Then and Now: History Edition
Press & Dakotan

Then and Now: History Edition


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THEN & NOW: PAGE 11C PRESS & DAKOTAN n MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 Sisters Make A Healthy Impact Sacred Heart Monastery s Mission Has Improved Health Care Across The Region BY REILLY BIEL F or more than a century, Yankton s Sacred Heart Monastery has been known for its work in health care. That has continued in more recent times, with the monastery s work with Mount Marty College (MMC) spawning a successful nursing program, particularly in nurse anesthesia, which recently celebrated its 75th year. According to S. Debra Kolecka, a nurse practitioner who serves in the Avera Health System, the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery in Switzerland were invited to the Dakota Territory to educate Native American children in the 19th century. That changed in the late 1890s when the Sisters were asked to open a hospital. According to S. Mary Arthur Schramm, the bishop at the time thought that the Sisters would make good nurses because they were women. All women at heart are nurses, S. Sharon Ann Haas remarked. The original hospital started in what was formerly the Native American school, which was part of the monastery at the time. The hospital eventually became what is known today as Avera Sacred Heart Hospital. The early Sisters that worked in the hospital weren t initially trained for that kind of work, Kolecka said. It wasn t like the training we get today. It was a matter of a few weeks or months that they got basic instruction on how to care for a patient. There was a lot of learning by doing. Countless changes have been made to the health care system since that time, one of them being the amount of time a patient spends in the hospital. According to S. Marcine Quintus, a former nurse and nursing professor, someone could come in for an appendectomy and stay for 3-5 days. When I first graduated (in the 1950s), the hospital had 250 beds that were usually filled, she said. Chronically ill people would sometimes come into the hospital when the weather got cold and stay through the winter. This is drastically different today due to recovery times being much faster and the nurse s role being expanded, said S. Corinne Lemmer, former nurse and MMC nursing professor. We need to teach people how to take care of themselves when they get home, she said. Nursing professors roles have also expanded. In Lemmer s case, she taught a child-bearing course that showed future nurses how to explain to new mothers how to care for their infants and themselves after they left the hospital. In addition, since graduating from MMC in 1974, Lemmer has seen the effect research data has had on patient care. That whole emphasis on knowing what has been done, and found to be the most effective way of caring for a patient, has changed, she said. That is something that has happened across the whole country: that emphasis on practice based on research that shows what is the best thing to do, how to do it, etc. Schramm, who worked in nurse anesthesia as a nurse and as an educator, has also seen significant changes since she graduated from MMC in 1955. In that time, one in 2,500 people died under anesthesia, she said. Now that three-month (nurse anesthesia) program is 36 months and one in 250,000 people die under anesthesia. She also saw the addition of support systems in hospitals, such as post-anesthesia recovery rooms. She got a glimpse of what nursing practices were like even before her time at MMC when she went to the hospital for ear surgery. When entering the operating room, she saw a cot next to an operating table. When she asked the doctor what that was for, she was told it was used for blood transfusions, when one patient directly gave blood to another. I cannot imagine the changes that have gone on since we ve had that hospital, she remarked. Technology has played a big part in changing the face of health care, Kolecka said. (Technology) is not only needed to run an IV pump or anesthesia, but is how all the charting is done in a computer and how patients can access their own health care information through a patient portal, she said. You can have your lab work drawn in the morning and go to your portal later in the day to find out the results. The Sisters have gone along with these changes through the decades, leading them to have continued involvement and influence in the Yankton area. It s important for us to meet the needs of the area, whatever that is, and the area needs have primarily been in health care and education over the years, said Haas, a former nurse and MMC nursing professor. We have respiratory therapy programs, anesthesia programs and nursing programs that help provide education for health care providers, which were needed at the time. Yankton has always been considered one of the most important medical centers around here, Quintus added, referencing the hospital being among the first medical facilities in the area to bring in machinery such as X-rays and practices such as dialysis. The Sisters are also active in the community through their involvement on various boards and organizations, Schramm said. We may be older, but we re still helping the community in things related to health care and education, she said. We ve sponsored (Avera Sacred Heart) hospital, and in many ways, it probably wouldn t have the medical staff here if we hadn t been progressive enough to provide the things that would PHOTO: DAKOTA TERRITORIAL MUSEUM The Sisters of Yankton s Sacred Heart Monastery have been a driving force in providing and constantly improving health care in the region. attract good physicians. Quality has become the most important factor in health care, Kolecka said. It s not so much how many people you serve or how many beds you ve filled, but the quality of the care you provide is what can make or break you, she said. You can get dinged by Medicare if you re not providing quality care or get dinged by your accrediting agency if you re not meeting stand- ards. That fits with what we ve strived to do at the Avera system. Our three values are hospitality, stewardship and compassion, which all fit together with quality. As Sister board members, we really look to make sure our sponsored institutions and facilities are meeting those quality goals. Follow @ReillyBiel on Twitter. Yankton Homeless Shelter To everyone Heartland Humane Society in our community that helps to MAKE a difference in the lives of others, thank you to Highlight just a few ... Yankton Snack Pack Program Avera Sacred Heart Majestic Bluffs Yankton United Way for your service. (605) 668-1545 | Habitat ForHumanity Heartfelt Surgical Care Surgical & Non-Surgical Treatment Of: Hernia Large & Small Lipoma Removal Gallbladder Disease Breast Disease Appendectomy Colon & Rectal Disease Moles & Skin Lesions Venefit Vein Procedure Sclerosis of Spider Veins Colonoscopy Digestive Disorders & Upper Endoscopy Thyroid/Parathyroid And many more..... Open & Laparoscopic Surgery Locally owned. No referral necessary. 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