Thursday, October 20, 2016

GRMC Employees Share Favorite Fall Activities

Vicky Norrish, GRMC laboratory and compliance director, with her children,
Owen and Olivia, before the "Off the Beaten Path" race in September at the
Jacob Krumm Nature Preserve, located south of Grinnell.
Do you ever get stuck in a creative rut, resorting to your ‘typical’ go-to fall activities and projects? Us, too! So, to help fill your fall agenda, GRMC employees chipped in with some of their favorite fall activities.

People tend to fall in love with the warm, comforting scents of spiced apples and pumpkins in autumn. Luckily, there are many fun activities this time of year that revolve around these decadent seasonal fragrances.

“Fall is apple time! I love anything to do with apples! I love to bake them, can them, cook them, [and] eat them!” Jessica Batchellor, coding

“My family and I love to visit a pumpkin farm every fall. It is so great to spend an entire day just making memories. We also farm, so we spend many hours in the combine and unloading corn and beans. Fall time is such a special time for my family.”Robin Ferguson, environmental services

“I like to go to the pumpkin farm with my grandkids.”Janet Lacey, quality and patient experience

“This time of year I enjoy a night out with friends as we go to several haunted houses around Iowa. It’s a nice getaway to enjoy a night out and have some fun. I also enjoy picking apples from our apple tree, and this year we had a little pumpkin patch that we have watched grow and now have about 12 pumpkins to decorate and carve with the kids.” Kayla Moyer, environmental services

Being outdoors in the cooling autumn air is a great way to exercise comfortably or relax, even under the stars, warmed by a glowing fire.

“I love to fall camp; hiking, nighttime campfires, the sound of dry leaves…it’s all good!”Amy Brown, integrated medicine

 “I love to go for a walk outside on a nice day and take in all the colors of the leaves, and with my family we have bonfires at night.”Michelle Davies, physical therapy

“My favorite fall activity to do with my family is to have bonfires…fortunately for us, Gilman still allows people in town to have fire pits. It’s so nice to sit outside listening to the fire crackle, get rid of dead or rotten tree branches in the yard, and, of course roast hotdogs or marshmallows for s’mores.”Heidi Fuller, care coordination

“My favorite fall activity is sitting in a tree. I love to bow hunt, but it’s not always about the deer; I am at complete peace sitting 20 feet in the air with nothing to do or stress about beyond what’s happening around me. It always makes me feel better when [my wife] Jamie goes with me, and I can’t wait for the day when I can start taking my kids. Any way you look at it, I love being in a tree on fall days, just soaking in everything that most of us take for granted.”Eric Hodina, information technology

“Anyone who knows me knows that one of my most favorite things to do in the fall is run the ‘Off the Beaten Path’ race that takes place every September at the Jacob Krumm Nature Preserve right outside of Grinnell. I jog at this nature preserve all summer and look forward to participating in this race every fall. This year was even more special because my kids, Owen and Olivia, ran the race with me. It was a super morning with great weather and we all ended up placing in our age divisions. Definitely a Saturday we will all remember!”Vicky Norrish, lab and compliance director

“Read in the hammock outside.”Kristi Oksendahl, nutrition services

“Take a long walk through tree-lined streets on a sunny day with a breeze so the leaves are falling as I walk. Enjoy the beauty. And if the sidewalk is piled with leaves, I kick my way through them!” Linda Ollinger, information technology

The hues of fall heat up as the temperatures drop, lavishing treetops with rich reds and glorious golds, and sprinkling sidewalks with arresting shades of orange. Drinking in the beauty of the season is well-liked by many.

“My favorite fall activity is taking photographs. The colors this time of year are spectacular – from the sunrise to the sunset to every tree and field in between! Get out and enjoy the scenery before winter comes!”Becky Froias, surgery

“My favorite fall festivity is driving around to look at the beautiful tree colors. One of the prettiest drives not too far away is Interstate 380 between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. That has always been one of my favorite fall scenes.”Tricia Kilmer, human resources

“There are many things that I enjoy doing in the fall – looking at all the beautiful colors of the landscape, decorating outside my home, really enjoying just being outside with the beautiful weather, and seeing my grandkids trick or treat.”Michelle Reitzler, hospice

Fall and football are seemingly synonymous. Sports fans around the nation celebrate the arrival of autumn.

“Fall means going to my nephew’s football games, watching Iowa Hawkeye football, and watching Kansas City Chiefs football!”Tammi Wagenknecht, health information management

Decorating for fall and/or Halloween makes many feel extra festive, and often has nostalgic ties.

“My favorite fall activity is decorating my house for the little tykes at Halloween and Thanksgiving. When my daughters entered high school, they said that since they weren’t children anymore I didn’t need the house decorated, but I still enjoy decorating it. We all love to get together to walk the town and see everyone’s outdoor fall décor, and it makes my heart happy to be together!”Maggie Carlton, facilities management

“I love the fall basically because I can finally go outside. I am so much happier when it is cooler outside. I love decorating for fall, especially for Halloween. The fall flowers, the colors, the smells, and all the junk sales that start popping up. And then there’s getting ready for my next favorite season…CHRISTMAS!”Sandy Groenendyk, environmental services

This is a small sampling of GRMC employees and their favorite fall festivities, so we want to hear from YOU! Comment on this post on our Facebook page to share your favorite fall activity.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cu 29 - Nature at its Best

This past month Grinnell Regional Medical Center and Grinnell College concluded a year and half long study looking into the effectiveness of using copper alloy materials in a hospital setting. The study was administered by Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, Ph.D., associate professor at Grinnell College and a research team of undergraduate students.

“This study is the first to demonstrate that copper alloy surfaces maintain reduced bacterial numbers in unoccupied and occupied patient rooms,” Hinsa-Leasure said. “This is in contrast to control rooms, where bacterial numbers rebound following terminal cleaning to levels comparable to those found in occupied control rooms.”

For the research, half of the patient rooms at GRMC were fitted with CuVerro copper alloys
and its germ-killing properties on high-touch surfaces. During the study, patient rooms were cleaned daily and subjected to a final, or terminal, cleaning upon patient discharge. High-touch areas were swabbed in occupied and unoccupied rooms and aerobic bacterial counts were determined for comparison purposes. GRMC’s size allowed it to be able to devote certain rooms that are rarely occupied to remain unoccupied for the length of study to act as a control. 

GRMC’s move to copper surfaces was initiated in the name of patient safety and reducing risks of healthcare-acquired infections. Studies have found that pathogens can survive for days to months on dry surfaces, making it difficult to maintain the current suggested standard for surface-level cleanliness. However, since the research found significantly fewer bacteria on copper alloy products, more rooms will be outfitted with the same life-saving copper alloys to reduce risk of hospital acquired infections.

Hinsa-Leasure explains that “This [study] is key to protecting newly admitted patients from contracting infections through commonly touched surfaces, even when they are considered clean, and is integral to an effective infection-control strategy.”

Further details about the research can be found at

Written by Noah Segal, GRMC intern

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Are Your Children Safe?

Did you know…
  • Road injuries are the leading cause of unintentional deaths to children in the United States.
  • Of those children ages eight and under, who died in vehicle crashes in 2014, 26 percent were not restrained by an age-appropriate device, such as an infant seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
  • Children should ride in a vehicle back seat until they are at least 13 years old.

Thankfully, GRMC offers car seat safety inspections! Watch for dates of future car safety seat inspections. Here is what you can expect to learn at future inspections:
  • You will learn if you are using the correct car seat style for your child;
  • What car seat to use in the event that you have the wrong kind of car seat;
  • How to properly install the car seat into your vehicle, including the direction the car seat faces;
  • And how to seat your child in the car seat, using the correct placement for straps, clips, etc.

Like GRMC on Facebook and check the GRMC website ( and be one of the first to know about our 2017 car seat safety inspections!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cancer Care Beyond Compare

Alicia Rohach, RN, and former chemotherapy patient Effie Hall.
Did you know…
  • Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer found in men in the United States?
  • Prostate cancer often has no early symptoms? Or the symptoms can mirror a benign prostate condition?
  • Finding and treating prostate cancer before symptoms occur may not improve health or help you live longer?
  • Grinnell Regional Medical Center can provide quality cancer care close to home?

That’s right, fellas, trying to treat this common cancer before symptoms occur—if the symptoms show up right away—may be wasted effort. However, when the time comes to take care of your cancer needs, consider GRMC!

Advanced diagnostic options allow area residents to undergo testing, medical and surgical treatments, and recovery/rehabilitation while remaining in the community where they feel comfortable. Family practice physicians, surgeons, a visiting oncologist, diagnostic imaging, and laboratory services all partner to provide the best care and treatment options. Even if your oncologist is located elsewhere, GRMC can still provide this service to you with an order form from your doctor.

Should your treatment plan call for chemotherapy or an infusion treatment, we have space dedicated to treat you. Located on the first floor of the medical center, the GRMC Auxiliary Chemotherapy and Infusion Suite is a gorgeous space flooded with natural light and windows. Shadows of plant etching on the glass grace the floor and walls, working to create a soothing environment.

To learn more or to take a virtual tour of the GRMC Auxiliary Chemotherapy and Infusion Suite, please visit


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Blending May Help Mending

The use of essential oils as a natural alternative or supplement to medication has increased over the past few years. Essential oils are oils derived from plants. They maintain the fragrance of the plants they come from, and are used in perfumes and aromatherapy. Essential oils have proven to be useful tools in accentuating the benefits of massage therapy by using the two together.

The team at Postels Community Health Park is pairing massage therapy and essential oils to the advantage of their patients. For example, lavender is used to melt away stress. Stop the sniffles by using eucalyptus. Feel more alert after diffusing a drop of peppermint oil. Repel mosquitos with the help of Skeeter Away. These essential oils and essential oils blends—along with dozens of others—are available at Postels Community Health Park and The Glass Gift Box at GRMC. You can also learn the ins and outs of essential oils at the upcoming Mix ‘N’ Go party!

Join Casie Olson, LMT, certified aroma therapist, as she gives you the tools to help with arthritis/pain, headaches, sleep, stress management, muscle aches, and colds/flu, all with the help of 100% pure essential oils. She’ll even show you how to make your own custom blend to take home, which can be made in the form of a cream, roll-on, inhaler, or bath salts.

The Mix ‘N’ Go party is Tuesday, Sept. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Postels. For $25 per person, you will receive essential oil education, one essential oil blend, and snacks. Additional blends may be made for $10 each. Childcare is available for $2 per child. Please RSVP to ext. 2953 if you will need childcare.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Get Up and Get Moving - Your Life Depends on It

As you read this, you’re probably doing something very dangerous—sitting. Not what you expected? Prolonged periods of sitting can be dangerous to your health, and are associated with higher risk of death from all causes, including heart problems and cancer.

“For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking,” says Martha Grogan, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic.

Our sedentary culture is literally killing us, with an associated 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause and 125 percent increased risk of death associated with cardiovascular disease, especially when comparing those with greater sitting for screen time to lesser.

This is concerning, as most Americans spend the majority of their work and leisure hours sitting. A full 86 percent of workers sit all day, every day, on average spending nine to 10 hours sitting down. How can we counteract such a widespread problem?

Americans tend to believe that our sedentary lifestyles can be combated by occasional visits to the gym. However, this is ineffective. Even spending large amounts of time exercising intensely at the gym won’t offset the cost of sitting for extended periods. A good workout at the PWA Fitness Center still has health benefits – muscle strengthening, body tone, flexibility, and core strengthening, among others, which help reduce falls, improve energy levels, and increase strength capacity. In terms of wellness, you also need to move throughout the day.

“Actively sedentary is a new category of people who are fit for one hour but sit around the rest of the day,” says Katy Bowman, author of Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement. “You can’t offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.”

 And that’s for people who go to the gym at all—more than half of Americans don’t, following up their inactive work lives with inactive leisure. If after-hours exercise won’t help, how can you avoid turning a desk job into a literal death sentence?

stand, Stand, STAND!

Standing uses extra calories, activates muscle groups, improves posture and blood flow, and heightens your metabolism. The only way to combat the “sitting disease” is to not do it, and to substitute in standing whenever you can.

Incorporating more standing into your day isn’t as hard as you may think. Put your computer or workstation up high and stand when working instead of sitting. If that’s too hard or not a possibility, set a timer that goes off every half hour and stand up then. You could also park further away from your building; take the stairs instead of the elevator; or go to your colleagues’ offices in person instead of calling or sending an email.

When you do talk on the phone, stand up. Watch TV while standing or walking around. If that seems like too much, stand up during the commercial breaks. See if your colleagues will agree to a “walking meeting” where you all walk laps around the building instead of sitting around a conference table. We have sidewalks throughout our campus at GRMC and we are encouraged to use that resource, along with other available resources, to inject some activity into our otherwise static work lives. While standing all day may be impractical for you or your job, stand as much as you can. Even just a little extra activity can make a difference.


Written by Anya Silva, GRMC summer intern

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Oh Dear, We Need Volunteers!

Sheila Latcham (L) and Gretchen Isenberg (R).
Do you have a little extra time? Are you looking for a fun and engaging way to stay involved with your community? Consider volunteering your time and talents with the Grinnell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary. The auxiliary is comprised of over 400 volunteers who fulfill various roles throughout the hospital.

Volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to maintain an active, healthy, and social lifestyle. Auxiliary roles are as unique as the individuals filling them; we can match you with a position that suits your individual needs. One volunteer noted, “Delivering mail around GRMC is a great way for me to stay active.”

Gene Elliott (L) and Jerry Henschen (R).
We interviewed over a dozen volunteers, asking why they chose to join the GRMC Auxiliary. There were a few overwhelmingly common responses, including:
  • “I love getting to meet new people every day.”
  • “Knowing that I am able to help others is a great feeling."
  • “Volunteering is a great way to keep me busy.”
After spending a little time at GRMC and getting to know staff, patients, and visitors, volunteers won’t know a stranger!

In addition to helping the hospital and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we will get you hooked up with your very own volunteer badge. Oh, and every shift you volunteer, you get a free meal at the Neon Café or GRMC cafeteria!

Currently, the auxiliary is in need of breakfast cashiers, gift shop attendees, and clinic couriers. If none of these positions sound like the right fit for you, there are a variety of other volunteer opportunities available as well.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering opportunities, please contact Cara Kenkel at (641)-236-2043 or email her at

Robert and Kim Wemer.
Additional volunteer information can be found on the GRMC Volunteer Opportunities page.

Written by Nick Moorehead, GRMC summer intern