Talk Of The Town

stjoepixUpper left: The original St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese before renovations, circa 1897-1926. Upper right: Sister Mary Charles Rydzewski welcomes a little boy to the open house, April 19 and April 20, 1969. Bottom: The bare bones of the current St. Joseph’s Hospital location during construction in the 1960s.    This Friday, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese is celebrating 50 years of medical care in its current building on Holy Cross Lane. April 26 marked the official anniversary and HSHS is inviting the public to join in on the fun. From noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17, visitors can join hospital staff in the Heritage Room for historical displays, video commentary, snacks and refreshments, all in celebration of five decades of community service at their current location.
    “If you look back to 1897 when St. Joseph’s Hospital started through today, the one thing that continues to be a consistent message is that not only the community of Breese but this region of Illinois has demonstrated a continued commitment to our hospital,” said hospital president and CEO Chris Klay. “The evidence starts with Elizabeth Speckman.” 
    The hospital’s current building is not its first. Breese widow Elizabeth Speckman died in 1890, leaving nine acres of land in downtown Breese and $1,500 to the city in order to build the original hospital. The parishioners of St. Dominics Catholic Church in Breese took up the cause and, seven years and $18,000 later, the 2.5 story brick building was complete.
    The facility was dedicated to St. Joseph by the Most Rev. John Janssen, the first bishop of the Belleville diocese, and the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ served as sponsors until withdrawing in 1917. 

DAISYDAISY award nominees were, in no particular order: Sheila Aarseth, Lynn Broeckling, Diane Hempen, Mona Henrichs, Jan Hustedde, Sara Kampwerth, Donna Lancey, Ruth Mentel, Kim Presson, Erica Spihlmann, Angela Thole and Jeanne Thole. Also pictured are hospital CNO Zach Yoder and clinical educator Rene Kruse. (Photo by Melissa Wilkinson)    Registered nurse Mona Henrichs was honored on Tuesday, May 7 as the second recipient of the  DAISY award from HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese.
    The DAISY award is one initiative of The DAISY Foundation in service to the nursing profession. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem. The DAISY Foundation was formed in November 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of complications of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. The nursing care Patrick received when hospitalized profoundly touched his family. Barnes’ wife now runs the organization.
    HSHS St. Joseph’s in Breese brought the program to the hospital in honor of nurses who have had a positive impact on their patients’ lives through their kindness, skill and compassion. The first ceremony, honoring RN Calista Dothager, was held in January.
    Twelve nurses were nominated for the second award: Sheila Aarseth, Lynn Broeckling, Diane Hempen, Mona Henrichs, Jan Hustedde, Sara Kampwerth, Donna Lancey, Ruth Mentel, Kim Presson,  Erica Spihlmann, Angela Thole and Jeanne Thole.
    The ceremony began with clinical educator Rene Kruse telling the story of the DAISY award and reading anonymous patient testimony about how each of the nominated nurses had impacted their lives.
    Kruse then revealed that she had intentionally left out feedback for one of the nurses, opting instead to allow a “special guest” to read it herself.
    After a suspenseful pause, Karen and George Kersey entered the room and approached the podium. 
    “I came to outpatient surgery on Jan. 25, 2019 for a screening colonoscopy,” said Karen Kersey. “After completing the required prep, not sleeping well in the hours before the procedure, and being anxious about the possible results, I was not feeling my best upon arrival. And then I met my nurse, Mona Henrichs. Mona is one of those rare people who radiates calm. She instantly put me at ease and capably guided me through the entire process. A good nurse is responsive to her patient’s needs. A great nurse, like Mona, anticipates those needs. The badge she wears says, ‘I promise to make a difference.’ And she does.”
    After sharing a warm embrace with her former patient, Henrichs was announced the winner of the second DAISY award. Henrichs received a goody bag as well as a “Healer’s Touch” award, a statue from a village in Zimbabwe, the entire economy of which is based on DAISY award statues.
    After the ceremony, attendees were treated to cinnamon rolls, a favorite treat of Barnes.’

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