Browse Category: Wellness


PCRMC Certified Nurse Midwives Celebrate Accomplishments

Phelps County Regional Medical Center’s (PCRMC) midwifery program offers care for women throughout every stage of life. PCRMC Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) Heather Wildebrandt and Karen Ulrich are proud to celebrate their two-year anniversary. One of the most notable accomplishments Wildebrandt and Ulrich would like to recognize is expanding birthing options within the community.

PCRMC’s midwifery program officially launched in February 2016 and has helped families welcome more than 200 babies. Some families have even welcomed or will soon welcome a second child through the program.

Midwifery-led care throughout pregnancy and birth differs slightly from traditional, physician-led care. Certified nurse midwives are educators who join with patients and their families to work toward mutually identified goals. Midwifery care involves high touch, low intervention, continual education and constant support.

Wildebrandt and Ulrich feel that they have been well accepted into the local birthing community and feel supported by their OB/GYN physician colleagues. “We have an excellent collegial relationship,” Wildebrandt says. “As the program continues to mature, we hope to further develop those relationships and bridge the gap between physician-led and midwifery-led prenatal care to provide a seamless patient experience.”

Both Wildebrandt and Ulrich are proud of the impact their services have had; some of the added services include provider bedside support, massage and aromatherapy during labor.

Wildebrandt and Ulrich are eagerly anticipating additional changes in the near future that will continue to support uninterrupted birth, such as the addition of prenatal exercise classes and the ability to listen for intermittent fetal heart rate during labor. By continuing to support uninterrupted birth, Wildebrandt and Ulrich expect to continue positively influencing the local birth outcomes.

“We enjoy working with families to achieve the birth experience they hope for,” Ulrich says.

“When patients are proud of themselves and their birth experience, I know I’ve had a part in that and that’s when I am the proudest,” Wildebrandt says.

For more information about midwifery or the PCRMC Women’s Health Center and Maternity Services, please call (573) 426-2229 (BABY) or visit


PCRMC’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program Benefits Patients in Many Ways

Jodie Donati, a lifelong resident of the St. James/Rosati area, has lived the vast majority of her life without any heart or lung problems. With the exception of an incident when she experienced shortness of breath early last year, Donati, now 88 years old, has led a healthy life.

However, that changed in June of 2017, when she started having symptoms of what she thought was simply indigestion. When her left arm began hurting, Donati’s daughter rushed her to the Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Emergency Department.

It turns out Donati was diagnosed with coronary artery disease (CAD), which occurs when plaque builds up in the heart’s arteries. When this happens, the plaque narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart muscle.

“I had three arteries that were blocked, but I didn’t feel anything until the fourth was blocked,” Donati recalled.

PCRMC Cardiologist Timothy Martin, MD, FACC, CCDS, cared for Donati during her hospital stay. She received her preliminary care at PCRMC, but surgery to remove the plaque in her arteries took place in Springfield. To help clear the blockage, Donati had a small expandable tube known as a stent placed into the blocked arteries.

After her surgery, in the fall of 2017, Donati began rehabilitation with PCRMC’s Cardiac and Pulmonary (Cardiopulmonary) Rehabilitation program. Through this service, patients who have had heart or lung problems receive a combination of supervised exercise and education.

An individualized plan is created for each patient to help recondition his or her heart and lungs, regain strength, prevent the condition from worsening, reduce the risk of future heart or lung issues and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Located on the first floor of the PCRMC Medical Office Building, the PCRMC Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation gymnasium offers exercise equipment for patients to improve their heart and lung capacity.

Donati tries to exercise at PCRMC about twice a week, usually about 15 minutes on one of the gym’s treadmills. She also performs arm exercises and sometimes uses the stationary bicycle to help build up her strength.

“This is exercise I wouldn’t do at home,” Donati said. “This is the best thing I’ve done for myself.”

After her surgery, there was a time when Donati was walking with a cane, but she no longer has to use one.

PCRMC’s Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation care team consists of highly trained and skilled professionals who work with patients to monitor their exercise. “They caution you not to do too much for too long and watch to make sure you don’t overdo it,” Donati said.

Donati said she enjoys working with PCRMC respiratory therapist Helen Thomure as well as Becky White and Melanie Stulce, both RNs with the PCRMC Cardiac Rehabilitation unit.

Another aspect that Donati enjoys is the social atmosphere of the gym. “You get to meet people and talk to them while you’re exercising,” she said.

In addition to exercise, Donati has learned how to keep her heart and lungs healthy. “We had a dietitian come in and we got to ask questions, which was nice,” she said.

In addition to nutritional counseling, PCRMC’s Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation program also offers tips for stress management, smoking cessation and other lifestyle changes designed to prevent or reverse the development of cardiac and pulmonary diseases.

“I would definitely recommend this to other people who have had heart or lung problems,” Donati said.

Patients with certain heart and lung issues, such as those who have suffered heart attacks or have congestive heart failure, persistent asthma or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can qualify for the services provided by PCRMC’s Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation program. Most private insurance companies provide coverage for these rehabilitation services, too.

For more information about PCRMC’s Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation services, please call 573-458-3110.


Waynesville Students Learn About Oncology at DDCI

Physicians, nurses and staff from the PCRMC Delbert Day Cancer Institute (DDCI) hosted 14 students interested in pursuing careers in the healthcare field on Tuesday, December 19th.

The students are enrolled in the Career Embedded Medical Studies class at Waynesville High School. Along with their teacher, Megan Callis, the students got a firsthand look at the types of careers required in an oncology setting.

The students received a tour of the DDCI and listened to presentations from DDCI physicians, nurses and staff. All presenters explained their job functions, the educational requirements, specific oncology training and the professional outlook, or future demand, for their jobs.

“The goal of the visit was to help local students understand there are many career paths available in healthcare and each of these fields are important in the care of our patients,” said DDCI Director Jeremy Stinson.

DDCI Medical Director and Radiation Oncologist Christopher Spencer, MD, echoed Stinson’s sentiments. “All the people who work here are important, from the physicians, to the nurses to the staff,” he said. “We approach everything as a team effort, because we know that each member of our staff makes a huge impact on our patients’ lives.”


PCRMC Begins Offering Robotic-Assisted Surgeries


This fall, surgeons at Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) began using da Vinci robotics to assist with certain surgeries. In November, Dana Voight, MD, general surgeon at PCRMC, successfully performed three surgeries using the da Vinci Si surgical system.

This system is a new tool at PCRMC that utilizes advanced robotic, computer and optical technologies to assist surgeons with their operations. The technology does not act on its own, and the robotic system’s movements are controlled by surgeons, said Shawn Hodges, administrative director of ancillary services at PCRMC.

“We’ve started with common surgeries, such as gallbladders and hernias,” said Dr. Voight, who was the first surgeon at PCRMC to use robotics in a surgery. However, other physicians and surgeons are starting to use the technology, too. By February or March of 2018, robotic-assisted surgeries are expected to be available in the following PCRMC service lines: general surgery, urology and obstetrics/gynecology.

“General surgery is experiencing a shift to advanced minimally invasive techniques utilizing robotic technology,” said Jennifer Bechtel, director of surgical services at PCRMC. “Robotic surgery is the current standard of care in performing surgical prostate cancer treatments, and much of the gynecological surgical platform and urological procedures are also being performed via robotics.”

PCRMC surgeons have been performing laparoscopic surgeries, which are minimally invasive, for many years. Laparoscopy involves using several small incisions (also known as ports) to perform a surgical procedure rather than making a large incision.

Robotic surgery is a laparoscopic procedure, only with an added layer of technology. “Robotics augments what we already do,” Dr. Voight said.

One of the features of the da Vinci Si surgical system is its high-definition 3D vision capability. This allows the surgeon access to special instruments and computer software to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.

According to information from Intuitive Surgical, maker of the da Vinci robotics system, “the 3D-HD image is highly magnified, so your surgeon has a close-up view of the area he or she is operating on.”

Unlike laparoscopic surgeries, the da Vinci instruments have mechanical wrists that bend and rotate to mimic the movements of the human wrist. This lets surgeons make small, precise movements inside patients’ bodies.

“It’s like having an articulating wrist inside that can rotate 360 degrees,” Dr. Voight said.

The robotic system includes a patient cart that has the robot with arms. The physician can control the robot’s arms from a separate surgeon’s console.

Studies of the da Vinci surgical system have shown many benefits compared to open surgery. Some of these include a shorter hospital stay, fewer complications, less blood loss and less need for narcotic pain medicine after the operation.

“There’s potential for less pain and for a faster recovery time,” Dr. Voight said.

Currently, there are robotic programs available at hospitals and medical centers in Springfield, St. Louis, Jefferson City and Columbia. While many of the surgeries that can be performed with the help of robotics already occur at PCRMC, there may be some, such as gynecological procedures, that patients will not have to travel far for anymore.

Robotic surgeries are not for everybody. Patients should talk to their physician to decide if da Vinci surgery is right for them. Only a physician can determine whether an operation using da Vinci robotics is appropriate for a patient’s situation.


PCRMC Is Celebrating National Diabetes Awareness Month This November

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) is joining the American Diabetes Association, International Diabetes Foundation and World Health Organization to raise awareness of diabetes, especially in women.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body, specifically the pancreas, does not produce insulin (type 1 diabetes) or does not properly utilize insulin (type 2 diabetes). Insulin is a vital hormone that regulates blood sugar, which fuels the body for life-sustaining processes.

Symptoms of diabetes can include frequent urination, blurry vision, extreme hunger, excessive thirst, increased fatigue, irritability, unexplained weight loss as well as infections and slow healing of cuts or sores.

While the cause of diabetes is unknown, people may be more at risk for diabetes if they are age 45 or older, are overweight or have a family history of the disease. In 2015, 84 million Americans age 18 and older were diagnosed with pre-diabetes, and currently 1.5 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year. By 2050, about 1 in every 3 people will develop diabetes.

This disease can lead to devastating long-term complications including blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations and even death. Diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2015 and the primary cause of death for 79,535 Americans each year.

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 1.4 million Americans age 20 and older are newly diagnosed with diabetes each year. However, this condition is not only seen in adults. In fact, approximately 208,000 people younger than age 20 have diabetes.

World Diabetes Day is celebrated on November 14 of each year, and the theme for 2017 is “Women and Diabetes – Our Right to a Healthy Future.” This year’s campaign is meant to promote the importance of affordable and fair access for all women at risk for or living with diabetes to essential diabetes medicines, technologies, self-management education and information.

According to the International Diabetes Foundation, there are currently over 199 million women living with diabetes around the world. This total is projected to increase to 313 million by 2040

Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2.1 million deaths each year. Additionally, approximately one in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes.

Diabetes can cause several health problems in women. For instance, women with type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of having an early miscarriage or having a baby with malformations. The International Diabetes Foundation also states that women with type 2 diabetes are almost 10 times more likely to have coronary heart disease than women without the condition.

PCRMC provides many resources and educational opportunities for people diagnosed with diabetes along with their families and caregivers.

The Diabetes Outpatient Clinic at PCRMC, which is fully accredited by the American Diabetes Association, has the tools people need to manage their diabetes and enjoy life. Patients must be referred to the clinic by their primary care provider. Diabetes self-management education/training helps patients to improve glycemic control, which could reduce the risk for diabetes complications, hospitalizations and healthcare costs.

The Diabetes Outpatient Clinic is located at the PCRMC North Entrance, 1000 West 10th St., Rolla. There also are outpatient clinics Tuesday evenings only at Forest City Family Practice, 1000 North Jefferson St., in St. James and Thursdays only at the Waynesville Medical Plaza, 1000 GW Lane St., in Waynesville.

In addition, PCRMC offers a free diabetes support group on the first Saturday of each month (except for January and July) from 10 a.m. to noon in Private Dining Room 2 near the cafeteria at PCRMC in Rolla. For more information about diabetes self-management education/training and the monthly support group, call 573-458-7697 or visit