Scholarships and Starfish

Ruthie is a long term employee of both PVH and MCR, scholarship recipient, and founder of her own scholarship after experiencing the impact of generosity firsthand.  Below is Ruthie’s story, in her own words, from her keynote speech at the 2015 PVH and MCR Foundation Scholarship Reception.  To join us this year, mark your calendar for Thursday May 25th in MCR’s Longs Peak room.

Introduction:
My name is Ruthie Weyant and I am the proud donor of the “Ruthie Ann Weyant Can Do” scholarship. My mother always taught me “You can do anything you set your mind to, Ruthie. You just have to believe.” I have learned to live by this motto and when one adds the power of positive intention with a “can do” attitude, incredible accomplishments will occur.

My Perspective:
I am going to let this whole room in on a little secret. Next month, in June 2015, I will be celebrating my half century birthday…yes, that is the big 50. I will also celebrate being in the nursing profession for 29 years! These two facts combine so that I am qualified to say things like “Back in the day…” and “When I was in nursing school we had to walk uphill, in the snow, barefoot, both ways…” You get the picture. This kind of verbiage can create a “better than” attitude, but I am here to tell you that, actually, nurses like comparisons.

Being in nursing for so long has allowed me to experience the best ways to get nurses to buy in to some new idea or unit culture change: create a competition. I work in the Intensive Care Unit and we were doing competencies for critical care skills one time and the nurses were having problems placing a CPR machine known as the Autopulse on the patient in a timely manner. Anyone who has taken a CPR course or has ever been involved in performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on another person has an understanding that timing is very important… the faster we start high quality compressions on that chest of the compromised person, the better the survival rate. Hence, when the critical care nurses were taking a whole 2 minutes to place the Autopulse in our critical care competencies, we knew this needed some work. We divided the whole group of ICU nurses into smaller groups of 34 nurses. We pulled out a stopwatch and said, “Whichever group can place the Autopulse correctly and effectively the fastest is the winner!” (that is the thing, too…you do not even need a tangible prize for us competitive nurses… just saying we are winners is enough to quench our comparative/competitive thirst). Guess how fast the winners were with their time?! 10 seconds!! These groups of nurses kept trying over and over to beat the last group’s time and the winners finally placed the Autopulse correctly and effectively at 10 seconds. This comparison and competition is an example of how nurses can effectively problem solve for a win-win situation; patient get placed on CPR apparatus within 10 seconds (win!) and the group of nurses who actually did this revels in the praise of winning (another win!).

Background for the Ruthie Ann Weyant ‘Can Do’ Scholarship:
In January 2005, I decided to pursue my dream of obtaining my Masters degree in Nursing. At the time, I was a single parent of 2 boys, ages 10 and 4. I took one class at a time, paying as I went through each course, and finished my 39 credit hours in December 2009. I took advantage of the then Poudre Valley Health System’s tuition reimbursement program which reimbursed me up to $3000.00 per year as long as I had grades of Cs or better. I also applied for a foundation scholarship every year and was the proud recipient of many of these over my 5 year educational journey. All in all, my total bill for my Masters degree was around $20,000. Tuition reimbursement and scholarship awards totaled $17,000, leaving me with a mere $3000.00 out of pocket expense. I was grateful for the assistance and appreciated those believing in me throughout the 5 years. I took my motto learned from my Mother of “I can do anything I put my mind to,” and combined it with a comparative and competitive edge of “If I can do it, you can do it!” and created my own ‘Can Do’ scholarship. Upon researching endowment possibilities for my scholarship, I discovered that the magic number for me was $17,000. (How ironic is this?! This is the same amount of assistance I received while in school!) Once I reach this amount of investment in my scholarship, I will never have to put any more money into it and the interest it would acquire each year would pay the $1000 scholarship I offer. I have $100 taken out of each paycheck and have been doing so since 2010 and my endowment balance becomes smaller and smaller each year. A total of 6 scholarships have been awarded since the initiation of this ‘Can Do’ scholarship so it becomes a win-win situation; someone receives money to help with educational goals (win!) and I get the satisfaction of giving back to the profession and saying “If I can do it, so can you!” (win!)

Conclusion:
In conclusion, I want to share a story with you regarding a “can do” attitude. Once upon a time, there was a boy walking on the beach…

The Starfish Story
A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die,” the old man replies.

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it?  You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them! In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

– Anonymous

 

Supporting Health in Action: Our 2016 Blood Bus Campaign

In 2016 the PVH and MCR Foundation, spurred by a generous lead donor, undertook a community campaign to raise funds for two brand-new mobile blood donation buses for the Garth Englund Blood Center. The blood center is our community blood bank, collecting and supplying lifesaving blood products locally. This successful campaign illustrates the three fundamental ways that donors, giving through the PVH and MCR Foundation, support health right here in northern Colorado:

  1. Accelerating advances

The blood center’s former blood donation bus was on its last legs. The 13-year-old vehicle often spent more days in the shop than out collecting blood! The capability for the blood center to be mobile is critical to their success, as 75% of the blood they collect comes from mobile drives. Because of a large gift from a generous lead donor that spurred this campaign the PVH and MCR Foundation was able to significantly advance the timeline for having the bus replaced, moving it up from sometime in the next few years to mere months from when the campaign took shape.

  1. Filling in gaps

The foundation wasn’t able to just raise the funds to replace the old bus ahead of schedule, through the inspiring generosity of donors to the campaign we were also able to fund the purchase of an additional, smaller mobile donation bus with a 2-bed donation capacity. The second bus will exponentially increase the reach of the blood center, allowing for simultaneous blood drives at separate locations, increasing access by having a more agile bus to augment the large one, and providing the ability to mobilize both buses very quickly to address shortages or extreme high-demand situations.

  1. Expressing gratitude as part of the healing process

When you see the brand new 2-bed blood bus darting around town you may notice it’s named the O. Rex Story bus, and the story of how it came to be is a wonderful example of the power of philanthropy to express gratitude. O. Rex Story passed away in 1992 of a rare blood disease. The Fort Collins realtor was only 58 years old and had spent years receiving life-sustaining blood transfusions. In that time, friends and family members were able to donate at the Garth Englund Blood Center specifically for Rex’s transfusions. During his 12 year illness he was receiving blood as often as every two weeks. When the campaign for new mobile blood buses began former PVH and MCR Foundation Board Member Rod Rice and his wife Jamie, daughter of Rex, embraced the opportunity as a way to say thank you to the community of physicians, the blood center team, and the selfless blood donors whose service and generosity meant so much to Rex and his family. The O. Rex Story Family fund was set up at the foundation and word went out to Rex’s surviving family and close friends. They made a significant commitment of $100,000 to name the bus in Rex’s honor and opened up the fund for donations from those who meant the most to him. Now the mobile blood bus will carry forward the memory of O. Rex Story and the legacy of giving from his family and friends as it collects life-saving, and life-sustaining, blood donations in our community.

blood-buses

5 questions with Kevin Unger

kevin_tailgateKevin Unger, CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies, is our fearless UCHealth leader here in northern Colorado and his roots in this community run deep – so deep, in fact, that he was actually born at PVH! Kevin is a graduate of Colorado State University, began working for University of Colorado Hospital in 1997, and has been a foundation donor since joining Poudre Valley Health System in 2001. He recently took some time out of his head-spinningly busy schedule to chat with us as we celebrate our 40th anniversary this year.

1. How does UCHealth benefit the northern Colorado region? UCHealth’s facilities improve healthcare in Northern Colorado, Longmont, Colorado Springs, and Metro Denver. The growing team of talented providers are ready to address every health need for the patients of the organization.

2. What kinds of challenges does Poudre Valley Hospital face in today’s healthcare landscape? A shift towards outpatient services can be difficult for any organization. Patient-centric care is becoming more important and less medical work is actually being done within the walls of UCHealth’s facilities.

3. What’s the most meaningful part of your job? I round regularly early in the morning to meet face-to-face with patients, it’s one of my favorite elements of the job. I truly enjoy interacting with employees and patients on a daily basis.

4. What is the most difficult part of your position? I wish I could be everywhere at once. I would love to be everywhere all the time. But, our region spans beyond our hometowns into neighboring states and it’s my responsibility to keep us all connected.

5. What do you think of the PVH and MCR Foundation and their impact on philanthropy within the culture of UCHealth? The foundation does great work for the culture within the organization with projects such as the Cancer Center, the Children’s Clinic, and the Blood Bus campaign. Employee giving and the foundation scholarship program display how committed the foundation is to the progressive development of the organization and its employees.

7 questions with Gail Aaronson

Gail Aaronson began working at Poudre Valley Hospital in 1972 and has seen plenty of changes in her 44 years with the organization. Originally hired as a registered nurse, she eventually worked her way to head nurse in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) before moving into her current role as a Nurse Navigator. As the foundation celebrates our 40th anniversary this year we sat down with Gail to look back and learn more about her current role. Gail remembers the early days of the PVH and MCR Foundation (founded in 1976 as the Poudre Valley Hospital Foundation). She recalls the foundation providing support for scholarships and nurse education – both of which still happen today!

1. What does a Nurse Navigator do? Cardiac Nurse Navigators are responsible for meeting with patients who are suffering from heart failure. They provide resources for the potentially long battle with heart disease.

2. What does the typical day look like for a Nurse Navigator?  Booking appointments, providing resources, and face-to-face patient interactions are all part of a day’s work. Normally Nurse Navigators follow up with their patients every 24 to 48 hours.

3. What is the most difficult part of your position? Motivating individuals to take care of themselves once they leave the walls of the hospital. For example, taking their medication on time, eating healthy, and exercising.

4. It sounds like building relationships with your patients is key for a Nurse Navigator, what is the most challenging part of that aspect of your role? Building rapport with the patients can be difficult because of the environment they find themselves in. Sometimes, communicating with patients once they leave the walls of the hospital can be quite the challenge to overcome.

5. How does your position benefit the patients of UCHealth? The Nurse Navigator position provides patients with resources that are very valuable. Patients with a nurse navigator normally rate their care very highly because of the intense personal relationship they develop with their selected navigator.

6. What does philanthropy mean to you? Giving back to the people around you and building a healthy community based on a good ethical code. Philanthropy addresses the root cause of the problem.

7. What kind of impact does UCHealth have on the community of Fort Collins and how has it changed over the years? UCHealth has developed a great reputation in the state of Colorado. The Poudre Valley Health System has been in northern Colorado for many years and is an organization recognized by nearly everyone.

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Gail at work in the Poudre Valley Hospital ICU in the 1970s.

Bequest language makes donating simple

At the PVH and MCR Foundation, we are privileged to witness, on a daily basis, the difference healthcare philanthropy makes for those we serve. It is only through your generosity that we can accomplish all that we do.

While every donation is incredibly important, a gift to the foundation in your will assures that we will continue to be able to fulfill our mission and make a difference in the lives of future generations.  A bequest is easy to arrange, will not alter your current lifestyle in any way, and can be easily modified to address your changing needs.

If you are considering including the Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies Foundation in your will, thank you. We’d like to make the process as easy as possible for you. Following are examples of simple bequest language:

  • Specific Bequest: I give and bequeath to Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies Foundation, a qualified 501(c)3 non-profit organization (Federal Tax ID Number: 74-1894581), located at 2315 E. Harmony Road, Suite 200, Fort Collins, CO 80528, the sum of $ _____________ to be used for its unrestricted use (or [Optional] for the following purpose: ___________________).
  • Percentage Bequest: I give and bequeath to Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies Foundation, a qualified 501(c)3 non-profit organization (Federal Tax ID Number: 74-1894581), located at 2315 E. Harmony Road, Suite 200, Fort Collins, CO 80528, ___% of my estate to be used for its unrestricted use (or [Optional] for the following purpose: ___________________).
  • Residuary Bequest: I give and bequeath to Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies Foundation, a qualified 501(c)3 non-profit organization (Federal Tax ID Number: 74-1894581), located at 2315 E. Harmony Road, Suite 200, Fort Collins, CO 80528, the rest, residue and remainder of my estate to be used its unrestricted use (or [Optional] for the following purpose: ___________________).

If you have already included our organization in your planning, please let us know. This way, we can ensure your wishes are followed, and we can recognize and thank you for helping us make a difference!

10 questions with Donna Poduska

Poudre Valley Hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer knows a thing or two about caring for the northern Colorado community. Hired by PVH in 1969, Donna has seen firsthand the rapid advances in healthcare over the past 47 years. (Patients could smoke in their rooms when she started!) Donna sat down with us to discuss some of those changes and to help us commemorate the PVH and MCR Foundation’s 40th Anniversary year.

  1. When did you start working for PVH? I started working for Poudre Valley Hospital in 1971.
  1. Why did you decide to become a nurse? I became a nurse to help people and make a difference within the community of Fort Collins.
  1. What were some of the most difficult parts of being a nurse in the 1970’s? The most difficult part of being a nurse in the 1970’s was adapting to the changes facing the community and the organization. The amount of information being generated on a daily basis was difficult to grasp and analyze at an efficient rate. Another challenge faced in the 1970’s was nurse to patient ratio, at times this ratio was 40:2!
  1. How are those challenges different now? Some of the challenges the clinical staff faces now are patient satisfaction, the safety of the patients and employees within the facilities of UCHealth, and the amount of information being created every single day in the form of Electronic Health Records.
  1. What is the most difficult part of being a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)? The constant changes facing the organization and the analysis of the data gathered by clinical practices.
  1. What kind of impact has UCHealth had on the northern region of Colorado? The employees of UCHealth are dedicated to meeting community needs such as; behavioral health, community case management and geriatric specialists.
  1. What changes do you see coming to UCHealth in northern Colorado? Being involved with the local community is a huge goal for this organization and providing the highest quality of care possible at a consistent basis sits very high on a list of long term goals for UCHealth. Outpatient services are becoming much more popular within Fort Collins and more medical work is being done in facilities other than the hospitals.
  1. What kind of influence did the foundation have on Poudre Valley Hospital in the 1970’s? The foundation had a much smaller influence in the 1970’s but did an exceptional job adapting to the dynamic changes the organization faced throughout history.
  1. What kind of impact does the PVH and MCR Foundation have in the lives of the patients and staff you see on a daily basis? The PVH and MCR Foundation does an excellent job facilitating scholarships that open the doors for employees to earn advanced education. The foundation also identifies the needs of UCHealth’s employees and provides multiple forms of support such as the employee hardship relief fund and holiday giving.
  1. What does philanthropy mean to you? Helping others by volunteering, financial assistance, fundraising and establishing a well balanced thoughtful culture that supports the process of providing excellent care for the patients of UCHealth.
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Donna helping to hand out awards at our 2015 employee scholarship reception.

 

Eagle Scout project provides comfort and healing

Eagle Scout_thumbnailEarning your Eagle Scout is a tremendous achievement. It takes years of dedication, focus, and commitment as well as a willingness to learn new things and help others in your community. Even under the best circumstances it is no small feat. Earning your Eagle Scout in the face of devastating loss, and turning that loss into a source of inspiration, is truly incredible.

Clinton Sexton began formulating his Eagle Scout project late last year, with hopes of finishing it prior to his 18th birthday in April. As part of Boy Scout Troop 12 in Fort Collins, Clinton had an idea for his project that was very close to his heart. He wanted to create care kits for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, to help ease their suffering. Clinton knew firsthand the devastating effects of cancer on the patient and their family. Recently, his father had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and passed away shortly after his diagnosis. From the depths of his own grief Clinton decided to help others going through what he had watched his own father battle.

He reached out in January to the PVH and MCR Foundation to partner with him in creating personalized care kits for patients at the UCHealth Cancer Center in Fort Collins. He had already discussed the idea with oncology counselor Ann-Marie Bowman, who worked with Clinton and his family during and after his father’s diagnosis and passing. Together they came up with the contents of the care kits – water bottles to track hydration (a serious concern for cancer patients), chapstick, Biotene, games, cards, hand sanitizer, and cozy handmade fleece blankets.

Clinton secured donations and raised money to purchase items through a GoFundMe account. And on March 25th, eleven days before his 18th birthday, he delivered 65 completed care kit bags to the UCHealth Cancer Center. On hand for the ceremony were members of the oncology care team and staff who were deeply moved by Clinton’s thoughtful and generous project. “It is an honor to see young people give back in such a generous way” said Kathleen Michie, Oncology Services Program Manager.

Joining Clinton at the presentation ceremony were his mother and members of his troop. Clinton lit up the room with his energy and humor, taking time to greet and shake hands with all the staff who attended. The group worked together to move all the bags into a storage area from where they will be distributed to patients by the radiation oncology staff. A gift of comfort to people Clinton will likely never meet, easing the suffering he watched his father undergo and wanted to make lighter for those who would follow.

Ann-Marie Bowman, who works with oncology patients and their families every day gushes whenever she speaks about him and his project. “I think Clinton has done a lot of healing through this project. I’m so proud of him. He worked so hard through such a difficult time. I just think he is amazing.”

We at the PVH and MCR Foundation agree with Ann-Marie, and feel privileged to have played a small part in facilitating this wonderful project. Please join us in congratulating Clinton on receiving his Eagle Scout. His generous heart has already supported the health of his community and we look forward to seeing where it takes him from here.

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Clinton (middle, standing) with members of his troop and representatives from the UCHealth Cancer Center care team