When Heather Quesnel RN, BSN, MS, saw the advertisement from Waldo County General Hospital looking for a Chief Nursing Officer, she did her research and liked what she saw. “I was looking for an organization that had positive energy and it was love at first sight. I found the Hospital has a strong financial position and wonderful quality care,” she says.
Quesnel is now the new Chief Nursing Officer at the Hospital. She has already shared with nursing staff that she operates from a platform of servitude. “I am here to serve the staff so they can best serve the patients. Together, we will determine our vision, which will be founded on the principles of collaboration, unity and fueled by their passion. My belief is that I should have the smallest voice thereby giving the staff the ability to speak their minds and share their opinions. They are at the bedside and that is most important,” she says.
“My goal is to create a solid shared governance model; that is, giving the power to the bedside nurse as long as we follow best practices and evidence-based nursing practices. I believe in the nurses at Waldo and trust them to participate in decision-making that affects their work environment and the patient experience. There is so much good happening. I plan to just make it shine a little brighter,” she says.
She also believes in the nurses being partners with the providers while remembering that the patient is the main partner. “The patient is in the middle and the rest of us work together to meet the goals of the patient,” Quesnel says.
Quesnel, who has been a nurse for 23 years, says being in a leadership position doesn’t ever mean she is not a nurse. “I am still a nurse in my soul. You will see me at the bedside. I’m a hands-on leader and my nurse cup still needs to be filled by caring for patients. That’s where I get my energy and my juice.”
Quesnel and her family have already purchased a home in Hope. She lives there with her husband, who will be flying for Penobscot Island Airways; her three children, Noah, 11, Amelia, 7 and Gabriel, 4; and her mother, along with a dog and six chickens.
Quesnel concludes “I am absolutely grateful to have this opportunity. I am honored to serve the staff at Waldo and to lead from the heart. I want to create an environment that is nurturing, professional and open to opinions and feedback. I value everyone’s contributions.”
Quesnel’s past experience includes four years as Director of Nursing and Administrator in Training at a healthcare and rehabilitation center in Middlebury, Vermont; two years as a clinical instructor and faculty member of Castleton State College and Community College of Vermont; three years as a community health nurse, two years as a birthing center nurse; four years as a pediatric nurse; seven years as a school nurse; one year with AmeriCorps as the coordinator of the Chittenden County’s Healthier Communities Movement; three years as a Director of Community Outreach and Employee Health in Maryland; and nearly five years in the US Army Nurse Corps.
Quesnel received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Vermont and her Master of Science in Nursing Administration from the University of Maryland.
Waldo County Dental Care has received a grant for $35,000 from a Maine-based foundation to purchase dental equipment. The funds will be used to cover the one-time cost of small equipment and routine start-up supplies so the clinic can hire a part-time dentist.
In June of 2013, Waldo County General Hospital launched Waldo County Dental Care, Maine’s first hospital-owned dental “safety net” clinic. The purpose of the clinic is to provide low-income, uninsured adults with access to affordable oral hygiene and dental services.
Before that, many uninsured adults in the community were unable to access critically needed preventative care and treatment. Yet oral health plays an important role in overall health and the chronic pain and disfigurement of oral disease can be a barrier to obtaining and maintaining employment. The clinic thus holds the promise of helping low-income adults achieve both increased wellness and self-sufficiency, according to the grant application.
The development of Waldo County Dental Care was prompted by the following data. According to the grant application, over the past three years, the top reason for visits to the hospital’s Emergency Department among 18 to 49 year olds has been dental pain and infection. Since 2010, 19 percent of all emergency patients in this age range—that’s nearly one in every five—came to the hospital seeking relief from acute dental pain. From Jan. 1, 2013 to Nov. 20, 2013, a total of 439 people visited the Emergency Department for that purpose. The Emergency Department providers can assist with short-term pain relief and infection control, but the infection simply returns in time and the cycle continues until the teeth and gums become so badly eroded that the tooth has to be extracted.
Waldo County Dental Care currently has a part-time dental assistant, a part-time hygienist and a voluntary network of five local dentists. Dentists receive a discounted fee when they serve clinic patients and are paid by Waldo County Healthcare. With their generous support, we have begun to address the oral health crisis in our community.
However, it is clear that Waldo County Dental Care needs to dramatically increase access to restorative care. Thus, in June 2014 the clinic is looking to hire a part-time dentist. A portion of that cost will be paid by the low-income patients covered for some types of dental treatment under Medicaid and subsidized by the hospital, which should experience a decreased use of the Emergency Department for dental issues.
Thus, the grant application stated, the primary barrier to employing the part-time dentist is the one-time cost of small equipment and routine start-up supplies, estimated at nearly $35,000.
In addition to this latest grant, Waldo County Dental Care has received $50,000 from the Doree Taylor Foundation, $10,000 from athenahealth and $7,500 from Bank of America. Waldo County Healthcare Inc. Board of Trustees provides financial support to the clinic’s operations.
Seamus Kiernan is a prime example of why we created Waldo County Dental Care. Twice in the last two years, Kiernan, 34, of Belfast, has found himself in the emergency room at Waldo County General Hospital from the pain of an abscess in his gums. In one case, the infection had traveled up into his face and into his sinuses.
Each time, a sharp blade was “stabbed” up into his gums to lance the abscess, which brought almost instant relief except for the area where the knife went in, Kiernan says.
A few nights ago, the abscess swelled up again. Instead of going to the Hospital’s emergency room again, Kiernan sterilized the point of a needle and poked it into the abscess himself. It was not a pleasant experience.
Kiernan knew the trips to the Hospital and poking the needle into the abscess were short term solutions but he couldn’t afford a trip to a dentist. He’d had surgery for diverticulitis in August and January and wasn’t allowed to lift more than five pounds, which made it impossible for him to return to his prior job as a landscaper and builder of seawalls.
Through his recent time at the Hospital, he learned about Waldo County Dental Care and made an appointment to see Registered Hygienist Michelle Gallant. During that visit, the hygienist took the time to clean his teeth and gums and explain how serious it is to have an infection in his mouth.
Then she made a referral to a participating dentist for Kiernan to receive the additional care he needed a few days later
And Kiernan couldn’t be more pleased. “I’ve been dealing with bad teeth for years. I’m happy to be able to get checked out and it will be good to get some things taken care of for good instead of just getting a quick fix.”
In mid-March, the Hospital began its partnership with Advanced ICU Care. After an exhaustive search, the Hospital chose Advanced ICU Care to provide eICU intensivist and RN monitoring and coverage for our ICU patients.
Advanced ICU Care is the single largest independent company providing eICU services in the nation. Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Kent Clark, said, “We chose to partner with this company because of their excellence in clinical outcomes, ability to provide 24/7 intensivist monitoring and coverage, and their collaborative approach to patient management. Advanced ICU Care is dedicated to providing our clinicians with high quality consultative services while working to complement your approach to patient care.”
He also thanked the medical staff for their patience and support over the past six months as the Hospital worked to find the best eICU solution for us, our clinicians, staff, and ICU patients.
On March 2, 1992, Brandon Moody of Belfast was born at Waldo County General Hospital and he was thrilled when his first child, Aurora, was born on March 2, 2014, also at Waldo County General Hospital.
Heather Perol, Aurora’s mother, had a due date of March 7 so the couple had talked a few times about the possibility of the baby being born on Brandon’s birthday but the conversation always ended with “What are the odds?” Especially since this was Heather’s first pregnancy and first babies are often late.
But when Heather woke Brandon up around 3 a.m. on March 2 and said her water had broken, Brandon says, “I was so excited.”
And when Aurora was born at 12:31 p.m., he was ecstatic. “How can you top that for a birthday present? We’ll have two names on our birthday cake.”
Brandon’s mother was thrilled as she became a grandparent for the first time, even though Brandon is the youngest child in his family. The only problem: Brandon says his mother can’t figure out what to get him for a birthday present that can top his daughter arriving on his birthday.
Five Waldo County General Hospital doctors have been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for providing “quality delivery” of diabetes care as well as “quality delivery” of cardiovascular and/or stroke care. Honored were Drs. Benjamin Mailloux, Matthew Molison, Richard Read, Stephen Sprague and Steven Wilson.
NCQA developed the Diabetes Recognition Program (DRP) to provide clinicians with tools to support the delivery and recognition of consistent high quality care. This voluntary program is designed to recognize clinicians who use evidence-based measures and provide excellent care to their patients with diabetes. Those who achieve DRP recognition are part of an elite group that is publicly recognized for their skills in providing the highest-level diabetes care.
The Heart Stroke Recognition Program (HSRP) was launched in 2003 to recognize clinicians who use evidence-based measures and provide excellent care to persons with cardiovascular disease or who have had a stroke.
Dr. James Delehanty, who also practices at Waldo County General Hospital and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Hospital, was honored with both designations in 2012.
It’s frightening when a health professional diagnoses you with heart failure. For most people, the words “heart failure” bring on fears of an imminent death. But once you realize the diagnosis doesn’t mean your heart is going to stop beating immediately, you need to learn skills to better manage your condition and you may also want to connect with others who have the same problem.
If so, a series of five free classes known as “The Beat Goes On” will be offered by Waldo County General Hospital on Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. beginning May 1. These classes will be held in the classroom (on the ground floor of the Hospital).
The five classes and the instructors are:
• Thursday, May 1: You can do this: Self-Management Skills for Living Well with Heart Failure by Deb Czuchra FNP;
• Thursday, May 8: Ahhh: Managing the Stress of Heart Failure by Joanna Whiting RN, the hospital’s case manager;
• Thursday, May 15: Pump it Up: Exercising with Heart Failure by Teri Mace, physical therapy aid;
• Thursday, May 22: Pills and Me: Understanding the World of Heart Failure by Nancy Nystrom PhD, RPh, a pharmacist at the hospital; and
• Thursday, May 29: Eating Well with Heart Failure: Get the Low Down on Salt by Brooke Reed, Registered Dietician.
While the course is free, space is limited so register early by calling Barbara Crowley at 930-2650 or emailing her at email@example.com.
Spectrum Generations and Waldo County General Hospital are teaming up to offer “A Matter of Balance,” an award-winning program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. It is an eight-session workshop held once a week for two hours.
The next workshop will be held Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., beginning April 24. The sessions will be held in the Education Center at Waldo County General Hospital.
The program emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls, including making changes to reduce fall risks at home, exercises to increase strength and balance and setting goals to increase activity.
Past participants say the class taught them how to make their home safer and was “very supportive and helpful.”
There is a suggested donation of $10 for the eight classes, which covers the cost of the Matter of Balance manual each participant will receive, but no one will be turned away.
For more information or to register for the class, call Tina DeRaps at 620-1657 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The third annual Cardiac Rehab 5K will be held Saturday, May 3, at 10 a.m. at the Belfast Area High School Track.
The walk is a wellness celebration for patients’ successes. There is no entry fee but donations will be accepted and t-shirts will be on sale for $5 each, free for current and former Cardiac Rehab participants.
Proceeds will be used to fund Phase III scholarships. To register, call 930-2545.