Archive for May, 2011

Dave Skavdahl’s, Medical Student, blogs about his experience at St. Mary’s

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

David Skavdahl. Medical Student

May 26, 2011

I knew I matched at the right hospital on the first day when the VP of Mission Effectiveness explained that St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center was intentionally serving the poor and medically underserved.  During the past two weeks I have been impressed by the multiple ways that that mission is embodied by those who work at St. Mary’s. Let me give three examples.

First, the way in which I have seen the nurses care for patients at St. Mary’s continues to impress me. No matter how belligerent or non-compliant a patient may be, the nursing staff remains patient and compassionate and seeks to address the patient’s needs and concerns.

Secondly, the physicians embody the same principles. I was asking an attending physician about a complicated case that needed readmission for an infection. I was concerned about reimbursement for the physician in cases of readmission.  Her response was, “I don’t know how reimbursement will work, but I consider this part of good patient care so we are going to take care of the patient.” It was a true joy to hear that this physician felt like she had the freedom to do what was in the patient’s best interest and was not worried about the financial repercussion which might befall her.

Finally, I am impressed by the way in which the staff works together to ensure the best patient care. The teamwork I have seen at St. Mary’s is truly a model of how healthcare should be delivered compassionately and effectively. When we are willing to swallow our pride, admit our mistakes, and listen attentively to each member of the team, the patient will be healthier, remain in the hospital for shorter periods of time and be given the ability to lead joyful lives.

Sign up Now for HealthSteps Summer 2011 Specialty Classes

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Pictured instructor Johanne Healey leads the Senior Fitness class through a total body workout now held at the newly renovated d’Youville Activity Room.


HealthSteps is an award-winning health education and prevention program for adults that focuses on the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.

HealthSteps offers a wide range of classes with the core membership fee as well as a variety of specialty classes, including:

Anusara-Inspired Yoga:
Open to new and experienced students. This class is an excellent way to have fun while improving your overall health, well-being, strength, flexibility, and posture. Relieve muscle tension, stress, and aches and pains. Develop a sharp mind, vibrant body, and soft heart thru Anusara Yoga. Look and feel your best!

Mondays, 5:00-6:00pm
Instructor: Tisha Bremner
June 6-July 18*
Location: Lepage Large Conference Room, 99 Campus Avenue, Lewiston
Cost: $62.50
*Please note there are no classes 6/20 & 7/4.

Gentle Exercise
This class is designed for those with arthritis, recovering from cancer or any other individual who desires a mild form of exercise. It helps improve range of motion, strength, posture, balance, and coordination.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:15-10:00am
Instructor: Johanne Healey
May 31 – June 30
Location: Activity Room, St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion, 102 Campus Avenue, Lewiston
Cost: $24

Prenatal Yoga
Prepare your mind and body for one of the most rewarding and challenging events of your life. Whether you are an experienced yogi or new to the practice, you can receive many benefits from this class. Work to open and strengthen the legs, back and pelvic floor, improve postural alignment to alleviate back pain, and practice breath and meditation exercises to help with labor. Please bring a blanket or pillow to class.

Mondays, 6:30-7:30pm
Instructor: Tisha Bremner
June 6-July 18*
Location: Lepage Large Conference Room, 99 Campus Avenue, Lewiston
Cost: $62.50
*Please note there are no classes on 6/20 & 7/4.

Over the years we tend to deplete our Qi, our life force, which causes us to feel tired, anxious, worried and somewhat sluggish. In this practice, you will visualize and activate Qi with both quiet and active Qigong.

Tuesdays, 6:00-7:00pm
Instructor: Jason Grundstrum-Whitney
June 7 – July 5
Location: Resident Dining Room, St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion, 102 Campus Avenue, Lewiston
Cost: $50

Specific time slots are available for registration Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 6-8:30am.
Location: Merrill Gymnasium, Bates College
Cost: With Core HealthSteps Membership, $14 for the entire summer session which runs from May 31-September 2.
Without Core Membership: 1-hour, 1x/week = $50 or 1-hour, 2x/week = $80

Senior Fitness
This one-hour class provides participants with a safe and effective workout that includes a warm-up, cardiovascular component, resistance training, balance, and flexibility exercises.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9:15-10:15am or 10:30-11:30am
Instructor: Johanne Healey
June 1 – July 1*
Location: Activity Room, St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion, 102 Campus Avenue, Lewiston
Cost: $32
*Please note there are no classes on 6/27.

Tai Chi
This class is a short form based on the Sun Style family of Tai Chi and also includes some Qigong movements. Sun Lu Tang was a Master of all three Internal Martial Arts of China (Tai Chi, Bagua, and Hsing-i). Elements of all three of these internal ‘sisters’ are included within this form which is excellent for health, balance, circulation, and over all well being. It is also a great for people who have arthritis or injuries which prevent them from doing ‘low postured forms’ as there are no low postures within this form. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the practice is the sense of well being felt during and after a session.

Tuesdays, 5:00-6:00pm
Instructor: Jason Grundstum-Whitney
June 7 – July 5
Location: Resident Dining Room, St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion, 102 Campus Avenue, Lewiston
Cost: $50

Specific time slots are available for registration Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 6-8:30am.

Location: Merrill Gymnasium, Bates College
Without Core Membership: 1-hour, 1x/week = $50 or 1-hour, 2x/week = $80

Tobacco Cessation Counseling
Single Session: This is a great option for a self-motivated person who simply needs the resources to stop smoking.
Cost: $45

Multi-Session (3): With a smoking cessation coach, set a quit date and work through the quitting process. Many find the additional support to be a great advantage to their stopping the use of tobacco.
Cost: $75

HealthSteps is part of the Prevention & Wellness Services offered through St. Mary’s Health System.

Call today and start your way to a new healthy lifestyle in which you will feel better, have more energy, meet great people, and enjoy exercise even more! For more information or to register, call HealthSteps at 777-8898 or visit them on the web at: Pre-registration for all programs is required.

St. Mary’s June Online Wellness Center Information

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Men’s Health
Men might not see the doctor very often, or always admit when they’re feeling depressed. But many will listen to their loved ones who encourage it. Learn how to guide the men in your life toward healthy foods, more exercise, and regular preventive care.

How to Help Your Man Be Healthy
If it seems like the only time your man sees the inside of a doctor’s office is when he breaks a bone, this article is for you.

Men and Baldness — It’s Just Not Fair! 
More than 30 million American men have some degree of hair loss. Some start losing their hair while they are still in their 20’s and others not until their 60’s. While baldness is hereditary, progressive, and predictable, there are some things you can do about it.

Yes, Guys, Bone Thinning CAN Happen to You 
Few men realize that they are at greater risk of breaking a bone than they are for developing prostate cancer. The bone-thinning condition called osteoporosis is not just for women.

What Men Need to Know About Depression
Men, in general, are reluctant to see a physician for routine healthcare, and are even more reluctant when the problem could be an “emotional” one. Yet, in nearly all cases of depression, treatment can help. 

Home Safety
There’s no question that you want your home to be safe for your kids – whether they’re crawling, toddling, or running out the door with the car keys. Learn how to make their play, their food, their sports, and their home life safe.

Heat It and Eat It
While leftover food might get a bad rap, most of us are hungrily wrapping it up and serving the food again. Nine out of 10 Americans eat leftovers at least once or twice a week. But are they doing it safely?

Guide to the Careful Use of Medicines
People of all ages owe their health, in part, to new and improved medicines and vaccines. But it can also be risky, especially if several medicines are being used at one time. Read these steps for careful drug use. 

Are Trampolines Safe?
Ys, trampolines are fun. But are they safe? The American Academy of Pediatrics states that trampolines have no place in the home environment, backyards, playgrounds, or routine physical education classes. Learn why. 

Safe Choices Can Save a Life
Thousands of people are injured or killed each year because of poor safety choices. Don’t be one of them! Whether you’re at home, in a car, bicycling, skating, or even walking, choose common-sense behaviors that can save your life.

Storing Clean Water for Emergencies
Huricanes, floods, power outages. Whatever the emergency, be prepared with plenty of clean drinking water.

Are seasonal allergies making you miserable? Do food sensitivities make it hard to prepare a simple and safe family meal? Do you wonder if it’s possible to spare your kids the suffering from allergies altogether? Read below.

Your Baby and Allergies
Millions of babies suffer from allergies to foods, environmental irritants, pollens, pets, and more. The good news is that many kids will outgrow their allergies. Learn what you can do to help your baby avoid allergies.

Dealing with Chemical Sensitivities 
For most people, engine exhaust, cleaning products, new carpet, and paint have an unpleasant smell. But for others, even a small exposure to the fumes is dangerous. It isn’t exactly clear why some people react to chemicals in the environment and others don’t. But the number of those sensitive is rising.

Improve the Indoors by Getting Allergens Out
You can minimize your allergic reaction to dust, pollen, and other allergens with thorough housekeeping. Here are a few tips for household cleaning that can make a huge difference.

What Is a Soy Allergy? 
Soy is a super-healthy food that most people can eat and enjoy without concern. But if you are allergic or even just sensitive to it, read how to avoid the many variations of soy in the foods you eat.

Summer Hazards Can Trigger an Asthma Attack
Millions of people who suffer from asthma could have it triggered by seasonal conditions. Watch for situations that might make your asthma worse.

About the Medical Student Authors

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Robert Bruce, Medical Student


Robert Bruce grew up in Caratunk, Maine and graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology. He is currently pursuing a degree in medicine through the Tufts University School of Medicine-Maine Track Program on a U.S. Army medical scholarship. As a third year student, he looks forward to the wonderful opportunity to learn from patients and physicians at a Maine teaching hospital, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

The skills I learn at St. Mary’s will help me to achieve my goal of someday providing top-level, compassionate care to small communities right here in my home state.” 





David Skavdahl, Medical Student



David Skavdahl grew up in rural Washington State and graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a combined degree in Biology and Philosophy.

He is currently furthering his studies at Tufts University Medical School. As a third year student, he is pleased to have the wonderful opportunity to learn from patients and physicians at a teaching hospital, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. 

“I am excited my learning activities have brought me to Maine. My wife works in Topsham and we are looking forward to calling the Pine Tree State our home for years to come. “









Bob Bruce, Medical Student at St. Mary’s blogs about his and Dave Skavdahl’s first couple of weeks at St. Mary’s

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Robert Bruce, Medical Student

As the 3rd-year medical students from the Tufts-Maine Track program who will be working at St. Mary’s for the next 9 months, Dave Skavdahl and I have been charged with writing a weekly blog to give readers an idea of what day-to-day life is like for a student doctor. The original proposal was a daily blog but Dave and I conferred and decided a weekly update would be better. We weren’t too sure how upbeat we’d sound in a daily entry after a 12 hour shift in the Emergency Room or an on-call night with OB/GYN helping to deliver babies. I’m guessing that once a week will give you a less grumpy version of a day in the life! I’m taking the first entry and you’ll hear from Dave next week.

For this first blog, I’d like to tell you a little more about what we’re doing here and how our next 9 months in Lewiston will play out. In a broader sense, the program is designed to give us experience practicing medicine in more rural areas, where Maine is often most in need of doctors. This is great for me because I’m originally from Caratunk, up by the Kennebec River. I am also of the humble opinion that Maine is the finest state in this great nation of ours, so after two years of intensive coursework in Boston it’s a real treat for me to get back on friendly soil.

The 3rd-year program at St. Mary’s is an integrated model as opposed to the tradition training model. This means that, rather than breaking the year up into 6 week chunks of time devoted to each major specialty (i.e. Family Med, Internal Med, Surgery, OB/GYN, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics), we work in each of the specialties every week. In the 5 days since I have started, I have already been on hand for multiple C-sections, hernia surgeries, office visits with multiple doctors, psychiatric consults, and a *mammoth* shift in the Emergency room this past Saturday. Beyond the intensive clinical training, the great benefit of this program is that I will often work with the same patients in multiple settings and derive a much better understanding of what it is like to navigate the healthcare system.

I can say from the onset that, in terms of organizing my time, it has been a challenging week. Not only do we work long hours (we’re averaging about 12 hours per day, 6 days per week, plus homework when we get home) but that time is often spent going bouncing among departments and working with multiple doctors. Thus far, I’m really pleased and excited by the response I have received from my teachers. I’m looking forward to a lot of hard work and some great learning.

We’re here for 9 months so there will be plenty of stories to come.

Consider joining one of St. Mary’s Central Maine Heart Walk Teams

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Be the “heart” of the St. Mary’s Health System’s community and show your support by walking September 18 with other St. Mary’s Health System employees as a team!  Funds raised help fight heart disease an stroke, our number 1 and 3 killers.  It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Go to and:

  1. click on “REGISTER”
         click “I AGREE”
  2. click “Join a Team”
             select a company: “SMHS” from drop down button and click “select”
  3. select the team of choice to register/join
             Fill in the blanks

Feel free to join one of the following teams or create your own team!

TEAM NAME                                      CAPTAIN 
96 Campus Ave                                  Kristy Smith              
Eden Angels                                       Carol Cusson             
Feed Beater                                        Linda Sutton             
Garden Party Walkers                       Deborah Ladner        
Heart & Sole                                       Linda Nadeau            
Heart Healthy Billers                         Debbie Ouellette      
Rehab Ramblers                                 Melissa Chappell     

For more information or support, contact Deborah Lader, Event Co-Chair at 207-777-8292 or

St. Mary’s Hospital Emergency Response Team (HERT)

Friday, May 20th, 2011



St. Mary’s Hospital Emergency Response Team (HERT) held an equipment display and demonstration on Tuesday, May 17. HERT is a team trained to respond to hospital based emergencies including decontamination, evacuation, medical surge, communication, and more. The team is outfitted with specialized equipment designed to protect patients, staff, and the hospital. The equipment was put on display to give staff the opportunity to view the available resources and learn how it is used during an emergency. Team members were given the chance to test the equipment and show others how it is used.  This event was a great learning opportunity for staff to better understand St. Mary’s HERT team and how to get involved.  Please contact the Safety Department at 753-4869 for more information.

Nurses Day 2011 at St. Mary’s

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Happy Emergency Medical Services Week – May 15 to 21!

Monday, May 16th, 2011

St. Mary’s Health System wishes a Happy National Emergency Medical Services week to all medical personnel who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services in our community.

St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion has reaffirmed its commitment to improving quality of care and quality of life for the people who live and work there.

Monday, May 16th, 2011

St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion has reaffirmed its commitment to improving quality of care and quality of life for the people who live and work there by completing the first major Milestone of The Path to Mastery™: The Art of Creating a Caring Community. This powerful new tool developed by The Eden Alternative® guides organizations through the process of transforming their culture by applying person-directed care practices. Through this approach, decisions and actions around care honor the voices and choices of care recipients and those working most closely with them.

The Eden Alternative is a national leader in the “culture change” movement in long-term care, most notably in nursing homes and other institutional settings. Through the Path to Mastery, long-term care organizations can now share and benefit from the experiences of hundreds of homes that have successfully transformed their care environments.  St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion believes its completion of Milestone 1 is a legacy to future generations of leaders.  Lessons learned can be shared with others, ensuring that Elders and employees will continue to benefit from culture change efforts. 

“Step by step, the Path to Mastery Milestones will guide our organization further down the road to successful culture change,” says Kathy Murphy, Director of Nursing. “Our experience with each Milestone will be shared with other organizations to inspire them to initiate these types of change.” 

Murphy shares that completing Milestone 1 has helped them to reflect on positive accomplishments and to appreciate how far they have come with putting the Eden Principles into practice.  “By completing Milestone 1, we have demonstrated real progress in moving our organization toward person-directed care.  

This news is timely and important given our country’s current demographic makeup and the aging of America. Changing the culture of care environments is important to overall public health. Improving the way we, as a society, provide long-term care will have a significant impact on many millions of Americans, as the population ages and begins to rely more on support to meet basic daily needs.

The Eden Alternative is an international, non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that provides education and consultation for organizations across the entire continuum of care.  As a person-directed care philosophy, it is dedicated to creating care environments that promote quality of life for Elders and those who support them as care partners. Research has shown this leads to improved quality of care and higher rates of satisfaction for everyone involved, while also benefitting the bottom line.