St. Anthony Regional Hospital Highlights their experienced staff during National Social Workers Month

St. Anthony is celebrating National Social Workers Month during March by recognizing and thanking our social workers for enriching the lives of our patients and residents.

St. Anthony Social Workers

posted on 3/5/2019 in Feature

St. Anthony Regional Hospital social workers help people through all stages of life and in all situations. Hospice care, health, aging, cancer and mental health are just a few of the issues that social workers deal with on a daily basis. St. Anthony is celebrating National Social Workers Month during March by recognizing and thanking our social workers for enriching the lives of our patients and residents. Social workers are an integral part of St. Anthony's mantra to provide "Health, Healing, and Hope".

You can find social workers literally everywhere in our society. At St. Anthony, there are seven social workers who provide counseling and assistance with social and financial issues relating to a patient’s medical conditions and connect them with helpful community resources. Collectively, the St. Anthony social workers have worked 167 years in their field.

The social workers at St. Anthony Regional Hospital include:

Melissa Schultes who graduated from UNI in 1987. She started work at St. Anthony in 1992 as the first full time social worker. Prior to that, she had worked at New Hope Village. As one of the hospital social workers/discharge planners, her full time position includes screening and seeing all of the inpatients on third floor medical/surgical/pediatrics, seeing all the new moms in the Birth Place, following skilled care/swing bed patients, following infusion patients receiving chemo as well as radiation therapy patients who come to St Anthony. Melissa also helps facilitate the Parkinson’s disease support group/Delay the Disease exercise class that meets weekly. She is on the St. Anthony Wellness at Work committee as well as the Carroll County Wellness Coalition.

Chris Valentine, an Iowa State University graduate, completed her practicum at St. Anthony before she was hired following graduation and has worked at St. Anthony since 1995. Her role and responsibilities include many of the same duties as Melissa’s. Chris is also a member of the Ethics Committee and the Critical Incident Stress Management Team that provides debriefings for medical and emergency response personnel after they have dealt with a traumatic event. She does debriefings internally as well as for the community. Chris has also been active in providing community education programs for the public regarding advance care planning. She really enjoys her job and gets a lot of satisfaction in assisting families in some of their most challenging and difficult times.

Luanne Kustra has been a social worker at St. Anthony since graduating from Marycrest College in 1982. She has been a social worker in the nursing home since September 2001. Luanne wears a lot of hats in the nursing home. She performs all of the admissions for the nursing home and facilitates the Alzheimer’s Support Group meetings each month. She gives tours, referrals, helps in the chapel, volunteers for the "No One Dies Alone" ministry, gives presentations, assessments, and performs discharge and financial planning.

Sara Skinner graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1999. She will receive her Master's degree in Social Work – Trauma Informed Practice Specialization this May. Sara's work includes helping families become self-sufficient, working with children and adults utilizing the home and community based waivers, remedial services, and family team meeting facilitation. Sara has worked as the Healthy Opportunities for Parents to Experience Success (H.O.P.E.S.) Coordinator and Carroll County Nest Manager since June of 2008. Sara enjoys working with families and helping them meet their individual goals and dreams.

Ann Byrne-Boes graduated from the University of Northern Iowa 1984. She has been the social worker for St. Anthony Hospice since 2013. Ann is responsible for supporting, assessing, and educating the patient and family about grief and the dying process in the Hospice program. She also is the facilitator for the Bereavement Support Group and provides follow up if the months following a family member's death. Ann's has worked at the Department for Human Services, the Behavior Medicine Unit at St. Anthony Hospital, Manning Family Recovery Center, and a local nursing home before earning her Master's Degree through University of Nebraska at Omaha. She enjoys working with Hospice and comments that being born and dying are the two most intimate times is a person's life and is honored and a privileged to be part of that journey.

Mindi Rotert graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Buena Vista University in 1998. She has worked in a variety of different social work positions within the field since graduation including in-home counseling, foster home coordinator, and nursing home social worker. Mindi joined the Behavior Medicine Unit team at St. Anthony in 2014. Mindi conducts psychosocial assessments and assists patients with meeting their needs by connecting them to community resources as needed. She facilitates family meetings, provides education and support to patients and families, and coordinates discharge planning for patients. Mindi collaborates with community resources to best meet the needs of individuals with mental health needs.

Alexandria Harmening graduated from University of Northern Iowa in 2017 with her bachelor’s in social work after completing her practicum at St. Anthony Regional Hospital. Alex went on to work for New Opportunities as a Substance Abuse Counselor. Alex returned to St. Anthony and has been privileged to serve in the Dialysis and Behavioral Medicine Units for the past eight months. Alex assesses and assists patients with meeting their psychosocial needs by aiding with the completion of applications or connecting patients to community programs or resources. Alex completes psychosocial histories, meets with family, and coordinates care for patients.

Lastly, Journey Dirks is a Briar Cliff University student earning her Bachelor's of Social Work degree, anticipating graduation in May 2019. Journey is completing her practicum at St. Anthony Regional Hospital interning with all seven of the social workers in each of their departments; Behavioral Medicine, Dialysis, H.O.P.E.S., Hospice, Inpatient hospital, and the Nursing Home. A practicum emphasizes the importance of learning by doing. The experiences and opportunities Journey is being exposed to throughout her practicum allows her to transfer her knowledge from the classroom to the actual workplace.

The St. Anthony social workers faithfully extend compassion, understanding and guidance. Their jobs matter to so many people and St. Anthony Regional Hospital is grateful for their ongoing commitment.

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