Kathy Sramek, an employee of Delta County Memorial Hospital since 1983, is retiring as education/marketing/physician education coordinator for the hospital. In her most recent position, she coordinated physician education, the volunteer chaplain program, on-site business health fairs and the health fairs in Paonia, Cedaredge and Delta, in conjunction with local Lions clubs. She is the hospital liaison with the DCMH Foundation, which supports the hospital with fundraising activities, and the DCMH Volunteers, comprised of 85 active members.
Her role in marketing has put her in contact with newspapers, radio stations and other forms of media across the Western Slope.
Her job today is vastly different than the one she was hired for in 1983, when she joined the staff as a dietitian.
Sramek was raised in Omaha, Neb., and attended the University of Nebraska where she majored in food nutrition simply because it seemed like a good option. She worked at the University of Nebraska Medical Center until 1980 when her husband Mike, a civil engineer, joined Colorado Ute. At the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Sramek was among a dozen or more dietitians; when she arrived on the Western Slope she found jobs openings "few and far between."
But she began networking, and when the Delta dietitian left for a job at Community Hospital, she gave Sramek a call to let her know the position was open.
At that time food service was pretty basic, as were most of the services provided by DCMH. X-rays were available, but there were no MRIs, CAT scans or PET scans. Sramek developed the appropriate diets for hospital patients and planned menus for the hospital cafeteria. TPN, or total parenteral nutrition, was just getting off the ground. In consultation with the patient's physician, Sramek calculated the nutrients to be delivered to the patient through a syringe or IV drip.
Medical care has grown increasingly more sophisticated, and dietitians have kept pace. Where DCMH had just one dietitian, it now has two full-time dietitians and one part-timer, as needed, on staff. The number of patients has not dramatically changed, Sramek said, but those who are hospitalized require more complex care.
After 17 years in dietary services, Sramek began looking around for other opportunities. Again, there weren't a lot of options, but an opening in education appealed to Sramek's desire to remain in the field of healthcare and use the skills she'd gained educating patients and their families about proper nutrition. She'd also been involved in the hospital's first outreach in the community which resulted in the acquisition of a mammography machine. The transition was seamless.
"It will take half a dozen people to fill the void she leaves, because of all the things she did — and she did all of them so well," said Tom Mingen, former hospital administrator. "She wore so many hats that sometimes a lot of people forgot how everything got done on time and in excellent shape."
"We're going to miss her creativitity and enthusiasm — she has a 'can do' attitude and a 'get it done' personality," said Carol Wicburg, president of the DCMH Foundation. "As a board member and foundation treasurer, her organizational skills and leadership ability contributed to the success of our fundraising events."
Sramek's last day on the job was Oct. 23 but she plans to put in some time training her replacement. While she will miss the camaraderie of the hospital, she's ready to embark on new adventures. She is looking forward to accompanying her husband on his business trips and spending time in Denver, California and Massachusetts with her children and grandchildren. Perhaps, she jokes, she'll even have time to develop some hobbies.blog comments powered by Disqus