Not My First Rodeo

Posted 26 February 2014 1:14 PM by TCAuthor3

By Dorothy Erdmann, CEO, Shawano Medical Center

Anytime you’re told you need a medical procedure, you instinctively seek out a physician who has experience in performing the technique, mastering the necessary devices, and working efficiently with members of his or her team. Said another way, “It’s not his (or her) first rodeo.”

Of course, wrangling horses is no easy feat, yet it hardly compares to caring for people and their families, both bodies and souls. I like the metaphor, though, because building a new hospital involves rounding up multitudes of personalities, desires, and requirements to head out in the same direction and arrive safely at a common destination. Fortunately, helping to build ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano is not my first rodeo.

I’ve had the unique opportunity to help direct the construction of two other hospitals over the past 12 years: The Minneapolis Heart Institute-Abbot Northwestern Heart Hospital in Minneapolis and the Owatonna Community Hospital in Steele County, Minn. Specifically, the Owatonna project gifted me with experiences that I can readily apply to my work in Shawano. Like our community, a clinic already existed and the new medical center was constructed adjacent to it. The priority was to improve patient flow and establish a common patient experience, and in the Minnesota example, that meant the utmost in cooperation between two separate health systems, Allina Health and Mayo Clinic.

No matter our arena, though, the construction is the easy part. Crafting teams, managing change and exploring possibilities are together the most challenging and rewarding tasks. This kind of work is another way to express my passion for my vocation— caring for people, whether they are patients, families, staff members or health care providers. I feel well equipped to lead our valuable community health project in Shawano. As they say, I know the ropes.