Shelby native to focus on empowering staff, connecting with community
FREMONT, Mich., July 2, 2020 – Nick Strait’s first day as chief nursing officer at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial on Monday, June 29, was a flurry of meetings – some in-person, most virtually – with his new colleagues, absorbing new information and learning about operations.
Mostly, Strait spent his day thinking about ways to help further personalize and simplify patient care. As chief nursing officer, Strait oversees Gerber Memorial’s nursing staff of more than 170 people, one-quarter of all employees at the 102-year old hospital. As CNO, Strait is also a member of Gerber Memorial’s senior executive leadership.
“I had the pleasure of meeting many people, learning about Gerber Memorial and seeing all the great things we do here to better serve our community,” Strait said. “What was clear to me immediately is how inter-connected Gerber Memorial is to the community and how focused we are ensuring patients get the care they need when they need it. We’re striving to achieve this every day, 24/7, knowing that healthcare is a complex field and that most people want their health care to be simpler – all while a global pandemic continues to put many people at risk. Gerber Memorial can make a tremendous positive impact by walking together with our community through this unprecedented time and supporting families so they can be healthier and more resilient.”
Strait said his goal as Gerber Memorial’s chief nursing officer is to build relationships based on trust with each person at Gerber Memorial. A related goal he’s set for himself is cultivating an environment where caring nurses and health professionals feel supported to grow.
“We’re excited to have Nick join us at Gerber Memorial and share his passion for health care with our team so we can better serve our community,” said Shelly Johnson, Gerber Memorial’s interim regional market leader and COO. “As a leader, Nick has the technical expertise to guide operational planning and execution. At the same time, he also has the ability of a good leader to connect and empathize with the people he works with so the entire team can grow and excel.”
Before coming to Gerber Memorial, Strait was director of clinical consolidation and EPIC activation champion at Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon. He has been a registered nurse since 2004. He received his bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Detroit Mercy, his master’s in nursing from the University of Phoenix and is in the process of receiving his PhD from the University of Michigan. He also has an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Strait is a member of several organizations, including the American Nurses Association, the Muskegon Community College Foundation board and the United Way of the Lakeshore.
Strait grew up in nearby Shelby, and said he is drawn to rural communities. He still has relatives and friends who live in Newaygo County. Strait follows in his mother’s footsteps in a profession he loves, nursing. He is also one half of a health care household: His wife Sara is a nurse practitioner in the Muskegon area, where they live with their four children.
Gerber Memorial nurse recognized for inspiring student to commit to a career in nursing, caring for others
FREMONT, Mich., July 2, 2020 – Great nurses demonstrate their healing skills and compassion to patients and families every day. Some of them also inspire others to follow in their footsteps and commit to a life of service to and empathy for the patients in their care.
For West Shore Community College nursing student Grace Alvesteffer, those two qualities combined inspired her enough to nominate Tessa Grewe, RN, and her mentor at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s Emergency Department, for a DAISY Award recognizing exceptional nursing care.
“Even if I was unsure of myself, Tessa guided me through it and gave me the confidence that I needed,” Alvesteffer wrote in her nomination. “Tessa has inspired me to go into the Emergency Department with her fantastic bedside manner and caring to help me learn. I will be a better registered nurse someday because of Tessa’s willingness to teach me and let me experience new skills. I am forever grateful for Tessa’s teaching and kindness. She is a prime example of what a great nurse should be.”
A resident of Kent City, Grewe has been a registered nurse at Gerber Memorial since 2016.
“Grace has so much caring, empathy and ability, and I’m confident she’ll be a terrific registered nurse who will provide exceptional care and compassion for her patients, their families and the community,” Grewe said. “As a nurse, I try every day to see each patient, know them and understand as best I can what we can do to make sure the care we provide to them is personalized and tailored for their needs. I’m honored and humbled that Grace is taking that example with her as she continues in her journey in nursing.”
As a DAISY Award honoree, Grewe received a certificate commending her for being an “Extraordinary Nurse.” The certificate reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people.” The honoree also receives a beautiful sculpture called A Healer’s Touch, hand-carved from serpentine stone by artists of the Shona tribe in southern Africa.
Nurses may be nominated by patients, families and colleagues, and they are chosen by a committee of nurses at Gerber Memorial to receive the award.
Part of a national program, the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is part of the DAISY Foundation's program to recognize the super-human efforts nurses perform every day.
Nomination forms are available at nursing stations throughout the hospital and patients can submit those forms either by placing them in gray boxes near those forms or by handing them to a nurse or other hospital staff. Nominating forms will also be available at the hospital’s main lobby, as well as included in admission packets.
The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, Calif., and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died at the age of 33 in 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. The care Barnes and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.
For more information about The DAISY Award and the Foundation’s other recognition of nurses, faculty and students, visit www.DAISYfoundation.org.
Patients, visitors, nurses, physicians, and associates are encouraged to nominate a deserving nurse by filling out the nomination form at reception located at the main hospital entrance. Completed forms can be dropped off or emailed to email@example.com.
Health Dept Hosts virtual town hall on Monday
June 26, 2020 – District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) will be hosting a Virtual Town Hall on Monday, June 29 at 2:00 PM with Oceana and Newaygo County residents to discuss the increased number of COVID-19 cases in their communities.
DHD#10 would like individuals to email questions ahead of time, if possible, to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can be sure to answer them. There will also be a question and answer period at the end of the meeting.
The meeting will be hosted through Microsoft Teams and is limited to 250 callers; however, an unlimited number of individuals can join via your computer or through the Microsoft Teams App. This meeting will be recorded and posted to www.dhd10.org/coronavirus.
Login or call-in information is below:
To join via computer or Teams App, click this link: Join Microsoft Teams Meeting or go to: https://bit.ly/383M3K9
To call in, dial this number: +1 616-426-9797 United States, Grand Rapids (Toll)
Then enter this Conference ID: 281 435 947#
Tools for School 2020’s Application Deadline Approaching
The deadline to turn applications in to TrueNorth Community Services for the Tools for School 2020 program is quickly approaching: July 22.
Tools for School provides students from qualifying low-income families with new backpacks filled with essential school supplies. The program is for kindergarten through 12th grade students living or attending school in Newaygo County for the 2020-2021 school year.
“We’re not exactly sure what going back to school is going to look like in the fall but we know students will still need supplies, and we want to make sure all students get to start the school year off on a level playing field,” said Mike Voyt, Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator for TrueNorth.
The 17th annual Tools for School Expo is scheduled for Tuesday, August 4, at the TrueNorth Service Center, 6308 South Warner Avenue (M-82) in Fremont. Families will be notified via mail regarding their application status and pick-up times.
The program’s sponsors are ChoiceOne Bank, The Gerber Foundation, and the Fremont Area Community Foundation.
Tools for School applications can be filled out online at:
https://www.truenorthservices.org/Assistance/Childrens-Services/Tools-for School; and are also available at the TrueNorth Service Center in Fremont.
For more information, contact Voyt at email@example.com or (231) 924-0641, ext. 119.
Top questions about state park campgrounds, opening Monday
Earlier this month, the Department of Natural Resources announced that camping, overnight lodging facilities and day-use shelters in Michigan state parks and recreation areas will reopen Monday, June 22. Since then, DNR parks and recreation staff have reported some repeated questions from customers. Here’s a look at the top three questions (and answers).
Do I need to have the Recreation Passport?
Starting Monday, June 22, yes. The required Recreation Passport – normally needed for vehicle entry to state parks, state forest campgrounds and state-managed boating access sites – had been suspended the past three months in order to minimize face-to-face interactions and the exchange of money between visitors and staff – precautions aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
Residents can purchase the passport when renewing license plates through the Secretary of State (for $12) or when visiting a state park (for $17). Out-of-state visitors can purchase the passport online or at state parks for $34 (annual pass) or $9 (daily pass).
Are bathroom buildings and other park amenities open?
At most locations, yes. Many state park amenities initially were closed due to COVID-19 public health and safety concerns, but now have reopened or are in process of reopening by June 22. Such amenities include bathroom buildings, hand-washing stations, sanitation stations, trash services, concessions, playgrounds, viewing platforms, fishing piers, sports areas, designated dog areas, picnic tables and shelters. Drinking fountains will remain closed until further notice.
Certain amenities at a handful of locations remain closed due to delayed construction projects. For information about a certain park, call that park’s main number or visit its Facebook page (where available). More information is available on the DNR’s COVID-19 response page.
Additionally, the DNR has developed new operational and sanitation procedures to ensure the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff. Some procedures – like checking in visitors, processing transactions and cleaning facilities – will look a little different and may vary by location. For example, visitors are encouraged to pay by debit or credit card to decrease the exchange of money.
Can I change my camping and overnight reservations?
Yes. Modifications to camping, overnight lodging facilities and day-use shelter reservations can be made by contacting the reservation center online at MiDNRReservations.com or calling 800-447-2757 (800-44-PARKS). Please note that the modification and cancellation policy can be found online. The DNR also has waived reduced-stay fees (percentage penalty) through Oct. 31, 2020.
There are still opportunities to book a stay in nearly all DNR facilities this summer and into fall. Reservations for campsites and harbor slips can be made up to six months in advance of a planned arrival date, or 12 months in advance for overnight lodging facilities and day-use shelters.
Finally, all visitors are reminded that everyone still needs to do their part to protect themselves and others while enjoying the outdoors. Practice proper social distancing when around people who are not part of your household, and wear a face covering when in an enclosed indoor space.
Local salons and barber shops reopen at last
A lot of adjustments and sacrifices have been made during the COVID-19 pandemic. People were asked to stay at home except for necessary ventures out, it dropped an economic bomb on businesses, forced cancellations of schools, festivals, concerts, and sporting events, diminished wedding plans, crushed countless gatherings and (horror of horrors) created panic buying of toilet paper.
The fallout has been significant and as restrictions began to be eased up a bit folks were able to slowly crawl to a return to some semblance of normality. Outdoor businesses resumed, then later retail was able to open and last week restaurants evolved from take out to limited in-house service.
But one hairy issue remained for the citizenry.
Salons and barber shops remained closed and one needed only to give a glance around at the populace to perceive the difference.
Some tried a home trim with what one would politely call 'mixed results'. Those who, uh, ‘modify’ their hair color suddenly looked as two toned as a pair of saddle shoes or even worse sporting a whole new shade (orange?) as the result of an attempt gone awry.
But Monday this all came to an end as customers poured into salons across the county to avail themselves of styling, manicures, pedicures, facials, trims, coloring, weaving, texturing, perms and any other of the many services provided by our local professionals.
Of course like so many other parts of our lives this also means there are adjustments.
Rose Contreras from Escape Salon in Newaygo will open her doors on Tuesday (June 16th) possibly due to her tendency toward not following the crowd and blazing her own path, but more likely because she has always been closed on Mondays.
Either way Rose, who has the ability to make my dwindling mane to look manageable, will be doing business a bit differently after reopening by instituting some cautionary measures recommended by those who set guidelines for such things.
Walk-ins will not initially be part of the Escape routine, bringing guests along to your appointment is ill advised unless they too are going to have work done, and Rose has recently completed a course in Barbicide COVID-19 Certification (who knew there was such a thing?).
“Although I sanitized frequently previous to the coronavirus I will now be sanitizing tools, shampoo bowls, shampoo chairs, styling station and chairs, waiting room chairs, kiosks, door handles and myself :) in between every client,” she reports.
And she asks that her clientele be punctual since the above measures are certain to create a bit of a time crunch. I admit being a bit unsure if this was directed at me since there is a personal tendency toward being flexible with the whole time thing.
So, if you’re already a Rose Regular it’s likely your appointment has been etched in the books but if not you can give her a call at 231-414-1462 and she will work you in when she can.
And while not everyone can pull off the new PPE look with the level of distinction shown in the above photo, Rose certainly wears it well.
She told us she even has lipstick on underneath the mask.
Ken DeLaat, N3
“My hair had grown out long and shaggy—not in that sexy-young-rock-star kind of way but in that time-to-take-Rover-to-the-groomer kind of way.”- Jim Butcher, White Knight
Conservation Efforts to Protect Endangered Species
The Michigan Nature Association (MNA) will host a live webinar on June 24th for anyone interested in the conservation efforts for the Karner blue butterfly that are happening in Newaygo County. We will also talk about the MNA nature sanctuaries in the Newaygo area and how you can volunteer to help with their protection.
The Karner blue butterfly is one of Michigan’s rarest butterflies and is listed as endangered by the federal Endangered Species Act. It requires dry-sand prairie and oak-barren habitats found in the Newaygo area that can support wild lupine, a native wildflower. The larvae or caterpillar stage of the Karner blue butterfly feeds exclusively on wild lupine.
“The webinar is a great opportunity to learn about some very special places in Newaygo County and the Karner blue butterfly without leaving home,” said Diana Digges, the webinar organizer and a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member serving MNA.
MNA will be hosting the hour long webinar online via Zoom on Wednesday, June 24th at 7pm.
If you are interested in attending or have any questions, please email MNA’s AmeriCorps member, Diana Digges at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will provide you with the information needed to log onto the webinar. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so register soon!
Tamarac now offers outdoor fitness activities, curbside Café service
FREMONT, Mich., June 10, 2020 – Tamarac, the center for Health and Well-being, is now offering outdoor fitness classes and activities, as well as food and beverages from its Café for pickup.
On June 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer eased some restrictions on wellness and fitness centers. Tamarac members can now exercise and be active outdoors, in gatherings of less than 100 people, for classes ranging from Zumba and cycling to yoga and more. The classes are Mondays-Fridays, starting as early as 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The classes will ensure six-feet social distancing between all participants and instructors.
“On behalf of all of us here at Tamarac, we are excited to welcome back all our members,” said Tamarac manager Amanda Irwin. “All of us miss our members, serving them and helping them achieve their wellness goals. We’ve been social distancing for months and in that time, we’ve been focusing on ways we can help you stay fit, healthy and well-nourished, while also safe.”
These activities are weather dependent and will be cancelled due to rain or excessive heat. For a full schedule of these outdoor classes or weather-related updates, please see Tamarac’s Facebook group, or call 231.924.1600. The sessions will be held in Tamarac’s backlot, patio, garden and other outside locations.
Tamarac’s website is www.tamaracwellness.org and its Facebook group is www.facebook.com/groups/TamaracWellness
Though Tamarac’s indoor facilities are not open yet, the Café is starting curbside service. View the Café’s updated menu on Tamarac’s website, under the “membership/Café” tab. Call 231.924.1601 to place orders between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Special prices are being offered for Tamarac’s outdoor classes, and unused portions of packages can be used for indoor classes when Tamarac fully reopens:
“As part of Spectrum Health, Tamarac offers a team of medical and health professionals to support us and provide information that can help us reopen with safety in mind,” Irwin said. “We are guided by a wealth of expert medical knowledge as well as information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Michigan, Newaygo County and the Medical Fitness Association.”
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial and Tamarac have been implementing extra cleaning and sanitizing.
At Tamarac, each trainer and instructor are trained in proper protocols for disinfecting and sanitizing equipment. Tamarac’s cleanliness and sanitizing measures include:
Sanitizing wipes will be available at each outdoor area to conveniently wipe down equipment after use, and each station will also include hand sanitizers for personal use.
Members will be able to sign up for classes through Tamarac’s online membership software, Empower M.E. Members can change account information and billing, sign up for classes and pay for services.
Because Tamarac’s facility remains closed, membership payments will not start. Tamarac is finalizing a plan for its full reopening and will provide details at a later date.
Spectrum Health shares expertise from infection prevention and occupational health to help businesses adapt to a new work environment
Grand Rapids, Mich., June 8, 2020 – Spectrum Health is offering guidance to West and Southwest Michigan businesses as they adapt to operating in a new environment with the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to equip employers and employees with advice on infection prevention and practical resources to help increase safety and minimize risk.
“As a health care organization and dedicated community partner, we strive to educate those we serve about health and wellness,” said Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO, Spectrum Health. “Now more than ever, businesses are seeking guidance on best practices that support a healthy workplace as we navigate this new landscape. We are pleased to provide this toolkit leveraging our infection prevention expertise to benefit our community."
“Many businesses are facing unprecedented challenges from financial loss to securing cleaning supplies to a work force reluctant to come back due to safety concerns,” said Keith Hustak, vice president, Urgent Care, Occupational and Virtual Health. “We are here to help and support employers and employees by sharing our expertise with easy-to-use health and safety resources.”
The toolkit consists of the following resources:
Employer Guide – A foundational primer to help businesses no matter where they are in the process, whether it is navigating reopening to the community, welcoming employees back
on-site or adapting to a new environment. The guide includes expert tips, best practices, checklists and ready-to-use signage and more. Request your free copy to download: https://www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19/employer-resources
Webpage – A dedicated employer resources webpage has been created that is a ‘one stop’ for resource for FAQs, downloadable templates and industry resources. Link to https://www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19/employer-resources for the latest updates, materials and services.
COVID-19 Symptom Checker – A free mobile site designed to help employees routinely check for symptoms before they come to work. The tool works optimally on a mobile device, available at: https://covid19symptomchecker.spectrumhealth.org
Employer Hotline – Call 616.486.1075 for help with all COVID-19 related questions including what to do if someone tests positive, contact tracing, personal protection equipment, infection prevention or other situations. The Employer Hotline is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Gerber Memorial kicks off new health and wellness coaching program
FREMONT, Mich., June 4, 2020 – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is now offering a new health and wellness coaching program with a certified health professional to help people improve their overall health and wellbeing through changes in mindset and behaviors.
“The goal of health and wellness coaching is to help people develop sustainable healthy lifestyles so they can foster overall wellbeing,” said J.J. Schafer, Gerber Memorial fitness coordinator and a Wellcoach certified health and wellness coach. “The coach partners with the client to step through mental and physical barriers, for lasting change. During our time spent together, I can help the individual set attainable goals that align with their values. As we all experience significant changes in our world today, reconnecting with our vision of staying healthy and well is more critical than ever. Our health and wellness coaching program is part of our effort at Gerber Memorial to care for the whole person.”
To sign up for a session, call Schafer at 231.924.1894 or email
An individual 60-minute session is $40; a 30-minute session is $25. The Overall Well-being package program is also available for $150. The 6-week package includes a 60-minute kick start session with five 30-minute sessions during the next five weeks. Sessions can be performed in person, as well as remotely, via live teleconference and over the phone.
Schafer will help participants of the program identify their priorities and develop a personalized wellness plan that includes three-month goals, a vision and next steps. This process is expected to take 60 minutes. Subsequent 30-minute coaching sessions are for reviewing vision and goals, and exploring and resolving progress and obstacles.
To obtain the nationally accredited Wellcoach certification, Schafer sat for several exams and multiple individual mentoring sessions after completing a rigorous four-and-a-half-month training program. The certification is open to individuals with an associate’s degree or higher in a health-related field from an accredited institute of higher education, a fitness certification and other professional certifications or clinical licenses. It is also the first step to be eligible to earn the designation of “National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach,” one of the only certification programs that meets the requirements.
“Health and wellness coaching can benefit everyone, and is especially helpful for those who want accountability for creating and maintaining behavior change physically, emotionally, mentally and socially,” Schafer said. “I chose to pursue this certification because I’m passionate about health and wellness and our coaching program will help individuals reach their fullest health potential beyond eating the perfect diet and exercising.”