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Hospital mission doesn’t stop for the holidays

Posted at 11:29 AM, Dec 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-26 13:29:04-05

HELENA – While many are at home opening presents and enjoying time with family this holiday, over 100 employees are at St. Peter’s Health working to keep core services running.

The hospital is not a place anyone wants to be on Christmas or any major holiday, but CEO and President Wade Johnson is hesitant to call Christmas Day a quiet time for the hospital.

“Our business never stops,” Johnson said.

In addition to the nurses and doctors, there are countless people working behind the scenes to make the hospital run.

“We have lots of other staff here and environmental services, and sterile processing and the laboratory. All the other areas of the hospital that have to be here to make sure patients are getting the care that they need,” Johnson said.

That includes people like Julie Andersen, an aid in Environmental Services. It’s Andersen’s job to clean patients’ rooms and make sure everything is tidy. Andersen has spent holidays at work in the past and said she enjoys the opportunity to brighten a patient’s day.

“These patients don’t get to go home for holidays like we do after our shift, so to spend the day with them – it brings me joy,” Andersen said. “Just because we’re not blood family doesn’t mean we’re not family.”

Another hospital department that’s always busy is Laboratory Services. That department includes phlebotomists who draw blood and perform tests, which inpatient phlebotomy coordinator Josephine Eckman said is a critical service to have available at all times.

“Lab results help with 70 percent of diagnosing and treating patients, so without that information, patients wouldn’t be able to be treated as well,” Eckman said.

The hospital kitchen is also a flurry of activity on any given day as employees are always busy preparing nutritious meals for residents.

One employee in environmental services said coming into work on Christmas isn’t so bad when coworkers are more like family.

“I enjoy being at the hospital working here. This is like family. People are like family,” Ronald Prebil said.

St. Peter’s clinics are closed on Christmas along with the North Clinic Urgent Care and Medical Center Urgent Care. The emergency room is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

  • Reported by Jacob Fuhrer