The work it takes to become a Registered Nurse or a Radiologic Technician is no easy feat.
That’s why Ohio Valley Hospital is excited to announce that our 2018 Graduating Classes for our School of Nursing AND our School of Radiography have had 100% pass rates on their board exams!
School of Nursing
In 2018, our School of Nursing diploma program took students 21 months to complete. Upon graduating in May, they were eligible to sit for the NCLEX Exam, which, if you pass, means you become a full-fledged Registered Nurse. You can not practice as a nurse in the state of Pennsylvania without passing. Of the 81 Pennsylvania schools who sat for this exam, only 9 have had 100% pass rates over the last 4 years.* That is less than 3%! According to School of Nursing Director Valerie Gaydosh:
“This is a significant reflection on our faculty and staff and clearly demonstrates that our institution is presenting what needs to be taught to graduate students, who possess the clinical judgement and critical thinking needed to pass the State Board of Nursing exam.”
Additionally, in the last 4 years* only 2 of the other 9 regional diploma programs in the area received 100% pass rates. Our School of Nursing last had a 100% pass rate in 2011.
School of Radiography
Our School of Radiography has the distinction of earning a 100% pass rate in both 2017 and in 2018! This exclusive program only allows for 9 students to join each incoming class of the 24-month program. Upon graduation, students are eligible to try and pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam. The test is made up of four sections focused on Radiography-specific content. This includes Patient Care, Radiation Physics/Radiobiology/Radiation Protection, Image Production, and Imaging Procedures. Passing this certification test means you can add RT (R) after your name, or, more formally, you are now a Registered Technologist of Radiography.
Our School of Radiography’s overall five year registry average is 89%, which is above the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) five year average of 75%. According to our School of Radiography Director, Lori Fazio:
“I’m honored to be the Director of the School of Radiography. I’m also elated and proud of the hard work and dedication the Class of 2018 exuded. The pass rate is a big deal because it exemplifies our school as a combination of dedicated faculty and students that go the extra mile to confirm successful graduates. Also, it hold a standard for the next class to see the prize ahead of the journey.”
The Class of 2018 students may now use the education they’ve gained here as a stepping stone to further their education, as well as to cross-train in a different imaging techniques, such as CT, MRI, Nuclear Medicine, Ultrasound or Mammography.
Congratulations once again to our School of Nursing and our School of Radiography!
*From 2014-2017. 2018 state statistics are not yet available.
McKees Rocks Road between Hawthorne Drive and the Kennedy Township border has reopened early. The mile-long stretch of pavement closed on May 7th and was initially scheduled to reopen in August. Allegheny County had planned these road updates years ago for 2018. The maintenance schedule coincided recent road issues; part of the road had been ebbing away along the hillside over the last several months. The road was continuously patched until the county project could begin.
Emergency Responder vehicles, patients, and visitors to the hospital were rerouted for just over two months. For more information on how to reach Ohio Valley Hospital, visit our Contact Us page:
Before lacing up your lucky athletic sneakers to take off on a 5K course, you have to consider all of the variables. What will the weather be like? Should you layer your outfit? Is your footwear broken in enough to be comfortable, without having too many miles on the tread? And, in the case of the Ohio Valley Hospital and Kennedy Township 5K, did you train properly to prepare for all of those hills?
This year’s 37th annual race on May 12th was one for the books. More than 230 participants came out to the hospital’s campus to run or walk the hilly course under sunny, blue skies and warm temperatures. Dozens of volunteers, family members, and friends stood along the course with signs and cowbells, cheering them on as participants pounded pavement in the spring heat.
It was a special year for the 5K, as Ohio Valley Hospital’s President and CEO, David W. Scott, FACHE, plans on retiring before the 2019 race. He first became involved with the outing 32 years ago, and has been instrumental in ensuring the race became –and remained- successful. Back in the 90s, he kept the race neighborhood-friendly, while growing it to include participants from all over Western Pennsylvania. He also changed the race from a 10K run/walk/bike event in July to a 5K in May. Today, with a DJ playing as participants start the race, to a full continental breakfast awards ceremony after, many participants consider this local race and all of its ‘perks’ to be one of their favorites; they can thank David Scott for that. Of course, as a fellow runner, he also enjoys actually RUNNING the race. This year, in addition to a plaque honoring his time spent with the race, Scott picked up a 3rd place medal for the time he ran in his age group!
OVH’s President and CEO wasn’t the only race winner, of course. The First Overall Winner of the 37th annual Ohio Valley Hospital and Kennedy Township 5K was Montour graduate Bailey Rotellini, finishing with an impressive time of 18:54! Placing as the Second Overall Male Finisher, Doug Basinski came in at 19:51. The Third Overall Male Finisher, Heath Piper, came in at 20:02. The First Overall Female Finisher, Alysha Bartosh, came in at 21:29. The Second Overall Female Finisher, Shannon McKenzie, finished at 22:22. The Third Overall Female Finisher, Katie Johnston, finished at 23:47.
Several community groups put together teams to take part in the race, including Focus on Renewal in McKees Rocks. The Rehabilitation Services department at Ohio Valley Hospital has a team every year; this year’s race shirt was in honor of a beloved staff member and fellow 5K runner who died last year, Lori Hiney Johnston.
Sponsorships from Clearview Federal Credit Union and Canon paid for race and volunteer shirts; Rosedale Technical College sponsored the DJ; other companies made food donations, and local businesses filled the race packets. This year’s race offered a special musical treat in the form of Jenna Weaver, a classically-trained opera singer, performing the Star Spangled Banner to much applause. DJ David Hopperfield also came out to run the race, and he brought the Froggy van along for the ride!
Next year’s race is likely to be the second Saturday in May once again. Even if he won’t be volunteering, David Scott promises to come back and run. He’ll start preparing for those hills in January 2019; right around the time registration opens for the 38th annual Ohio Valley Hospital and Kennedy Township 5K!
Check out this year’s race results!
For more information on next year’s race.
2018 marked a decade’s worth of Diabetes Days at Ohio Valley Hospital (OVH)! On a snowy Spring Equinox, we kicked off the season with this well-attended gathering. One hundred and fifty attendees made their way to our campus for the annual event, which unites community members living with chronic illnesses, and those who strive to live a healthier life. Susan Zikos, RN, LDN, CDE, the OVH Diabetes Coordinator and co-planner of Diabetes Day, does this through lectures, food demonstrations, free health tests, local vendors, and much more!
Those who attend every year know that they can get a free A1c test, along with blood pressure tests, a Dexa Scan, and a foot check. To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Diabetes Day, Ohio Valley Hospital added a cholesterol test as well! The new test wasn’t the only add-on, however. The popular event took over the entire first floor of the OVH School of Nursing campus, adding in an expert panel called, “Diabetes Prevention and Lifestyle Management,” made up of professionals from our Physician Services group and Medical Office Building, and an Information Area chock-full of must-reads on diabetes health care and healthy living.
45th District Representative Anita Kulik attended the event and took advantage of the free testing.
For the first time, our School of Nursing students got involved in the event. From assisting with paperwork to performing glucometer readings, it was a way for future RN’s to get to know the community they may serve! Valerie Gaydosh, Director of the OVH School of Nursing, was thrilled to incorporate her students into Diabetes Day. She says it “gave our freshman students an opportunity to reinforce learning of diabetes concepts by attending the event, while our senior students got the opportunity to share their skills and knowledge by assisting professionals in different areas. All in all, it is a terrific learning experience for all the students involved, and we were thrilled to be a part of it!”
Speaking of community, 2018 was the first time a Community Room was added, in addition to the usual auditorium of vendor tables, “to bring the community more into focus,” says Director of Marketing, Megan Hinds, the event co-planner. The purpose of this room is to encourage interaction between attendees and “local groups, whose goals focus not just on healthcare, but positive community change.”
So what is diabetes, and why does OVH put a spotlight on this condition? Diabetes is part of a cluster of conditions called metabolic syndrome which includes increased blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. When these conditions occur together there is an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. As part of the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment first done back in 2013, it was determined that this chronic disease was one on the rise in our area. Zikos hopes that, “by making people more aware of this possibility, we can decrease these conditions in our population.”
Zikos explains that community members benefit greatly from this event because “people who attend see many others who are dealing with the same things that they are dealing with. It is a comfort to know that you are not alone in your struggles.”
We look forward to growing and this event even more in the coming years, and can’t wait to get started planning our 11th Diabetes Day next spring! If you want more information about next year’s event, keep checking our Events section on our website. Keep your eyes on our Facebook page for more pictures! If you have any event feedback, please send us a message on our Contact Us page.
Athletes from all over the world are currently braving brutally cold temperatures at the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea. According to NPR, the high on Tuesday was a mere 11 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill that was, “inconsiderate of the basic needs of both humans and journalists.” These conditions can make competing difficult for the athletes. While the temperatures have not been quite as cold in Pittsburgh, with an average temperature of 26 degrees Farhenheit for the month of January according to Weather Underground, it can still cause some setbacks for those preparing for the warmer months.
The winter season is the time to start training for 5K’s, like our annual run in May. Whether you’re an experienced or first time runner, preparing in the winter months can be challenging. While you may think you’re strictly limited to the treadmill, training outside is still an option, so long as you use precaution and follow these tips:
Don’t Push It
Technically, you can train outside in any temperature or wind chill. According to active.com, on days where the risk of hypothermia or frostbite is high, stay closer to home or an area that you are comfortable with. In case of an emergency or injury, there is a better chance that you will be able to get help. It’s always a good idea to carry a cell phone with you. If you feel uncomfortable in those brisk temperatures, make it a quick run or just stick to a treadmill or indoor track.
Preparing For The Run
In planning for the cold run, warm yourself up inside so that the cold air will feel inviting. This can easily be done through household activities. Trainfora5k.com suggests activities such as stairs or jumping jacks. Remember, there is a fine line between warming up and starting to sweat, as the latter will only make you colder outside. Additionally, apply chapstick to the lips and vaseline to the face to prevent your skin from drying in the wind.
You always hear people telling others to “stay hydrated” during the summer months, but what about during the winter? It turns out that staying hydrated in the winter is just as important! Active.com say the cold air can be dry and suppress your thirst, which is why it is essential to drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your workout.
While it may seem logical to layer up and wear a winter coat for your run that is exactly how not to dress. According to trainfora5k.com, a bunch of warm cotton layers will trap the heat in your body very quickly, making you sweaty and actually causing you to chill. Ideal clothing for winter runs are items specifically made from fabrics that are breathable and keep you dry, such as our OVH and Kennedy Township 5K dri-fit shirts! These thinner layers will also allow you to move more easily. Having an outer layer that is wind and water repellant is very beneficial and you should always cover as much exposed skin as possible. Additionally, having shoes without mesh will help keep the snow out. You should be somewhat cold when you step outside because your body will heat up quickly from the movement.
One more tip to consider, is what time of the day you will be running. With shorter daylight hours in the winter, be prepared to run with lights or reflective gear so that you will be seen by other pedestrians as well as cars.
How Fast Should You Run?
Winter running should be done at an easier and slower pace. This helps build strength and reduces risk of injury. Additionally, running at a slower pace (and lower heart rate) burns more fat than running as fast as you can. This will help condition you during the cold months in preparation for spring. If the temperatures are too extreme, reserve your shorter runs for outside and keep the longer runs inside.
Congrats, you did it! Immediately after your run, trainfora5k.com says you should change clothes to remove the wet and sweaty layers. You should also grab a warm drink as your internal body temperature will start to drop.
Now that you have these great tips, it’s time to get out there! It’s never too early to start training for the spring race season. Speaking of….not yet registered for our 37th Annual Ohio Valley Hospital and Kennedy Township 5K? The race will take place on Saturday, May 12th at 8am rain or shine here at the Hospital. Register now or request a paper form by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here at Ohio Valley Hospital, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, or CRNAs, are a vital part of our surgical team. Since 2000, they have been celebrated nationally during the last full week of January in what is now called National Nurse Anesthetist Week. This week seeks to highlight anesthesia patient safety, as well as the work done by the more than 52,000 CRNAs in the USA!
So, what kind of job does a CRNA have? In addition to the national licensing requirements of a Registered Nurse, they will have a specialized technical skill set and extra educational prerequisites involving the administering of anesthesia. Anesthesia is a medicine given to patients to prevent sensations during potentially painful procedures. This could be a general anesthesia, which puts a patient into a medically-induced coma temporarily, or a local anesthesia, which will numb a specific part of a patient’s body.
CRNA’s will work closely with physicians who administer anesthesia, also known as anesthetists, during surgeries and procedures. They are responsible for working with the patient prior to surgery or a procedure, to determine whether or not they would need anesthesia. CRNA’s also work with the anesthetist in giving the medicine to the patient and then monitoring the patient’s vitals.
Each year, nurse anesthetists provide 43 million anesthetics to patients around the U.S.A.!
Ohio Valley Hospital has several CRNA’s on staff. OVH’s Chief CRNA La Jennpher Zevola is proud to work with her crew our 4th floor. “Here at Ohio Valley Hospital, we have an experienced team of caring and competent CRNA’s that work with our anesthesiologists to provide excellent anesthesia care to every patient.” Their team is part of a unit performing more than 5,000 procedures a year.
Thank you, CRNA’s, for all that you do for us! If you would like more information on our Surgical Services, please visit: https://ohiovalleyhospital.org/hospital-services/surgical-services/
“CRNA’s. We are there. Every breath. Every beat. Every second.
– LaJennepher Zevola, CRNA, MSHS
We love celebrating this most wonderful time of the year at Ohio Valley Hospital. From our festive Main Lobby Christmas tree -decked out in OVH blue and green, of course- to our lineup of holiday parties in December, spirits sure have been merry and bright in Kennedy Township. From all of us at Ohio Valley Hospital, Senior Living at The Willows, The Wound Care Center, The Pain Treatment Center, Ohio Valley Physician Services, and the Ohio Valley Hospital Schools, we wish you all a joyful holiday season!
OVH Holiday Party
Kicking off our 2017 social calendar of festivities, we held our Annual OVH Holiday Party at a new location: Heinz Field! A gorgeous sunset view from the Hyundai Club provided a picturesque background for photos in the Steelers Santa chair (everyone knows Santa cheers for the Black & Gold). With our largest turnout yet, 520 guests enjoyed a delicious dinner of chicken, beef, mixed vegetables, and fingerling potatoes, topped off by a luscious chocolate cake! Employees had the chance to win prizes in our annual raffle drawing, such as an iPad, Kate Spade handbag, gift card tree, Kitchen Aid Mixer, and fire pit. OVH’s own DJ, Stormin’ Norman, celebrated his birthday that night and got everyone out on the dance floor.
Special thanks to our Holiday Party planning team!
Another tradition at OVH is the Angel Tree outside our cafeteria. Each ornament features a community member in need of a little extra holiday magic. We worked with Focus on Renewal to provide gifts for 58 adults and children this year!
Seniority Holiday Party
Making seasons bright at Olivia’s, our Seniority group held their annual holiday soirée. Tasty chicken, pasta, and veggies followed by a delectable cake completed the meal. Members of Seniority enjoyed a magic show by the Al-mazing magician and a chance to win raffle baskets.
What is Seniority? A social group that’s open to ANYONE over the age of 50. A one-time $25 membership fee includes access to member-only perks, such as our monthly meetings, tri-annual newsletter, exercise programs, health classes, and parties like this one! Start your healthy and happy 2018 by joining us at Seniority!
Medical Staff and Department Director Holiday Party
Medical Staff members and Department Directors had the chance to relax and enjoy the season with their annual holiday fete. The intricate ice sculpture was a focal point that evening, reflecting the winter wonderland happening outside. The shimmering gold shades paired with rich, deep burgundy hues provided a fun yet traditional holiday look. Nutrition Services provided yummy dishes, some with a Pittsburgh history, including pierogies and the famous Duquesne Club Crab Hoezel, while Pittsburgh favorite Nakama served up fresh, hand-rolled sushi.
Volunteer Holiday Party
Just like Santa’s workshop can’t run without elves, OVH couldn’t do take care of our patients without our amazing volunteers. Some have given more than 12,000 hours of their time over the last several years! To say thanks for a wonderful year, our volunteers enjoyed a delicious luncheon prepared by OVH Nutrition Services. From a celebrated green jello salad to raffles including an Alex and Ani bracelet, Steelers prize pack, and gift cards, it was a fun Friday for all!
Sarris Pretzel Day
Kids wait for Santa every Christmas Eve; everyone at OVH waits for Sarris Pretzel Day toward the end of December! Sarris chocolate-covered pretzels are a holiday tradition for many Pittsburghers, including our family at OVH! Our Administration gifts each employee with a container of the delicious treat. Everyone was so excited to receive their holiday-inspired tub. We wonder how many employees still have some left?
Administration and Department Directors Breakfast
OVH leadership enjoyed a filling and scrumptious breakfast prepared by our Nutrition Services department. Everyone dined on Eggs Benedict Florentine, French toast casserole, apple smoked bacon, and a variety of juice and coffee beverages.
Sto Rox School District Card Delivery
5th and 6th grade Sto-Rox Elementary School Student Councillors know it’s better to give than to receive this holiday season! Spreading cheer through our Med Surg and MCU/ICU units, students delivered handmade holiday cards and copies of their school newspaper for patients to enjoy.
Dr. Tuchinda Farewell Party
This holiday season hasn’t been 100% jolly. We said so long and Happy Retirement to one of our primary care physicians and cardiologist, Dr. Jalit Tuchinda. He’s been serving this community for forty years. Wishing you the best in retirement, Dr. Tuchinda!
From all of us at OVH, we wish you a happy and healthy 2018!
The History Behind Thanksgiving
While there are many different theories of how that first Thanksgiving came to be, it is generally agreed upon that the first notable celebration took place in 1621, when the Wampanoag Indians and the Plymouth colonists came together for an autumn harvest feast. While there’s no exact record of what they ate that day, the tables they gathered around probably looked a lot different than the spread we have in our dining rooms today. Many historians believe the feast may have included deer meat and corn, as it was held after the Pilgrim’s first successful corn harvest. The idea of an autumn harvest feast remained a relatively local idea for more than a century, becoming popular first among Northeastern colonies and then states.
In fact, it was not until the American Revolution in the late 1700s when Congress asked President George Washington to issue a proclamation for Thanksgiving. Washington’s proclamation stated:
“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.”
This proclamation did not result in an official federal holiday, though many states began to make things more official. New York was one of the first several states in 1817 to adopt Thanksgiving as regularly scheduled holiday. Over the next several decades, various presidents would issue their own Thanksgiving proclamation, though they stopped short of turning the holiday into a dedicated nation-wide celebration.
Finally in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln gave a proclamation declaring that Thanksgiving should be held nationally on the final Thursday in November. Lincoln’s proclamation stated:
“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.”
With the exception of Franklin Delano Roosevelt during World War II, every President since has proclaimed the last Thursday in November to be the official Thanksgiving holiday.
Of course, over the centuries, Thanksgiving traditions have changed! Families tune in to see their favorite football teams going head to head in some entertaining-if not highly anticipated-games. Last year the Pittsburgh Steelers crushed the Indianapolis Colts, 28-7, earning Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell the coveted “MVP” (or Turkey Leg) Award. When it comes to food, you likely won’t find any game on the table. Many households have lavish meals for extended family members. The food typically served up includes a big turkey (or tofurkey for vegetarians!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, and multiple pies for dessert.
Another integral part of the holiday is the annual nationally-televised Thanksgiving Day parade. Many anxiously gather around their television screens to watch this much-anticipated event, hosted by the Macy’s department store in New York City since 1924. The parade features extravagant floats, performers, bands, and of course giant balloon characters.
Celebrate Thanksgiving Locally
Are you and your family looking for something fun to do over Thanksgiving weekend? Well look no further, as the City of Pittsburgh has a lot of fun events and great places to eat!
- There are a TON of Turkey Trots going on in Allegheny County on Thanksgiving itself. Check out http://www.runningintheusa.com/ to find one that is closest to you! This run/walk is a great way to stay healthy before gathering around the Thanksgiving dinner table!
- Hitting the Black Friday sales in Pittsburgh and the surrounding malls are for that shopper in all of us!
- In Downtown Pittsburgh throughout the holiday weekend, there will be plenty of activities to enjoy such as:
- Free carriage rides at PPG Place
- Free Holly Trolley Rides
- The Christmas Village in Market Square
- The Annual Gingerbread Competition and Display with the Santa Figures from Around the World http://www.ppgplace.com/events/gingerbread-house-display-competition/
Giving Back This Holiday Season
One of the most important things during the holiday season is remembering to give to those in need. Be thankful for all you have been given and help someone else. There are many ways you can help in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday ahead. Volunteering at a soup kitchen is a great way to start! Food pantries, churches, and homeless shelters can always use a helping hand during this busy season. Whenever you are grocery shopping for you holiday feast, pick up a few extra cans of food and drop it off to your nearest food bank, such as the Focus on Renewal Community Food Bank! Giving back could be as simple as inviting someone over who has nowhere to go on Thanksgiving, or visiting a retirement home, because not everyone gets to see their families during the holidays! Remember, it is the little things in life that mean the most!
OVH Is Giving Thanks
As the holidays are fast-approaching, we asked members of our Administrative team what they are thankful for and what’s important to remember about the holidays.
David W. Scott, FACHE, our President and CEO, said, “I am thankful for our employees. Their commitment and dedication to providing quality care and good customer service is what makes Ohio Valley such a special place.”
Peg Spisak, our Director of Medical Staff & Regulatory Affair said, “I am grateful for our medical staff and my fellow employees at Ohio Valley – for their loyalty, care and generosity.”
Paulette Bingham, our Vice President/CNO Patient Care, Surgical and Anesthesia Services said, “Thanksgiving is a time to practice gratitude. It helps you to be thankful for the things that you have instead of dwelling on the things that you don’t have.”
As we welcome the new class of 2019 into our School of Radiography; students who are embarking on a rigorous two-year journey, we also say “So long!” to the woman instrumental in developing and shaping the program into what it is today: School of Radiography Director, Barbara O’Connor (or as we call her, Barb).
Barb has served two tenures at the School of Radiography. She first joined Ohio Valley Hospital (OVH) in 1993 in the role then called the Director of the Radiologic Technology. With a background in teaching-Barb also worked as a professor at Penn State University and at Robert Morris University- she was a natural fit in revitalizing our program.
Mike Brunner, Director of Imaging Services at Ohio Valley Hospital worked alongside Barb for both of her OVH stints. Early on, Mike sensed what an involved school director she was. According to him, “Barb had a firm grasp on what was transpiring in the hospital with her students. She knew what was going on during clinical days over in the hospital.”
After six years, Barb decided to take her outstanding talents elsewhere; her next job phase included a few other high-profile jobs in different industries.
Barb decided to rejoin OVH in 2007. Mike was happy to have her back, believing that as a director, Barb demanded and received the utmost respect from her students-which is a special gift not all teachers have. “(Students) felt that it was a true honor to be taught by someone as special as Barb,” he said.
Her former students can testify to this. No matter the situation, Barb made sure her students would pay attention—learning something while they were at it. She would use mnemonic devices, as remembered by current OVH employee and former student Julie.
“K is for contrast and K for KVP,” is one she can still recite. Another line Barb liked to use, according to former student Morgan, was “Low; long; lots of grey.”
Barb’s passion for her job was truly infectious, and she always worked to make sure her staff and students were doing well. The new SOR Director, Lori Fazio was a former SOR student herself, and a former Clinical Instructor under Barb. She says when Barb sensed a fellow staff member or student wasn’t having a great day, she would be sure to change that. Lori noted that, “Barb always had an open door policy, no matter what.” Her students concurred, and added that “Barb made learning enjoyable,” according to current student Brooke. Fellow student Gina added that, “Barb always put her students first.”
It is because of that dedication to her students and staff that under Barb’s tutelage, the School of Radiography has excelled. That’s according to the President and CEO of Ohio Valley Hospital, David W. Scott. “Barb has been an excellent Director for the School of Radiography. The results speak for themselves — our students have always done well on their registration exams; our graduates have been recruited by healthcare facilities throughout the region. In addition, year after year, I have been impressed with the maturity and confidence that our technologists display after graduation. Barb should feel very proud of the contribution that she has made to Ohio Valley Hospital and to her profession.”
Since 2012, all of the School of Radiography’s students have found a job within one year of graduating. That’s why it’s not stretch to say Barb’s affect on the school cannot be overstated. As Lori simply states, “Barb’s legacy will last forever.” Mike added, “Few people can run a School of Radiography (SOR) program like Barb and the only people (who can) are her instructors. She is just an extension of the SOR tree.” Chief Clinical Officer Maureen Heilmann worked with Barb for many years, and added that she “will forever remain in the hearts, minds and “images” of the students she has touched over the years. That is her legacy, and a fine one at that!”
It wasn’t just the Radiography department who was able to experience working with such a special individual. Kati Campbell, OVH’s Marketing and Special Events Coordinator, put in many hours with Barb volunteering for the hospital’s major annual events. “Barb has been instrumental in our annual ‘A Toast to the Community’ wine tasting and our 5K. She not only recruits and organizes a strong volunteer base for both events; she selects the wines herself from valued Chairman’s Select brands.” Barb’s outstanding work ethic and passion didn’t go unrecognized. All of us at OVH truly appreciate all the contributions she made.
Barb will be tremendously missed here at OVH as she takes on a new life path. She has left a lasting impression that will continue on for many years. We wish her the best, and as Maureen adds, “Enjoy all that a happy retirement has in store for you!”
If you are a former student or employee who has been taught by or worked with Barb, feel free to send us your favorite memories on social media!
To check out more pictures of Barb’s time at the Hospital and the School, visit the OVH Facebook page.
Written By: Domenic Lacerenza
Two OVHSON graduates walk us through the halls of yesterday as they share memories of their time in our storied nursing program.
A Brief Overview
Ohio Valley Hospital was originally founded in the 1890s in the neighborhood of Norwood under the name McKees Rocks General Hospital. Then a private institution, McKees Rocks General Hospital was built by Dr. Samuel McCune Black, a physician who treated local railroad workers and who saw a need for medical care in the area.
In 1901, McKees Rocks General Hospital opened its doors to a School of Nursing program, initiated by Dr. Black. The school’s first graduate, Annabell McAnulty, graduated in 1904. McAnulty worked diligently throughout the three year program, and was celebrated with local news articles of her accomplishments (on display alongside her diploma at the Hospital). It wasn’t until December 31st, 1906 that McKees Rocks General Hospital was chartered as a non-profit and became Ohio Valley General Hospital.
In 1930, while still remaining a secular institution, the hospital came under new management by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. During the Sisters’ reign, which lasted until the 1970s, two young women, Rita Carty and Nancy Gilberti, became nursing students at the school.
By this time, in the 1950s, the hospital campus had moved from Norwood to Kennedy Township, taking over the farmland once owned by Dr. Heckel. Upon his death, Dr. Heckel’s sisters sold the expansive space to the Hospital board in 1949.
Rita Carty and Nancy Gilberti started on their educational path in 1955, which included working actual hospital shifts. Upon receiving their nursing diplomas in 1958, they each continued to work at OVH, during a time where they were able to see the Hospital flourish into the establishment that it is today. If you would like to read more about Rita Carty, her hallowed career accomplishments, and her education at OVH, check out her blog here.
While at the Hospital, Rita and Nancy not only obtained a good educational foundation; they made enough memories to last a lifetime. On the heels of the most recent School of Nursing graduation, we reached out to the schoolmates to see if they would share stories from their time at our school. Keep reading to hear about the history of OVH and the school as you’ve never heard before, and won’t find anywhere else!
Ohio Valley Hospital in the 50s: The Early Campus
Ohio Valley Hospital, as it currently stands, boasts a spacious, accommodating campus which encompasses either side of Heckel Road and includes a seven story main hospital building, a School building (home to our School of Nursing and School of Radiography), a two-story Medical Office Building, and The Willows Senior Living facilities.
However, as previously mentioned, during the 1950s, Ohio Valley Hospital’s campus was in its infant stages, consisting of only the original portion of the main hospital building (the north, south, and surgical wings were not built until 1963, 1979, and 2007, respectively) and the newly-laid School building, which sat adjacent to the original farmhouse practice (which stayed on the property until the early 1960s).
“Nothing is the same. You’d never recognize it,” Nancy explained. “The original barn and farmhouse were still on the property. The house had a beautiful lawn with a statue of Mary out front. Inside, there was a beautiful chapel. The nuns lived in that house…(back then), the hospital had about 160 beds, including the 20 or 30 bassinets in the nursery. We used to deliver tons of babies.”
But while much has changed, some areas have remained the same. Thinking back to her time spent in the SON program, Rita reflected, “(The hospital) is much bigger now…(During my recent visit), I was in the emergency room, and I was looking around, and about the only thing that almost looked familiar was the Gift Shop. (Back then), the Emergency Room was located (on the floor) below the Gift Shop. Whenever we were working in the Emergency Room and we’d get a break, we’d run up to the Gift Shop to grab a coke or a donut.”
After a pause she added, “I guess we always knew that the hospital owned (the land that The Willows currently sits on), but we never imagined what they would do with it.” She also never imaged that her now 105 year old mother would be housed on the same property that used to be a spacious hillside and farmland.
“(Where the Heckel road parking lot is now) used to be a duck pond. There was a big hill with a big pond and a lot of ducks. Every once in awhile, the nuns would go down, get a duck, and make duck blood soup, since a quarter of them were Polish (and that was a popular Polish recipe),” Rita stated. “(Laughing), we used to sled ride down the big hill (too). We’d get trays from the kitchen and we would ride down!”
Nancy added, “Where Robinson is located used to be a farm. There was nothing, really. Steubenville Pike was just a lonely road. The McKees Rocks Road plaza was a dump and the area used to house a lot of undermines. We would watch the puffs of smoke coming from the ground from the hospital windows.”
Ohio Valley Hospital in the 50s: The Founding Community
Before Kennedy Township and its surrounding communities flourished into the busy and populated areas that they are today, the grandparent communities were much smaller, much more rural, and housed immigrants from many different walks of life. As Rita explained, “(The community) was made up of Italians, Polish, Irish, and Slovakians. (At the time) many of the elderly could not speak English. So, early on, we were dealing with people who were frightened by what was happening in the hospital because they did not know what to expect or couldn’t speak the language.”
“If (the patients) were Polish, it was okay,” added Nancy, “(because) the nuns could speak to them. If (the patients) were Italian, we had enough nurses on-hand from McKees Rocks that could still understand Italian, if not speak a bit of it.”
As time progressed, Kennedy Township’s rural farmlands gave way to urban roads leading to and from the neighboring city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And as the landscapes changed, so, too, did the incidents at Ohio Valley Hospital.
“We used to get real heavy automobile accidents – kids getting hit by cars, farm accidents, people falling down steps,” Rita said. “A woman came in once and she was completely scalped! We were screaming for the doctors while we were clamping the bleeders. We always tell each other that we were the first nurse practitioners.”
According to Nancy, Ohio Valley Hospital even conducted brain surgery back in the day.
Further still, with Ohio Valley Hospital being the only hospital at that time between the growing metropolis of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to neighboring Steubenville, Ohio, nurses and students at OVH began to see a different array of accidents and cases come through their open doors.
“Of course we had the one cop who shot himself in the foot when he got out of the car and his gun got caught on the handle of the door,” Rita laughed as she explained. “I mean, the guy shot himself in the foot twice! You’d think that he would’ve learned the first time around.”
Life of a SON Student: 1950s Edition
In the school’s earlier years, students lived in dorm rooms now used as offices by Marketing, IT, and Accounting!
But Rita and Nancy didn’t start out their collegiate careers on campus.
“At first, we did not (live in the dorms), because (they) were not completed,” Rita said.
The two women, both residents of South Fayette, Pennsylvania, commuted together instead. Nancy then added, “Once winter came and it got cold outside, Ms. Rosetta felt that ‘it was not safe for young girls to be commuting.’ So, they put us up in the hospital. At one point, the old hospital had four floors, with the fourth floor housing bed wards and nursing labs. We stayed in one of those rooms. We all shared one bathroom for a week that had only two toilets and a sink, so we couldn’t shower – we had to sponge bathe.”
Once the School of Nursing building was completed, Rita, Nancy, and their fellow classmates were able to transfer over from hospital room to dorm room. Each dorm came standard with a bed, a desk, a chair, a desk chair, a wall sink, and a cupboard. While most girls had their own room, a few had to bunk with a roommate. To Rita and Nancy’s immense relief, each floor of the SON building had an accessible bathroom with five to six stalls and a tub/shower for the women to share.
When asked how her dorm experience was, Rita smirked, “We had lots and lots of fun in the dorm…We were the freshmen class in the dorm with fellow junior and senior class students.” She paused before quickly adding, “Of course the nuns lived (in the dorms), also. They would do ‘bed check’ (at night) to make sure we had our lights out on time.”
Rita then shared with us a story that she can recall clearly to this day:
“I was in a corner room (in the dorms) and there was a mirror on the wall…Sister Imelda used to come up and check all the time. (She) would sneak in and hold her rosary beads, and I’d see her when she came through the door – I could see the bottom of her dress and her shoes – so I would flash my lights and everyone knew to jump into bed because Sister Imelda was on the prowl!”
“Everyone used to be afraid of Sister Imelda because she was really tough,” Nancy laughed, “but eventually we learned that she wasn’t as scary as we all thought she was!”
Life as a student in the SON program during the 1950s was not like it is today. As Rita and Nancy explained, the program back then was 36 months long, and each student got a total of 3 months off during the duration of their education.
“Our classes used to be divided by what we called ‘The Systems.’ Staffed doctors would come in and teach us in their area of expertise, and then our instructors would come in and teach us the nursing side of it,” Nancy explained. “In those days, when you learned about dietary, the Hospital’s dietician taught us. We worked in the dietary department for 3 months and we had to make the menus, cook the food, and then serve the food to the patients!”
Clinical rotations, as they are referred to today, were present in the 1950s, although they were called something different then. Nancy stated, “When we were older, we were often sent out on Affiliations. For example, when we were being taught pediatrics, we were sent to Children’s Hospital downtown and we lived in the Oakland dorms. For psychiatry, we were sent to Mayview State Hospital (which is no longer in operation), to work with the mentally ill patients. Each Affiliation lasted for 3 months and we actually lived and worked (on site).”
Further still, a SON student’s life was different in the 1950s from how it is today, down to the very clothes one was required to wear. “We wore dress uniforms and, in those days, you had to wear stockings and have polished shoes. So, every night, we had to wash our stockings, hang them over the towel rack to dry, and polish our shoes…we also had button studs on our uniforms that we had to take off, by hand, before washing. Luckily, the hospital washed our uniforms for us, and each one had our names embroidered on them so we could distribute them amongst ourselves accordingly the next morning.”
As if the maintenance of the stockings and shoes weren’t enough, Nancy added, “We (also) had to wear girdles under our uniforms with a garter belt.”
Very different from the standard scrubs that nurses wear today!
Nancy went on, “Of course we had to wear a hairnet to work, too. And for the first six months of your education, you did not have a cap. You didn’t get a cap until your capping ceremony, which was a big thing back then. (Once you got your cap), you never took it off unless you worked in the operating or delivery room. If Ms. Rosetta found you without your cap, you’d be in trouble!”
Both Rita and Nancy still have their graduation pins and caps, which they cherish.
Memories of a Lifetime
Ohio Valley Hospital’s SON program has been an enormous stepping stone for many graduates over the years. The R.N. diploma earned at the school allows you to achieve success in your nursing career now, as it did then. “When you graduated from OVH, you could go to any hospital in the city and they’d hire you,” Nancy told us. “(Back then), a lot of us stayed (at the first hospital where we were hired). We spent our whole careers there.”
To this day, both Rita and Nancy say that their time at OVH was a special one. “It was interesting. It was fun. I wouldn’t give my training up for anything,” Nancy said happily. Rita echoed Nancy, “We had a really good foundation here.”
Rita, Nancy, and a handful of their classmates still stay in touch, and those lasting friendships are something both women celebrate and hold dear to their hearts.“(There are) thirteen of (my class) that still get together every year. We do a reunion at one of (my classmate’s) houses up at Lake Tomahawk the first weekend after Labor Day in September. We have a really good time,” Rita smiled.
During reunion times, Nancy always asks her friends: “Do you really feel as old as we are?” And she said their friends laugh and shake their heads, because when they get together, they feel as though they are teenagers again, walking the halls of Ohio Valley Hospital once more.
-Written by Alyx Evans