Patient-centered care

Published 10:49 pm Monday, September 11, 2017

St. John’s assistant admin. has passion for end-of-life care

When Danielle Podein was a senior in high school, her high school sweetheart had terminal cancer.

She said he fought the cancer for a year and three months, and from that experience she was inspired to enter the health care profession. Podein, now assistant administrator at St. John’s Lutheran Community, said she realized how important end-of-life care is and how person-centered it should be.

“I don’t like blood or needles, so I didn’t want to be a nurse,” she said. “I thought I could utilize my strengths if I was in the business side of health care.”

She job-shadowed an administrator at a facility in Mankato and attended University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, completing the health administration program there.

From there, she completed a year-long practicum program in rural Wisconsin.

She said she got her first position in Iowa after college, but found that she wanted to get back into southern Minnesota and find a nonprofit organization that aligned with her values.

Danielle Podein started at St. John’s Lutheran Community in February. Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

She discovered St. John’s Lutheran Community, a five-star facility with low turnaround in its management team, and started in February.

Podein said she is proud to work at St. John’s and noted she thinks the organization does a good job of continuing to improve the services it offers and training staff to have a more person-centered mindset.

She said she thinks it is important for staff to remember the lives residents had before coming to St. John’s and be reminded how they can continue to provide services around things they’ve enjoyed all their lives.

“It’s by far been my best experience I’ve been at,” she said of her time thus far.

She said she enjoys learning from the other leaders in the organization and seeing how dedicated they are to both patients and staff.

When The Woodlands nursing home opens next month and becomes Medicare and Medicaid-approved at the new St. John’s on Fountain Lake campus in the future, each campus will need an administrator by regulation.

Longtime St. John’s administrator and CEO Scot Spates will shift to become the administrator at the new campus, and Podein will become administrator at the old campus off of Minnesota Highway 13, she said.

With the opening of the new nursing home at St. John’s on Fountain Lake, one of the floors at the old campus will close, and there will be 79 beds at the site. There will be 84 beds at the nursing home at the new campus, increasing the total bed count for St. John’s by 23 beds.

Danielle Podein

Age: 23

Address: Albert Lea

Livelihood: assistant administrator at St. John’s Lutheran Community

Family: husband, Corey; brother and sister, Jacob and Katey; parents Mike and Barb Embacher

Interesting fact: Podein loves spending time in the outdoors