HELENA- It takes over 400 doctors, nurses, and support staff all to make sure St. Peter’s Hospital remains open on Christmas.
Only the ambulatory clinics, like Urgent Care, have different hours or close on holidays.
St. Peter’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shelly Harkins has worked many Christmases in her career and said that illness and injury, unfortunately, don’t take the day off.
Harkins says the hospital is lucky to have so many people that are willing to sacrifice their holiday to serve others.
“To have people that are willing to not be on the couch comfy and cozy opening present on Christmas morning and throughout the holidays, but rather be out here with that higher calling that they all hear is a really beautiful thing,” says Harkins, “We’re all very fortunate and grateful to them for doing that.”
For E.R. nurse Jannie Vogley-Turner working a holiday is not just an expectation but an obligation the staff feels to help those in need.
“The E.R. is never boring,” says Turner, “It has a quiet moment per say, but it’s pretty much busy 24/7.”
Turner has worked the E.R. for most of her 30-year medical career, and she says that no patient wants to be in the hospital on Christmas day.
“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had a patient saying I was just in the middle of making cookies,” says Turner.
But for the St. Peter’s staff it’s easy to work this Christmas knowing they’re helping people who may be at their lowest.
“We deliver a lot of care, we have a lot of equipment, we have a lot of medicines,” says Dr. Harkins, “But the most important thing that we give is that personal touch, that compassion, that hand to hold. And that’s what really gets people though.”
St. Peter’s Hospital and MTN would also like to thank first responders and everyone else who is out serving the community this during the holidays.