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Experience as a patient drives care technician to serve

Photo of Rick Mace and Margaret Plesniak.Photo caption: Margaret Plesniak receives her Employee of the Year award from Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital Chief Executive Officer Rick Mace. For a larger version of this image, click on the photo. 

Bolingbrook – Small things remind Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital’s Margaret Plesniak of the time she spent in hospitals as a child.

A container of orange juice or the packages of graham crackers given to patients trigger memories and help drive Plesniak to provide the best service and care she can.

“I don’t think about working here, ever, as being just a job,” Plesniak said. “There are so many patients here that we can truly help every day, and I want to make sure we do.”

Plesniak was recently named Employee of the Year at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital. The Frankfort resident serves as unit secretary and a patient care technician on the hospital’s Medical/Surgical unit.

Her experiences with hospitals and health care started early. As a child, Plesniak was diagnosed with spina bifida. She underwent two kidney transplants as a part of her care.

“I was in and out of hospitals so often that I was 14 before I finally experienced my first autumn,” Plesniak said.

Over time, Plesniak came to understand what hospitals ought to do to ensure patients are treated well.

“The people that gave me great care, I want to provide that care to others,” Plesniak said. “There are a lot of special things you can do for patients.”

For instance, Plesniak remembers one patient who received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. His family was sitting in a waiting room, talking. Plesniak took a moment to offer some water to the patient’s sister.

“She was so happy that someone acknowledged her and that she needed something,” Plesniak said. “Even under the worst circumstances, sometimes, that’s all it takes.”

In her work, Plesniak helps wherever she can, said Rick Mace, chief executive officer with Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital. Since joining the staff in 2011, she has served the hospital in several capacities, including working as a spiritual ambassador and participating in a hospital mission trip in 2012.

“Margaret always goes above and beyond her duties to make sure everyone’s needs are met,” Mace said. “She is always trying to come up with new ideas and ways to improve what we do at the hospital.”

Whenever a project arises, Plesniak is one of the first to jump in and work to get it done, said Deborah Beringer, who oversaw Plesniak as director of the Medical/Surgical unit at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital.

“She always has a smile on her face,” Beringer said. “You can tell that she enjoys what she’s doing.”

Having worked in health care for more than eight years, Plesniak hopes to become a nurse. Becoming one would allow her to do more to help patients, she said.

“At that point, I would feel complete, that I finally made it,” she said.

She would make a very fine nurse, said Beringer, who has encouraged her to pursue the work.

“Having been on the other side of the bed, knowing how important it is to have good nursing care and the personal touch that helps in the healing process, Margaret would work very hard to provide great, holistic care to our patients,” Beringer said.

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Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.

Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals.

Media contact: Chris LaFortune, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, christopher.lafortune@ahss.org; (630) 856-2354.




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