St. Luke's employees live our mission,
The Patient. Above All Else, each working day. Get to know some of our employees and why they enjoy
working at St. Luke's.
St. Luke's Director of Pharmacy
Gina Lemke's name may not be familiar to most patients, but as St.
Luke's director of pharmacy, she interacts with all areas of the hospital
and clinics. In her role, Gina oversees St. Luke's Hospital and Lake
View Hospital, retail and infusion therapy pharmacies, and works closely
with clinic managers to ensure that patients receive safe and effective
medications. While Gina doesn't see patients every day, their needs
drive everything she does. "Their lives depend on us," she says.
Gina is also part of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, a group of
physicians, pharmacists, nurses, quality specialists, clinical dietitians
and others who review processes, study national trends and examine best
practices. "Medication therapy is becoming so complex that it needs
to be carefully monitored," she says. "We're constantly
improving our processes to make medication more effective, safer and cost
effective." For example, the group is currently working with new
technology that automates dispensing, so the pharmacists can spend more
time consulting with patients.
For Gina, who's been at St. Luke's for 12 years, St. Luke's mission,
The Patient. Above All Else, is a guiding force. "With the changing health care environment and
new pressures from state and federal regulators, we face a lot of unknowns,"
she says. "When it gets overwhelming, you stop and think, 'What's
best for the patient?' and suddenly, it all becomes clear."
Gina also believes that St. Luke's mission influences the culture.
"The people at St. Luke's really care about their jobs and what
they can do for patients. Each interaction creates caring and compassion,
and that shows in patient care," she says. "Whenever I run up
against a complicated issue, I know my colleagues will either drop everything
to help me or fit me into their schedule as soon as possible. It gives
me peace of mind to be part of a team so committed to improving patient
Emergency Department Nurse, St. Luke's Hospital
Registered nurse Heidi Shaw sees the importance of personalized care in
the St. Luke's emergency room. "Everything we do in the ER is
patient-motivated," Heidi says. "We try to make the experience
the best it can be." That patient-focused care begins as soon as
the patient enters the department, where they are greeted by a nurse.
"We try to make the patients feel comfortable by introducing ourselves,
telling them our names, that we're going to take good care of them
while they're here," she says.
Keeping the patient informed is an important part of the process. "We
like to tell them what we're doing, what the medication is, what's
going to happen next if they go for a scan, how long things are going
to take. We do everything we can to make them comfortable, to get their
pain under control, give them warm blankets, comfort them. And we try
to get a doctor to see them as quickly as possible," she says. Patients
are often surprised to discover that the emergency department makes a
follow-up call after they go home to make sure they understand their instructions
and to ask if patients have any concerns. "Most people are surprised
that we call and they are very thankful. It's usually a short call,
only five minutes or so, but people seem to like it," Heidi says.
Heidi has been with St. Luke's for 12 years, starting in the float
pool, where she would work in different departments. She joined the emergency
department eight years ago. "I like that St. Luke's is a smaller
hospital. It's more like a family. We have a lot of really smart people
here, and we trust each other. That's important in the emergency department.
We trust each other to do our jobs and take our turns and do the best
we can for each patient."
Clinical Assistant, St. Luke's Miller Creek Medical Clinic
For more than nine years, Lia Dardis has been a familiar face to patients
visiting the Miller Creek Medical Clinic in Hermantown, Minnesota. As
a primary care clinical assistant, Lia works one-on-one with a physician
to care for patients. "We're the ones patients talk to on the
phone, the ones they see in the clinic, the one who's going to follow
up with a phone call or mail information to the patient," Lia says.
The continuity of care is especially important to children coming to the
clinic. "We have a lot of kids who get nervous if I'm not there,"
she says. "They want to see a familiar face. We've known a lot
of our families since the moms were pregnant, and we're able to follow
them through until we're sending the kids off to college."
Lia enjoys caring for patients from infancy through their elder years.
"I'm a problem solver," Lia says. "I like taking on
the extra tasks, such as calling pharmacies to ensure our patients get
the best price for their medication, or getting out a map and drawing
on it so patients know how to find parking and get a good spot. Anything
I can do to help take away frustration or ease someone's anxiety."
What Lia loves about working for St. Luke's is being part of a team.
She takes the mission,
The Patient. Above All Else, to heart. "We're part of a team. We spend most of our waking time
together, and we're all here for the patients and working together
to keep things as seamless as possible." Most of all, Lia enjoys
the variety that makes up her day in primary care. "I like that I
get to do so many different things. I really love taking care of our families,"
she says. "That's my favorite part of my job. And when there's
a new baby in the family, I probably get just as excited as the extended
Room Service Attendant, St. Luke's Hospital
As a St. Luke's room service attendant, Anna Garrett knows the power
of good food. "You can brighten a person's day through food,"
Anna says. "They're in the hospital, it's not the best time
for them. It can be a break in their day where you're not talking
about their medical condition."
Anna plays two important roles: as an expeditor, making sure the order
is correct, and as an ambassador, going to the room to bring a meal or
help a patient order. "When a patient's been here for a week,
you get to know what they like and you can make suggestions they might
enjoy," she says.
St. Luke's Perspectives Dining allows patients to choose from a list
of entreés, side dishes and beverages, which patients like. "When
patients get to pick what they're eating, they're happier,"
Anna says. "They say, 'This is so great, it's like a restaurant.'"
Anna likes the teamwork in the kitchen, and how everyone works toward
a common goal: making sure the patients are satisfied.
Connecting with patients is an important part of the job."When you
knock on the door and say, 'Perspectives Dining, this is Anna, may
I bring your lunch in?," patients are welcoming. They say, 'Oh,
it's the food lady. Sure, you can come in,' and they're so
happy to see you." Anna's encounter with a patient who had dementia
shows her commitment to
The Patient. Above All Else. "I had an older patient who was confused. She didn't know where
she was. One day I brought her lunch in and she was crying. I sat with
her, held her hand and we talked for a moment. She said, 'Oh, thank
you for sitting here. I feel so much better. I just needed to know where
I am.' It was one of those things where I could help someone feel
a little better."