The memories of a nasty bout of the flu are still fresh in the mind of David Reiser. Which is why he didn’t hesitate to take St. Rose Health Center up on its offer to bring the flu vaccine to him this year.
As principal of Great Bend Middle School, Reiser was one of many USD 428 employees who were vaccinated in conjunction with St. Rose’s WellnessWorks program. St. Rose recently took its show on the road to all seven USD 428 facilities.
“When I had the flu three years ago, it laid me up,” Reiser recalled. “I missed work for one week but didn’t feel well for a month. I want to do all I can to prevent a repeat of that.”
Those who work in schools are especially vulnerable to catching a bug because “we are exposed to everything going around the community,” Reiser commented. “Everything comes through these doors at one time or another.”
In the time leading up to St. Rose’s visit, Reiser encouraged his colleagues by email to participate, as well as “telling anyone who would listen. I wanted to ensure everyone knew about it.”
Those who were vaccinated are not protecting only themselves, Reiser noted. They are protecting students, colleagues and families.
“If we can curtail the spread of the flu virus, we can cut down on absenteeism, as well as the extra costs of hiring substitute teachers and disruption in the classroom,” he said. “We have professional, high-quality substitutes but all of us realize students lose a little something when the regular teacher is away for a length of time.”
Reiser learned about the on-site vaccines during a conversation with Mark Mingenback, St. Rose director of public relations and marketing.
“Mark visited with me and I immediately thought it was a great idea for USD 428 and St. Rose to team up like this,” the principal said. “St. Rose made it convenient and you can’t beat the price; the shots were free to the employees.”
Mingenback said the Middle School had an especially good turnout because of Reiser’s input.
“David demonstrated leadership by getting the shot himself and encouraging others to do so,” Mingenback said. “The goal is to help everyone understand the value of a flu shot. We want to help employers maintain a healthy and productive workplace.”
The employer pays an affordable price for the vaccine, he said.
In addition to the schools, St. Rose has visited 15 private businesses this year. Any Barton or Pawnee county employer interested in a WellnessWorks clinic is encouraged to contact Mingenback by calling 620-786-6136.
“While we include the flu shots during the season, we always offer free blood pressure and body mass index tests at these events,” Mingenback said. “We will coordinate the event and provide our professional staff.”
The registered nurses who offer services at WellnessWorks clinics include Cathy Boyd, Faye Herrman and Amy Panzer. Frankie Bright, certified surgical technician, is also on the team.
“All of us feel compelled to do all we can to fulfill the mission of improving the community’s health,” Mingenback said. “We can accomplish this by engaging public and private businesses.”
St. Rose specializes in primary care, prevention and wellness. Services include St. Rose Family Medicine, Convenient Care Walk-in Clinic, Great Bend Internists, imaging, Special Nursing Services, WellnessWorks, one-day surgical procedures, Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice and a comprehensive Specialty Clinic. St. Rose is co-owned by Hays Medical Center and Centura Health.