Geneva schuler 5
Employee Spotlight

Geneva Schueler, RN

Geneva is a nurse on Ivinson's med/surg floor and does discharge and transitional care planning.

When COVID-19 began sweep­ing through hos­pi­tals across the coun­try, Gene­va Schuel­er, a reg­is­tered nurse on Ivinson’s medical/​surgical unit, was brought back in time.

I worked at Land­sthuhl Region­al Med­ical Cen­ter, an Army hos­pi­tal in Ger­many. I worked dur­ing Desert Storm. It kind of remind­ed me of work­ing COVID and hav­ing a full house,” Gene­va said. We lit­er­al­ly cleaned house. We sent every­body out and made room for the sol­diers that were com­ing in. So I kind of get that mind­set out on the floor, we’ve got all these patients and we have more patients coming.”

Despite the sim­i­lar­i­ties, noth­ing could have pre­pared her or her team for the rapid­ly evolv­ing pan­dem­ic that coro­n­avirus brought. 

It’s dif­fer­ent,” Gene­va said. But you get the same mind­set. You pri­or­i­tize, you triage, you know that you are going to treat the sick­est and you are going to get more.”

Gene­va has been part of the Ivin­son team for the last 18 years. She is cur­rent­ly one of five nurs­es that plays a role in dis­charge plan­ning and tran­si­tion­al care at Ivinson. 

We come up with a dis­charge plan for folks for that tran­si­tion for when they are going home,” she explained. Some peo­ple need home health care, they may need to go to an acute rehab unit for more intense ther­a­py, or maybe long term care to get a longer stretch of ther­a­py before they are able to go home. Some­times, they can’t go home. That’s the hard­est thing we have to do, is tell a patient that they are not going to be able to go home. But we always work with the patient to come up with some­thing that is going to work for them.”

Ivinson’s tran­si­tion­al care pro­gram came to life a few years ago when a fed­er­al grant allowed for addi­tion­al train­ing for nurs­es to address hos­pi­tal read­mit­tance rates. The pro­gram focus­es on edu­cat­ing patients upon dis­charge about their med­ical diag­no­sis, med­ica­tions and treatments. 

We do teach­ing with the groups of peo­ple who were more like­ly to be read­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal. You know what diag­no­sis are more like­ly to bring patients back and so we focused on those patients to give them the tools they need­ed to take care of them­selves at home.”

Before she was a vet­er­an nurse at Ivin­son, Gene­va came to know the health­care sys­tem through her var­i­ous roles and vol­un­teer oppor­tu­ni­ties. Start­ing off as a nurs­ing assis­tant, Gene­va worked her way to an LPN and even­tu­al­ly her RN. She worked at a nurs­ing home, she vol­un­teered at a hos­pice and taught class­es at a red cross. 

I worked at a small rur­al hos­pi­tal where you do every­thing,” Gene­va said of her time in Ida­ho at a small 25-bed hos­pi­tal. I remem­ber one night we had a code and it wasn’t a very nice code, but by the next morn­ing we were deliv­er­ing a baby. One nurse doing all of that, that was pret­ty exciting.”

Curi­ous to see what hap­pens after patients leave the hos­pi­tal, Gene­va got into home healthcare. 

I nev­er got that fol­low up, I nev­er knew if they were suc­cess­ful at home. So I want­ed that expe­ri­ence, so I did home healthcare.”

After learn­ing to trav­el light for so many years, Gene­va found her­self where she would even­tu­al­ly call home. 

There is an old say­ing, home is where the Air Force sends you,” Gene­va joked. Her hus­band was a mil­i­tary man and she cred­its their lifestyle for get­ting her into nurs­ing in the first place. When her hus­band came to Laramie to fin­ish school, Gene­va even­tu­al­ly made the move, too and was imme­di­ate­ly hired on at Ivinson. 

I real­ly like it here. I like com­ing to work,” Gene­va said. It’s a chal­lenge every day. You think it would be the same thing after 18 years but we have so many new peo­ple here, we’re always chang­ing things up and try­ing to stay cur­rent. We may be a small rur­al hos­pi­tal but we real­ly are right on the cutting-edge.”

In the last nine months, Gene­va and her team­mates on the medical/​surgical floor have tak­en their inno­va­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty to new heights in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The team­work spans beyond the med/​surg floor, since COVID hit, Gene­va has had end­less thanks for Ivinson’s engi­neer­ing, dietary and envi­ron­men­tal ser­vices departments. 

You cer­tain­ly have a new appre­ci­a­tion for peo­ple and their roles,” Gene­va said of the work­load being shared by every­one. On top of many staff mem­bers tak­ing on extra shifts, depart­ments are work­ing togeth­er more than ever to ensure patients are receiv­ing world-class care.

We real­ly pride our­selves as a team,” Gene­va said. We have good team mem­bers, a lot of sup­port from man­age­ment and we try to stay flexible.” 

While the shifts may be long and the cen­sus may be high, Gene­va is remind­ed of why she loves Laramie and chose to call it home.

It’s the com­mu­ni­ty,” she said. Com­mu­ni­ty sup­port has meant a lot to us. From inspi­ra­tional cards, let­ters and side­walk chalk mes­sages to lunch­es and treats. The kind­ness and thought­ful­ness is espe­cial­ly appre­ci­at­ed on the busy days when we strug­gle with a high cen­sus and sick­er patients. We all thank our com­mu­ni­ty for their kind hearts and con­tin­ued prayers.”

When she’s not work­ing the floor, Gene­va enjoys get­ting into the beau­ti­ful Wyoming wilder­ness. With her two black labs, she enjoys explor­ing new trails. In the sum­mer, she and her hus­band have found ways to incor­po­rate more play” into his work sched­ule and often make camp­ing trips of his trav­el through­out the state, plot­ting new hik­ing and kayak­ing destinations. 

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