Employee Impact Stories

Laura Ganapini

Because she splits her time between Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs and Methodist Women’s Hospital in Omaha, Laura Ganapini feels equally at home in both hospitals and with both staffs.

As the Supply Chain Manager, Laura ensures that staff at both locations have everything they need to do their jobs effectively. Thanks to the diligence of Laura and her crew, supplies are always close at hand, whether they’re needed in 5 minutes or 5 days. “We’re constantly doing inventory—restocking and replenishing so things are there when needed,” said Laura, who held Supply Chain management jobs in St. Louis for 27 years before returning to Omaha a decade ago.

Laura supports the MJEH Employee Caring Campaign and proudly serves as an ambassador for her department. She encourages her staff to support the campaign and also makes sure they’re aware that it will be there for them if they need financial assistance in the future.

“The campaign relies heavily on the support of employees and is a valuable resource for staff and patients who need assistance,” she said. “The biggest thing I stress to my staff is that as employees we should believe in the health system we work for and support what it does.”

She reminds her staff that there are several ways to contribute. “At Jennie, staff with stored-up paid time off (PTO) can donate some hours that are then converted into a financial gift to the campaign,” Laura mentioned. “PTO conversion allow employees at any level of income to support the Employee Caring Campaign that does so much for so many.”

Laura has found that satisfaction comes from giving and knowing that you have the ability to help others.

As employees in a caregiving work environment, Laura’s department helps others every day, but the campaign takes helping to an even higher level.

“They may need help at some point in their lives, and because they supported the campaign, the financial resources they need—for medical expenses, bills, emergencies, whatever—will be available to them,” she said.

Jean Armstrong, RN 

Jean Armstrong has spent 21 years at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital educating and helping people.

Whether it involves instructing people how to lower their cholesterol or how to handle a heart disease diagnosis, it’s been her role – and privilege – to make sure they understand what they can do to improve their health and lives.

She also advocates for the health and welfare of children – specifically about the dangers and prevention of shaken baby syndrome and dealing with the death of a loved one.

These programs have become her passion – and they make her proud to work at MJEH, where the Employee Caring Campaign does so much good.

“I’ve always been an advocate of the Employee Caring Campaign because it supports many of the community-focused programs I administer and love,” she said.

I love my job because I never know what’s going to happen next, who’s going to walk through my door or who I may be called to consult with after a diagnosis.

While she offices at MJEH four days a week, on Fridays, Armstrong is out interacting with the community, presenting at schools, community organizations, etc. – making contact with the different groups who could and will one day need the education and assistance she offers.

She also loves the work she does with grieving children, in particular, assembling Memory Bags filled with various materials that help them learn from and cope with the passing of a grandparent, parent or other family member.

Each bag contains materials that are age-appropriate (pre-school, school-age and teenage) and are funded by dollars via the Employee Caring Campaign.

I get calls for Memory Bags from hospice centers and other agencies in the community when people pass away to give to children and grandchildren so that they can start to understand the grieving process,” Armstrong said. “The bags include crayons, coloring books, photo albums, beanie babies, keychains, tablets and other things – whatever makes the most sense for their ages.”

She also knows there’s tremendous value in the Employee Caring Campaign and all the good it offers not only to hospital staff but people in the community.

We offer some wonderful resources for the community, and many of them are because of funding from the campaign,” she said. “I can’t say enough good things about what it means to people who are in need of help – and we never know when we might be that person who needs the help.”

Mary Krueger, RN, MSN

After 38 years in various nursing and coordinator roles, Mary Krueger wrapped her Methodist Jennie Edmundson career Nov. 2 with a large goodbye party and many great memories.

“I’ll definitely miss my co-workers and patients and their families,” said Krueger, who started at the hospital as a night nurse in 1979. “Every day, I did my best to make a difference in the lives of people. But now, I’m excited for the next phase of my life – retirement.”

During her years at MJEH, Mary also did her part to support hospital programs – serving as an employee ambassador for the Employee Caring Campaign from the Behavioral Health Department for nine years.

As an ambassador, she played a role in helping determine the greatest needs among employees in granting gifts from the Employee Crisis Connection Fund. She also donated to the fund so when staff had emergency needs for financial assistance, the money was available for their use.

“I’m a frugal farm wife, so it was a good role for me to be part of those decisions, determining when someone really needed emergency assistance or just needed some help with financial planning,” she said.

“We had some employees with serious crises – including a young woman who needed immediate assistance to buy a plane ticket to attend her mother’s funeral in another state after she died unexpectedly. We also had a staff member who lost everything in a house fire, so we were able to grant them assistance from the fund for various needs.”

Krueger said the fund is administered by the Jennie Edmundson Foundation – so final decisions were made by staff there. But she was always proud to have been an active member of the team that made recommendations for disbursement of the funds.

“The fund and Employee Caring Campaign are very important for Jennie and its staff,” she said. “Knowing they are there and available provides emergency financial assistance when it’s needed most. I always enjoyed being involved.” With Mary’s retirement, Jenene Vandenburg will take over as employee ambassador for the Employee Crisis Connection Fund.

Ready to enjoy retirement, Mary said she and husband of 40 years, Mike, are planning to do some traveling in their camper and take some long rides on their motorcycles – when the farm and crops allow them the time.

“The corn has to get in the bin first,” she said with a laugh.

Mary said Mike will continue to farm, but they plan to spend more time with their three children – Paul, Angie and Rachael – and many grandchildren, who are all within an hour’s drive.

She also plans to increase her sewing projects, namely making clothes, quilting curtain tops and potentially buying a quilting machine to more types of those projects.

“I loved what I did at Jennie – helping others for many, many years – but now I’m looking forward to doing some things for me, Mike and our family,” Mary said. “We’ve been saving for 40 years, and now it’s time for us to do some things and visit some places we always wanted to.