Upon returning home in 2014 from ten days in the intensive care unit, one of the first things Pam Welter decided to do was write thank-you-notes to her attending staff at Door County Medical Center. “The two hospitalists were absolutely fabulous” Pam recalled, “the level of care was so high; there never was a bad day of care. Everyone they sent in was top notch. And the nurses were amazing; no question was too dumb. If you felt anxious they would sit with you—no medications—they would just help you through it.”
In fact, it was the nursing team that Pam and her husband Bill Welter were perhaps most impressed with and in looking back on their experience at DCMC, Bill and Pam now credit the excellent quality of nursing care to a business-wide culture of caring that is tied directly to Jody Boes; “Jody was in charge of everything. She came in and introduced herself and wanted to know what I thought,” Pam said, “and you know, who am I? But just like everyone that works under her, she wanted my opinion, she wanted what was best for my care.”
As Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Administration, Jody is responsible for all of the direct patient care departments in the hospital, which include emergency care, inpatient care, cardiopulmonary services, surgical services among others. “She’s the driver,” said DCMC’s Chief Quality Officer Christa Krause, “Jody sets high goals and achieves results, she keeps the nursing staff on track to high quality standards. I do believe that without her guidance we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Nursing seems to have been the profession that Jody was always drawn towards. “As a child,” Jody recollected, “I always carried around the doctor/nurse kit.” In 1969, her childhood dream was realized when, at the age of 18, she received a scholarship of $800 from a local hospital auxiliary to attend Bellin’s nursing program. Since then Jody has worked in Door County as a registered nurse for the past 45 years, first for the hospital then working with Dr. John Herlache, and rejoining the hospital that would eventually become Door County Medical Center. Jody also was a Captain in the United States Army nurse corps serving active duty during Desert Storm stationed in Heidelberg, Germany.
Now, looking toward retirement, and reflecting on the scholarship that she received, Jody is looking to support the nursing community in a similar way. In partnership with Bill and Pam Welter, the Jody Boes Scholarship was set up, providing nurses pursuing an advance degree at either the Masters or Doctorate level with $2,500 a year in funding. “I don’t want a competition between scholarships,” adds Jody, “the hospital auxiliary does a great job with undergraduate scholarships. I want to focus on individuals who are looking for an advanced degree in nursing—a Ph.D., or MSN, for example.”
Her reasons for looking to promote graduate nursing degrees are two-fold and focus on the increased level of skill that is required in the 21st-century and the changing demographics of rural communities. “The reality is,” Jody said “with regard to nursing, when I was a diploma graduate we managed nursing care in the hospitals. Now, nurses need to be better educated—they need to be the most educated—because they are the front line—they are the eyes, ears and hands for our physicians 24/7. Also, as more and more baby boomers need health care, nurse practitioners in rural areas are going to become very important because, let’s face it, there is a physician shortage.”
“All we want to do is fund what Jody wants to do,” said Bill Welter, “We believe in supporting the community, in giving back to the community and in improving the community. That’s where we got the idea. We thought we could both help the community and recognize the work that Jody has done for the last 45 years.”
The Jody Boes Scholarship is available to eligible candidates of Door County Medical Center who are pursuing an advanced degree in nursing, including but not limited to: MSN; NP; CRNA; PhD; Clinical Nurse Specialist; and Clinical Nurse Leader. Applications open in January 2018. The first scholarship will be awarded in May around National Nurses Day.