08:17 PM

North Valley Hospital Recognizes Nursing Staff

At North Valley Hospital (NVH), there are 152 Registered Nurses 12 CNAs on staff. Nurses fill a variety of roles, from leadership to specialized departments like the birth center or surgery, to discharge planning, care coordination, or working on the medical/surgical floor.

In order to recognize our RNs on the medical/surgical floor, we talked with two RNs from this department of the hospital – the main patient area where those admitted to the hospital would stay – to learn more about some of the people serving patients in this capacity.

Jenn Vernarsky, RN, started her nursing career at North Valley Hospital as a CNA in 2012 while earning her Bachelors in Nursing (BSN) through Montana State University. Now, she’s worked as an RN for over five years and earned National Certifications in Orthopedic Nursing and Medical/Surgical Nursing.

“Nursing means essentially being a system of knowledge – we focus on more than delivering medication and assessing our patients, but we’re also managing all aspects of their care, like when physical therapy comes in, if the patient needs imaging or labs, and then we report back to physicians as well,” says Vernarsky. “It’s a lot more time management than people may realize.”

Vernarsky is passionate about her role, like most nurses are. “My favorite part is helping patients learn how to rehab, to get back to their lives, and how to live with new conditions like diabetes. We are part of their medical care, and we can have a positive impact,” she says.

Vernarsky is also involved with committees and projects at North Valley Hospital like the Planetree Committee, quality improvement projects, and education.

She said people would probably be the most surprised to learn that, as she says, “I never stop thinking about my patients.” Vernarsky explains, “When I go home, I wonder how they are doing. Did they get their pain under control? Can they sleep okay tonight? As nurses, we build a rapport with our patients, and we truly care about their well-being.”

Abbie Bersnak, RN, started working for North Valley Hospital as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at the North Valley Professional Center clinic in Columbia Falls in 2012. She later earned her registered nursing degree (RN) from Missoula College at the University of Montana and transitioned to working as an RN at the hospital in 2014.

“Working as an RN on the medical/surgical floor is interesting because we have the opportunity to care for a wide variety of patients with distinct medical conditions and courses of treatment,” explains Bersnak. “Every single person and concern is different, so I find that we use all of our education, skills, and experience in our work.”

Bersnak is Orthopedic Nurse Certified, and this year she attended the National Association of Orthopedic Nurses Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. At the event, Bersnak and two other North Valley Hospital nurses learned about emerging technology, best practices, and new developments in orthopedic nursing. Upon returning to NVH, the team presented the information to nursing staff to improve quality care at North Valley Hospital.

In addition to bringing new information to the nursing team, Bersnak has assisted with technology updates and quality improvements at the hospital.

She is clearly passionate about her important role as a nurse, and in caring for patients who are sick or injured. “Our patients allow us into their lives at a vulnerable time, and we are able to care for them and give them a comfortable, positive experience,” she says. “It’s an honor for us to do what we do, to be a part of these often uncomfortable experiences for people.”

North Valley Hospital is proud of all registered nurses across the hospital, departments, and clinics in a wide variety of roles. Each employee and nurse or assistant brings a unique perspective and high level of training to the job every day, making collaboration and teamwork a key piece of quality patient care at NVH.

“There’s a great sense of teamwork on the floor, especially at North Valley Hospital,” says Bersnak. “We have an interdisciplinary approach to care as we incorporate all the working elements of patient care and helping patients return to their lives.”


Written By Allison Linville

This article was originally published in Whitefish Pilot in October 2019.