It’s a help wanted message that never goes away.
Kootenai County and the rest of the state is facing a shortage of nurses with specialized training and advanced degrees, according to local providers and a state Nursing Overview just released by the Idaho Department of Labor.
Some believe this could hinder health care down the road.
“I think in three to four years, we are really going to be in crisis mode,” predicted Lita Burns, dean of health professions and nursing at North Idaho College.
Kootenai Medical Center has had to go to extra lengths to find nurses trained in specialty clinical areas like critical care, labor and delivery, neonatal intensive care, emergency room and operating room, said Carmen Brochu, vice president of patient care services.
“There is a definite shortage of critical care nurses,” Brochu said. “It takes a long time to find those positions, or it takes a significant time to train them.”
While other hospitals in Idaho like St. Luke’s Health System are reporting gaps of up to 100 open positions, however, KMC’s ability to provide care has not been affected by the shortage, she said.
It’s mostly thanks to aggressive recruiting, Brochu said.
Since last August, KMC has filled 15 specialty trained nursing positions in critical care, Brochu said, recruiting from as far as Florida.
“Trying to find nurses with experience qualified to do the work you are asking, it’s not easy at all,” she said, adding that there are five more open positions between the operating room, critical care and labor and delivery.
The difficulty, she said, is finding nurses with 5 to 10 years experience in general medical/surgical care, with certification and training in specialty areas.
Such extensive background is essential to serving the complex patient population in critical care areas, she said.
“It takes a significant amount of experience and time to gain that confidence and skill, along with the critical thinking skills,” she said.
Most with those qualifications don’t want to leave their positions at other hospitals, she said, where some are tenured or have accumulated benefits.
Most experienced nurses at KMC aren’t leaping to train in specialty areas, she added.
“There’s a lot of nurses who love what they’re doing. We need them where they’re at,” she said. “There’s not a pool of nurses waiting for employment who have experience.”
To help address the issues, Brochu said, KMC implemented a new program in 2007 that puts new graduate nurses on an advanced, 6-month training program to place them immediately in specialty units.
But the hospital only takes on a handful in that program a year, she said.
“That’s a big expense,” she explained. “And you have to be very selective, because they have no critical background.”
Burns said many nursing students at NIC enter the program with hopes of working in a specialized area, only to have those hopes tapered.
“Some think, ‘As soon as I graduate, I’m going to work in the emergency room,” she said.
After pocketing their associates degrees, they often get settled in general care, she said. Some are turned off by the higher stress environment of specialty areas, that doesn’t necessarily mean higher pay.
“Specialty areas (positions) have always been the hardest to fill,” she said.
Burns is also concerned about the lack of advanced practice nurses, like nurse practitioners, which a recent Idaho Department of Labor report labeled as one of Idaho’s most significant problems in the nursing industry.
Masters and doctorate graduates with registered nursing or advanced practice licenses are the smallest but most highly trained pool of nurses, according to the study, making up about 11 percent of the state’s nursing population.
More are needed, Burns said, as those nurses can perform general physician duties.
“We don’t have enough physicians in Idaho,” she said. “These are providers who can fulfill that role.”
The need will be even greater if President Barack Obama’s health care reform is implemented, she added.
“There are going to be many, many more people who are eligible for health care, and no providers to provide it,” she said.
Mike Baker, CEO of Dirne Health Center, said advanced practice nurses can ease the load for local health care demands.
Dirne’s medical office has two physicians and four nurse practitioners, he said.
“They can really extend the reach of a physician and help see more patients,” he said, adding that nurse practitioners usually start as nurses then go through another two-year program. “We don’t have enough providers to take care of all the people in the community who are sick, whether physicians or nurse practitioners.”
Burns hopes to see more graduate nursing programs in Idaho.
Idaho State University and Boise State University are the only schools in Idaho offering graduate nursing programs. Northwest Nazarene University offers an online masters program.
“If that’s not your choice, you are very, very limited,” Burns said. “Online programs across the country, though many are very, very good, are usually also very, very expensive.”
Health care demands will only increase in upcoming years with the aging baby boomer population, Brochu said, adding that a flux of nurses at KMC are on the brink of retirement.
More general medical and specialty care nurses will be needed soon, she predicted.
“That’s why it’s naive to think we don’t have a nursing shortage anymore,” she said. “There will always be a need for nurses.”
COEUR d’ALENE – Two customers arrive at the same time, one at each drive-up window on a Wednesday morning.
The owner of Renee’s Espresso & Delivery grins and goes to work.
“Hi Wendy,” Renee Bordelon-Lovell says to one driver, and then quickly turns to the other and says, “Hi John, I’ll be right with you. Do you want your special, nonfat?”
Within a few minutes, Bordelon-Lovell creates two steaming coffee drinks, all the while continuing running conversations with both customers. As she hands them off, she thanks both Wendy and John and wishes them a great day.
“Hope we see you soon,” she says, again with a smile.
With a moment to prepare before the next car rolls up, Bordelon-Lovell explains that great service and products, and knowing her clients, is critical to her business, to keep customers coming back.
Wendy, she says, goes to the gym and then stops by the coffee stand near Fred Meyer and Hippo Car Wash.
“People want their coffee and they go to where they know who’s going to make their coffee,” said the 2006 Lake City High School graduate.
The Coeur d’Alene native is the daughter of Joe and Patty Bordelon. She went to Fernan Elementary and Lakes Middle School. She played volleyball at LCHS, North Idaho College and Washington State, where she was a two-year starter as setter and helped guide the team to the NCAA tournament her senior year. She graduated in 2009 with bachelor’s degree in sociology.
She was hired at Lean Bean her junior year in high school and continued there during college breaks. The coffee business, she decided, was what she wanted to do in her hometown.
“It’s my passion, I love it,” the 23-year-old said. “I want to be here.”
When Shotzy’s became available, she bought it, finalizing the deal last month.
“I believe this stand needed a new beginning filled with experience, good customer service, and of course, good coffee,” she said.
Already, she has changed the name and the coffee to Thomas Hammer. People have noticed her dedication to details. Regulars are stopping by, and new customers come in each day.
“I’ve taken one day off since I’ve been open and don’t know when my next one is, but I love being here,” she said.
Bordelon-Lovell, who is married to Joe Lovell, considers herself a “first-time entrepreneur” and likes the way things are going. She works most mornings and has two employees for afternoons.
Renee’s Espresso & Delivery can swiftly serve up a latte, mocha, cappuccino or macchiato or Americano. There are bagels, breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos available.
While she admits there’s no shortage of coffee stands in Coeur d’Alene, she’s confident she’ll succeed. Specialty coffee drinks are one of those treasured treats that sells well despite any economic woes.
“People don’t give up their coffee when times are hard,” she said.
Good employees, consistent coffee and friendly service make a difference when drivers are deciding where to pull in and order a double-shot latte.
Her coffee conviction is such that she hopes to open more stands.
“It’s a lot of hours, a lot of work. I believe these are successful when they are owner operated,” Bordelon-Lovell said. “I think the owner has to be in here.”
Hours are 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends.
COEUR d’ALENE – Put Trevor Prangley in the ring facing an opponent, and the muscled 6-1, 205 pounder, a mixed-martial artist, is a mean son of a gun with a fierce scowl.
Now, put him in the shop he runs in Coeur d’Alene with friend Jess Magnus, and he’s a smiling, easy-going guy who likes to joke around and visit with customers.
“I think it’s a lot better for my health to be in here, working my brain out in a different way,” he said, laughing.
Prangley, a two-time All-American wrestler at North Idaho College, and Magnus, a Realtor and amateur jiu-jitsu fighter, recently moved their business, “Tap or Snap” to 610 Hubbard Ave., Suite 108 in Coeur d’Alene from the Whistle Stop Plaza in Post Falls.
They offer all the gear, and some advice, too, that anyone might need to try some cage fighting or just learn more about the sport.
Tap or Snap (named after the point in a match when one person must tap out or pretty much get their arm or leg snapped off by the opponent) carries shorts, hats, shirts, pads, supplements and energy drinks. Magnus said if they don’t have an item a client wants, they’ll find and order it.
“We’re just tying to provide a wide range of sparring gear,” Prangley said. “It’s what the guys are seeing on TV.”
Both Prangley and Magnus believe the growing popularity of cage fighting, especially with the younger generation, will be a boon for their store.
“This store is a great outlet to bring our sport into the community,” Magnus said.
Prangley said they carry products “a little bit different for the guy who’s looking to gain a little bit of an edge or get some clothing.”
A youngster could be outfitted and ready to go with an investment of about $120, and that includes the gloves, wraps, shorts and Gi. Adults should expect to spend more than $200.
“It’s cheaper than you can buy it online,” Magnus said.
Following a successful wrestling career, Prangley started cage fighting at 27. Since, the Cape Town, South Africa, native has compiled a 23-7-1 record. He lost his first two fights by decision, then won 19 straight.
“I was a quick learner, I guess,” he said, smiling.
The 38-year-old knows what works, what doesn’t and wants to share that knowledge with customers.
“The fighters, they’re a different breed. I’m not so interested in them. I’m interested in the regular guy who wants to train and realize a goal,” Prangley said. “Fighters will always be fighters.”
Prangley, who may return to the ring for a bout in April, injured his shoulder recently and is taking time off from training at the Lions Den to recover. He plans to continue his career while building up Tap or Snap.
“I’m planning on retiring in the next couple of years, so I’ve got to get something going. I don’t want to leave it until the last minute,” he said. “We just want to do something that’s a little different. I think it’s going to be a unique store. There won’t be anything like it.”
They want their store to be a gathering place for athletes. There’s a big-screen TV, so kids and adults can watch matches while shopping, or just chat with the owners. Tap or Snap will also carry information about tournaments.
Customers range from kids to middle-aged adults. Some come in looking for advice about the sport, which Prangley and Magnus are happy to provide.
“They want to know about the training and stuff like that. When they’re all set up, if they buy supplements from us, we’ll set up a diet plan for you,” Prangley said.
He emphasized he wants to help people reach their goals.
“That’s always been my thing to do,” he said. “Everybody has a goal. I’m a firm believer that a healthy body houses a healthy mind. I like to try and help people realize their goals.”
Magnus said it takes determination to do well at mixed-martial arts.
“If you’re willing to work out, eat right, put in the time, it’s a great sport,” he said.
Tap or Snap, 610 W. Hubbard suite 108, is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday.
COEUR d’ALENE – The fifth annual Small Log Conference called “Technology, Evolution and Collaboration” is set for March 23-25 at The Coeur d’Alene Resort.
The event includes a mill tour, supplier’s showcase and an industrial waste wood grinder demonstration by Rawlings Manufacturing of Missoula.
“Working in our wood industry for the last few years, I believe the need for collaboration, such as the Small Log Conference provides, will help all those attending,” said Ed Mayer, general manager of HewSaw Machines in Vancouver, B.C., and a conference sponsor. “You hear the same hard-pressed stories over and over in our industry, but a boost of motivation and meaningful insights will help us all move forward.
“I believe our industry embodies resilient and clever people, and this type of collaboration can forge a thriving industry once again.”
The conference also features retired Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth and Collins Company CEO Eric Schooler, along with forest industry, environmental and entrepreneurial speakers.
Subject matter will cover the pine beetle epidemic, harvesting, processing and transportation innovations, supply issues, collaboration success stories and the challenges ahead.
“My hope for getting involved in the conference is that people will start to recognize how the small log business ties in salvage and biomass,” said Schooler, whose company presides over a variety of wood products ventures, including a developing biomass plant at Lakeview, Ore., and a hybrid poplar enterprise at Boardman, Ore. “It’s sometimes an iffy supply out there, but if we put things together, they can be complementary and synergistic.”
Schooler has been encouraged by the southern Oregon biomass stewardship program, acknowledging that the Forest Service has worked well with Collins and its contractors.
Bosworth, meanwhile, sees potential for more projects such as Collins’ Lakeview project.
“There aren’t enough projects and we need more of them to reduce the fuels,” said Bosworth. “The more these projects happen, the more people will see the good and get on board. It’s a win-win situation.”
Bosworth added that he doesn’t want to see a return to over-harvesting of the national forests, but that there is certainly a need to reduce fuel hazards and wildfire danger.
For more information on the conference or to register, contact Manager Jan Raulin at (604) 541-7562 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.timberbuysell.com/slc.
COEUR d’ALENE – Door prizes. Free food. Free parking. Games. Golf. Friends laughing.
Whoever said this was all about business, anyway?
“Eat, drink and pretend you’re merry,” joked emcee DickHaugen.
They were definitely eating and drinking, but there was no pretending going on Tuesday night. People were merry during the annual After Hours Business Fair at The Coeur d’Alene Resort.
More than a thousand men and women visited the free, three-hour event that gave businesses and nonprofits a chance to show who they are, what they do and what that means for consumers.
It is billed as a chance to get in on the biggest marketing opportunity of the year.
“Build a year’s worth of business in three hours,” according to a press release.
Representatives for real estate firms, health clubs, heating companies and outdoors organizations stood ready behind booths that stretched along the walls and down aisles.
You’ve got questions? They had answers.
Many who came to peruse and partake also stopped and listened to sales pitches.
“It supports the community and lets people see all the businesses in the community,” said Mark Robitaille, food and beverage manager at Silverwood Theme Park and chairman of the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation. “I think that’s great for us as consumers to see what’s new, what else people are doing, new things on the horizon.”
Bret Bowers, sales executive with Benchmark, Inc., and iMGX kreativ, said that in the past year they have helped Texas Roadhouse, Vivo, Idaho National Guard, River City Fabrication, Fitness on Fourth and San Francisco Sourdough.
“Anything that’s large scale visuals, that’s what we’re helping people with,” Bowers said.
It was their second year at the After Hours Business Fair, which Bowers called a great opportunity to meet and speak with people about their interests in the business community.
“More importantly, we get to talk with the people, small business owners, the people working here, that are making sure the economy is moving forward,” he said.
David Konigsberg with Row Adventure said the company has been a longtime customer of the fair.
“It’s a great way for us to expose ourselves to the local community,” he said.
Row offers rafting and kayak trips throughout the region. That includes the Lochsa, Moyie, Spokane, St. Joe and Clark Fork rivers.
“When people are here visiting with their family and friends, we hope that they join us on a trip,” he said. “It’s a great way to reach out with other businesses and network.”
And, as Robitaille noted, the menu of meatballs, beef sandwiches and vegetables kept visitors happy and satisfied, too.
“The food is great,” he said.
• Physical therapist Lisa Smalley has joined the Pinnacle Physical Therapy team in Post Falls. Smalley has a 12-year background of out-patient physical therapy experience.
• Owens and Crandall PLLC, a Hayden law firm, announced it has made Regina M. McCrea a partner.
McCrea joined the firm in 2007. Before then, she practiced insurance defense litigation in Spokane.
• Carmen Jacobs of the Post Falls branch of Inland Northwest Bank was awarded the Christopher C. Jurey Employee of the Year Award for 2010.
• Windermere Coeur d’Alene Realty has added four new associates.
Josh Brunn has joined Windermere following work in banking, including experience as a mortgage originator, commercial loan officer and senior lending training specialist. Joan Genter joins Windermere after a real estate career in California where she was honored as Realtor Associate of the Year. Steve Rinker has lived and worked in North Idaho for 20 years. Julie Weeks worked in sales and marketing and founded Arrow Point Vacation Rentals Inc. in 2003.
• Hecla Mining Co. announced the retirement of Michael Dexter, vice president, Hecla Limited, after 25 years with the company. John Jordan will be the new general manager at the Lucky Friday mine replacing Dexter. Jordan has been the mine superintendent at the Lucky Friday mine for the past five years. He has 30 years experience in the mining industry.
• Jessica Walters recently joined the real estate team at Spokane Teachers Credit Union, serving as lending center assistant manager.
She is responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of the loan origination and indirect lending department. Prior to STCU, Walters worked for Banner Bank.
• Kimberly Banta, with Keller Williams Coeur d’Alene Realty, has received the accredited buyer representative designation.
The designation is awarded to real estate practitioners by the Real Estate Buyers Agent Council of the National Association of Realtors who meet the specified educational and practical experience criteria.
• Architect Ryan Johnson has opened Element Architecture in Coeur d’Alene, a firm he says will apply sustainable principles to the planning and design of projects.
• After spending 40 years in various Silver Valley mineshafts, Harry Franklin Cougher has won the prestigious William Lawrence Saunders Gold Medal Award for 2010. During his four-decade stint in the valley, Cougher held senior positions at all but one of the mines within the Silver Valley’s Coeur d’Alene Mining District. He spent 17 years at the Bunker Hill Co., 17 years at Sunshine Mining Co., and six years at Coeur d’Alene Mines.
• Esthetician Carrie Norton has joined Serenity Salon and Spa. She has been a cosmetologist for more than 10 years. She will be Serenity’s in-house skin care specialist. She will specialize in body waxing, facials and chemical peels.
• Magnuson, McHugh and Co., a Coeur d’Alene CPA firm, announced it has hired Korby Baker, an accountant and auditor. The firm also hired Anthony Oss as a staff accountant. The firm hired Louann Schneidmiller, a CPA, as a tax services manager. It also hired Stacy Saffeels as an administrative assistant in the audit department.
The firm promoted Chris Shipley, a CPA, from a senior auditor to audit department manager. Amy Mossman was promoted from a pension accountant to a senior pension accountant. Lisa Nyquist was promoted from administrative accountant to office manager. Michelle Carlin was promoted from an administrative assistant to an accountant.
• Scott Peterson has accepted a position as a district sales coordinator for Aflac Inc. in the regional office, in Coeur d’Alene. He will be working with area employers on current employee benefit packages using Aflac’s products as well as recruiting and training new agents.
• Patti O’Reilly, a real estate agent with Century 21 Beutler and Associates, Coeur d’Alene, has been awarded the accredited buyer’s representation designation by the real estate buyer’s agent council of the National Association of Realtors.
Candy O’Brien’s Boutique, which sells sporty chic and special occasion womens clothing, has moved to a new location within the Plaza Shops across from The Coeur d’Alene Resort.
Based on voting by attendees at the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce annual recognition banquet, a local nonprofit organization will receive donations from STCU.
As sponsor of the event, STCU asked attendees to vote for their favorite local charity. The votes have been tallied, and the Post Falls Food Bank will receive $500.
The Coeur d’Alene Women’s Council of Realtors installed its 2011 board during its December meeting. The board includes Tammy Waggoner, president; Annie Mote, president-elect; Marie Pickford, vice president membership; Loretta Reed, secretary; and Teresa Berglin, treasurer.
The meetings are conducted on the first Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Greenbriar, in Coeur d’Alene.
Realtors and real estate related participants welcome.
The Hayden Branch of Inland Northwest Bank was recently awarded Branch of the Year 2010 by President & CEO Randall Fewell and SVP/Chief Retail Banking Officer Liz Herndon. The Hayden Branch exceeded or met every goal given to them in 2010. Kandi Johnson, Branch Manager, attributes their success to the Hayden community embracing Inland Northwest Bank as their bank. The staff at Hayden branch are: Kandi Johnson, Leslie Jacobs, Duane Henderson, Alex Paul, Heather Lindquist and Liz Williams.