Making a Difference in the Lives of Patients for Almost Four Decades
As a care manager at Shriners Children’s Twin Cities, Mary Pat Zwack has spent nearly four decades making a difference in the lives of every patient she sees.
“My ultimate goal as a care provider is to empower our children to be strong and reach their highest potential,” she said.
Mary Pat is known for going above and beyond for her patients and loves to send cards to them for life’s big events like graduations or weddings. “My favorite part of the job is any time I get the chance to catch up with current or former patients to hear about where their lives have taken them.”
Mary Pat has seen many changes during her 41-year career as a nurse. When she started working on the inpatient unit in 1981, the average length of stay was around nine days. Fast forward to today where, through advances in the medical world and innovations in less invasive treatment options, many children go home less than 24 hours after surgery. Medication advancements have made a huge difference as well, leading to better care and treatment of patients’ orthopedic conditions.
She has been through converting medical records from paper to electronic – which was “quite the process.” Technology improvements like our “Care Everywhere” telehealth platform and our regional outreach clinics continue to increase access to our care and reach children and families where they are, she said. “We are adapting to the new way the world works and making it easier for our families get the specialty care their children need,” Mary Pat said.
Mary Pat has countless special memories from her tenure at Shriners Children’s Twin Cities. She recalls an annual Christmas program where the youngest baby in the hospital at the time was cast in the role of Jesus. The kids received fancy outfits to wear and they had two performances so that they could accommodate the families, staff members and Shriners who would come and watch. She recalls elephants visiting the hospital and walking down steps in the back of the building to the back patio! The list of “extras” outside of medical care provided to our patients and their families over the years is endless, and Mary Pat said this what truly makes our organization special.
In addition to these little touches, Mary Pat accredits strong commitment from our staff and the support from Shriners International members to a successful century of care.
“The mission of both groups to help these kids and empower them to be strong and reach their potential has been at the forefront of our organization for the last 100 years,” she said. “And I know it will continue for the next.”
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