we know before you know when it is time to refill. We are proactive, and that is different than most pharmacy setups elsewhere. That is keeping patients at the center of what we do – always looking out for their best interests. Once we call the patient, we’ve already processed the claim, we’ve already filled it…and we’re calling to let you know it’s ready,” said Zdybel. They’ll even take it a step further and call patients who are located far away and ask if they’d like their Specialty prescriptions hand-delivered to their house – through Mercy Health Healthcare Equipment Services or FedEx.

Is it more expensive to use a Mercy Health Pharmacy?

All Mercy Health Pharmacy locations offer competitive pricing in addition to a host of benefits that are not offered at retail locations. Mercy Health colleagues may receive a 20% discount, while other patients and community members will see the positive differences right away – especially if they’re filling a Specialty medication prescription. “These specialty meds are pricey. In one month alone, our cost of goods for the Specialty medications we dispensed was over $1.5M, but our average patient paid only 64 cents!” mentioned Smith. They are able to reduce the cost of medications for patients by partnering with existing community resources such as the Mercy Health Project.

Both Zdybel and Smith agree, “You might find some retail pharmacists who will take the extra time to help a patient navigate those resources, but our Pharmacists at Mercy Health go above and beyond because it’s just built that way in our culture. We are here to serve others – to live our values: specifically, our commitment to helping those who are poor. It’s a tough system to navigate, but we provide that assistance for them because it’s what we’re called to do. It’s not necessarily written into our job descriptions, but the expectation of this level of service is there at the forefront – and rightfully so.”

For a list of Mercy Health West Michigan Pharmacy locations, hours of operation and services offered, visit their home page.

U.S. Navy Sailors Express Gratitude for Care Packages Received from Mercy Health Muskegon Colleagues

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U.S. Navy sailors from the USS Roosevelt CVN 71 received over 100 Christmas stockings while aboard their ship, thanks in part to Care of Colleagues’ participation in the annual tradition called Navy for Moms. The Christmas stockings, which were sent at the end of November, contained much-needed items such as hand sanitizer, loofas, lotion and lip balm, along with card games, snacks, hot cocoa, candies and handmade cards put together by local students and our colleagues. The sailors were so touched by the gesture that many of them emailed notes of gratitude to Care of Colleagues committee members.

The Navy for Moms’ Holiday Project was started in 2009 when the Navy announced the USS Nimitz’ (CVN68) deployment had been extended from six to eight months, which meant  sailors would be far from family and friends for the holidays. In less than two months, families and friends contributed more than 7,500 goodie bags and Christmas stockings to the five ships deployed with the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.

Since its inception, the project has adopted several ships to receive Christmas stockings:

  • 2010 – USS Truman
  • 2011 – USS Stennis
  • 2012 – USS Eisenhower (CVN 69)
  • 2013 – USS Boxer (LHD4) and USS Truman
  • 2014 – USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)
  • 2015 – USS Roosevelt
  • 2016 – USS Eisenhower (CVN 69)

A special thank you to all of the Mercy Health Muskegon colleagues who graciously donated items.

If you are interested in giving back, please contact the Care of Colleagues committee to get started.

Stop the Bleed: Hundreds of Students Trained to Save Lives in Case of Active Shooter Situation

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On Tuesday, November 28, “Stop the Bleed” trainers from Mercy Health Muskegon and Muskegon County Medical Control instructed over 300 Career Tech Center students on how to properly respond to bleed victims, should they find themselves in an active shooter or explosive device situation. Since witnesses are nearly always first on the scene, Stop the Bleed trainings raise awareness and prevent loss of life.

Launched by the White House in October 2015, Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and a call to action intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

As part of the hands-on training, students visited three simulated stations to practice life-saving procedures that could be required in their own homes or in their future careers. Heather Ruffin, RN, BSN, trauma program coordinator at Mercy Health Muskegon, led students in practicing how to dress a laceration. With gloved hands, students applied pressure to a rubber leg as they packed clean gauze into a wound.

Students then visited the tourniquet station, where they practiced applying a tourniquet on a partner’s arm or leg. One specific simulation that did not include bleeding, but is often required at the scene of an emergency is Airway CPR. Michelle Kucera, RN, BSN, for Mercy Health Muskegon, demonstrated the proper administration of CPR. By the end of the school year, all Muskegon Area Career Tech Health Science Academy and Criminal Justice students will earn CPR certification.

Once the Stop the Bleed training was complete, students received a certificate stating they had successfully finished the instructor demonstration training for the Bleeding Control Basic program.

Neurological Emergency Training by Mercy Health Extends to Clinicians Throughout State

Full house representing many different areas of Michigan as well as clinical areas attended Mercy Health’s second ENLS training course that enhances providers’ communication skills during neurological emergencies.

If you or a loved one experience a neurological emergency, having expertly trained clinicians who communicate and work well together could be the difference between life and death.  

To help ensure that an interdisciplinary medical team can communicate effectively, Mercy Health has hosted a training course called Emergency Neurological Life Support (ENLS). Much like ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) is for the first hours of a cardiac emergency, ENLS is for the first few hours of a brain or spinal cord emergency.  ENLS helps to ensure that clinicians know the evidence-based treatment plans and communication needs to ensure optimal patient outcomes.  Communication is especially important during transitions and hand-offs in care, such as moving a patient from the Emergency Department to the Intensive Care Unit, or during a shift change for staff.

“Outside of neurocritical care, ENLS certification is not as widely known or  adopted,” said Katie Mann, MS, BSN, RN, CPHQ, Neuroscience Program Manager. “Many healthcare clinicians must be certified in ACLS, but are not required to be ENLS certified, so it’s our goal to  bring awareness and train as many clinicians as we can in our communities to improve neurological care for those we serve.”

Brandon Francis, MD, MPH, presents during the ENLS course on November 11, 2017.

Mercy Health was the first in Michigan to hold a live, in-person class in May 2017, which was open only to our colleagues and community first responders. However; clinicians at Mercy Health so value the importance of providing this opportunity for any interested clinician, that they hosted the second live, in-person course at Mercy Health in November 2017, this time open to anyone interested. Thanks to funds from the Saint Mary’s Foundation, ENLS is offered to Mercy Health Grand Rapids colleagues at a lower rate.

Clinicians came from as far away as Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, and even from Marquette, Michigan, to attend this one-day course that also requires pre- and post-homework. Although the full-day class was intense, participants surveyed felt the course was beneficial, as:

  • 96% of participants were satisfied/very satisfied with the course
  • 98% felt the course was presented in a structured manner
  • 96% of the class felt confident in becoming ENLS-certified

Some of the personal feedback from the course included:

§ Excellent information. Very organized. Thanks for making it affordable.

§ Loved having the different speakers. Each speaker was well versed in their topic – that was nice. Really liked the communicate checklists.

§ A great refresher. Not something that I do day in and day out, so it was nice to hear again and to make sure I am keeping up with the changes.

Brian Plaisier, MD, presents to the group.

“Clinicians can take this course online, but we feel it’s critical to meet in person and network with others who are treating patients in other communities and establish relationships,” said Brandon Francis, MD, MPH, ENLS Course Director and Neurocritcal Care physician. “By teaching this course, our hope is that ENLS-certifications will become more widespread throughout the state, thus elevating the care that all our communities receive.”

Mercy Health plans to host more ENSL courses in the future to be able to expand ENLS-certification throughout the state.




From West to East: Congratulations to Kylie Hornak, New Administrative Fellow for Trinity Health

Kylie Hornak during her graduation ceremony of her master’s degree from Grand Valley State University on December 7, 2017.

“Culture can make or break the success of an organization” for Kylie Hornak, and the culture of Trinity Health has made the organization a welcome place for her, no matter which location she will be working in.

Graduating with her master’s in Health Care Administration from Grand Valley State University in December 2017, Hornak will transition from her current role as marketing coordinator of Mercy Health Physician Partners to become an Administrative Fellow under the preceptorship of Shannon Striebich, president, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, and one of the few female presidents within Trinity Health.

When her fellowship begins in June 2018, Hornak will join the ranks of 13 other administrative fellows who will be located throughout Trinity Health hospitals. Each year, Trinity Health receives approximately 200 applications for its competitive fellowship programs, as the organization possesses one of the longest-running and largest fellowship programs in the country.

“The fellowship will be very self-directed, with several different projects assigned to me, and I hope to gain exposure to an executive level that I might otherwise not experience,” said Hornak.

By moving across the state to operate under the direction of a leader from Southeast Michigan, Hornak hopes that, “My knowledge of Mercy Health will help as our two systems combine with our state-wide initiative, and I hope to use that knowledge to assist in this process.”

Hornak has never been afraid to move into unknown territory, as she began at Mercy Health as a master’s-level intern in the Psychiatric Medical Unit (PMU) in the summer of 2016, believing that it’s important to “work within a clinical setting so you can bring a greater level of understanding to other departments that you may work in.” Hornak then became an intern for Mercy Health Physician Partners in the marketing department, which turned into a full-time job as marketing coordinator in early 2017.

“Even though we in Marketing or in Administration might not directly interact with patients for their care, what we do makes a difference,” said Hornak. “I am truly humbled by the sheer scale of Trinity Health; how many people we as an organization impact – colleagues, patients and communities. As patients come to us at vulnerable stages in their lives, it is truly awesome that we are able to share their stories and connect them to our clinicians and services.”

Regardless of where she lands within Trinity Health, Hornak feels confident that, “I know I will be supported by the same people wherever I go.”