When Pam Tillman was named the new administrator of Pioneer Community Hospital of Stokes in September she had a pretty good idea of what she was getting into.
Not only has Tillman has served the hospital in a variety of nursing and administrative roles since 1982, but her mother, Sandra Priddy, served as the hospital's administrator from 1979 until her death in 2004.
"It has been an interesting journey," Tillman said, who was inspired to get into the health care industry by her mother's dedication to the community. "Through her church she would go around and help different people in their homes if someone was sick or needed a dressing change. So from my first memories I was riding in the car with her to somebody's house to take care of them."
Tillman also spent a lot of time helping to care for her grandfather who had emphysema, and along the way learned that she liked caring for sick people and decided that she wanted to pursue a career in nursing.
"I went to nursing school and was living in Elizabeth City when my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma," said Tillman. She returned home, taking a third shift nursing position at the hospital so she could help care for him during the days while her mother worked as hospital administrator.
"I found myself coming home and giving her the nighttime updates," remembers Tillman. "Somewhere along the line I said 'I don't feel good about this, there are other channels that you are supposed to use to find these things out. This is not the way our relationship needs to be.' I just needed to be like every other employee to a point."
But she still focused on proving herself, intent on building her career despite working for her mother.
"I worked harder so nobody would ever say I was getting any favoritism or anything like that," she said. "That has helped over the years. I have a good working relationship with people and they know I have worked hard and that I care."
The hard work payed off as Tillman moved from being a nurse to a nurse manager, then to director of nursing and assitant administrator and finally to her current role as administrator.
But although her career path has mirrored her mother's, Tillman said that had never been her intention.
"I absolutely loved being a nurse and the direct patient care," said Tillman who still likes to step in and help out with starting an IV to this day. "We had a doctor call from the ER one night to ask if they could use the ultrasound to get a line started on someone, and I said 'Why do you want to do that? Nobody has called to see if I could do it.' So I went back there and started the IV. It is neat being able to do the spectrum."
Tillman said she has also loved the different challenges presented by serving as an administrator.
"I like to do puzzles and I like to think a lot of the work I do today is figuring out how to make pieces work," she said, "and figuring out ways to work with the different partners in the community. One of the neat things about being here for so long is knowing some of the community folks and working with them through the years."
And, given the geography of the county, figuring out how to serve all the residents is quite a challenge.
"The mountains might as well be Mount Everest," she said. "It does make for some unique challenges, but it also provides an opportunity to meet the needs of people right where they are."
Tillman said Pioneer Community Hospital is much more than just the facility in Danbury.
"We are not the cookie-cutter where there is one main hospital and then physicians offices around it," she said. "We are so complex we actually do a map of where we have things in the county and what services are available."
At the Danbury campus the hospital provides acute care and swing beds, a nursing facility, family and pediatric clinics, inpatient geriatric psychiatry, outpatient behavioral health, physical therapy, respiratory care, radiology services, laboratory services and emergency care. At the Pioneer Family Medical and Specialty of King center the hospital provides dermatology care, occupational therapy, orthopedics, physical therapy, podiatry, radiology, urology and wound care. At the Pioneer Medical Center in King the hospital provides emergency services, laboratory services, orthopedic surgery, podiatry, cataract surgery, gastroenterology, general surgery and radiology. The hospital also provides family medial services at its Pioneer Family Medical of Walnut Cove facility.
"I think it is easier for me to manage so many different locations because I have grown with them," said Tillman. But even though her history serving the area is a great asset, Tillman said her main focus is the future.
"I am really excited about the growth with Pioneer," she said, noting that since Pioneer took over the hospital they have been able to recruit a number of new doctors to the area, installed a CT scanner and added other new equipment, expanded family medical and surgical services, and opened a new psychiatric unit. Tillman said there also plans in the works for the purchase of a new specialty facility with an initial focus on orthopedic surgery in King and the construction of a new family practice and physical therapy center in Danbury.
Administrators at Pioneer Community Hospital knew they were creating something that would really help the community when they opened the doors to the geriatric psychiatric ward in October 2013.
"We did not have the resources here to help those people," said hospital spokesman Tracey Collins. "There would be people sitting in the ER for days at a time waiting for a bed in places as far away as Raleigh. There was real suffering for everyone involved. Those people needed help right away. There was such a shortage, and so much pain for so long that the powers that be said we have to deal with it."
So the hospital began the long process of getting approval from the state to create a psychiatric ward for older patients, and eventually got a license for six beds.
"We actually have nine beds constructed, but the way it works is we have to develop an experienced mod and show there is a need and then at some point we can apply for a license for the additional beds," said Collins, adding that the creation of the ward took close to eight months and cost around $300,000. "It is in a part of the hospital that used to be acute care beds, so we had to shut off that side of the building and completely gut it. Everything in there is brand new. The construction process involved a lot of different people an organizations coming in and inspecting it."
The new ward has several additional security features to protect the residents including heavy, locked doors at each end and plexiglass over the windows to prevent any patients from attempting to climb through them.
"It was a very expensive remodel," said Collins. But one that has proven to be worth the investment.
Collins said in December the six-bed facility averaged 5.25 patients a day and that since opening three months ago around 40 patients have been helped.
"That is a great indicator of what a need there is," he added. Collins also said the new ward had helped to create 18 to 20 new jobs at the hospital. "There will be more as we add beds and see more and more need. Some of the jobs are part time, but it has also created more job functions through the hospital. It is exponential."
Our never-ending commitment to providing you with superior and compassionate healthcare has just taken another leap forward. We're on a mission to bring this community exceptional outpatient specialties, and Wallace W. Weatherly, M.D. is a wonderful addition to our team of specialists. If your primary care provider has recommended a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon, be sure to request Dr. Weatherly of Pioneer Orthopaedic Clinic. To schedule an appointment, call 336-983-3127.
As we age, many of us experience both physical and mental losses. The new Senior Care Unit located in Pioneer Community Hospital of Stokes is a unit that specializes in behavioral and mental health for seniors and can help them deal with these losses. With only 10 beds, this unit is a small and comfortable place for our elderly to gain the tools needed to continue to live a happy and full life as they age.
Our team of psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, nursing assistants and activity therapists can help diagnose and treat many mental health issues that you may be noticing in a loved one. Some of these issues may include:
This program provides a structured setting and offers a therapeutic atmosphere that most patients find helpful. Treatment plans are individually developed for each patient and include group counseling, individual counseling, family counseling and medication management. The average length of stay is sixteen days and the costs of care are covered by Medicare.
Visitation by family members during designated visiting hours is encouraged. Patient referrals can be made by anyone: a family member, physician, nursing home staff, Pastor, friend or neighbor. A confidential, no charge assessment can be scheduled by calling 336-593-2831.
Newsome Family Practice of King joined the team of Pioneer Community Hospital of Stokes on July 1st. Dr. Sam Newsome has served as the Medical Director for the Hospital for a number of years. The Newsome Clinic is located on Mountain View Road and has 11 employees. Long term Pioneer employee Ashley Barton will serve as the Office Manager. The clinic will be called Pioneer Family Medical of King. Assistant Administrator Pam Tillman said that this is a great move for the community and for Pioneer. "Dr. Newsome has a passion for helping patients and as a lifelong Stokes County resident he understands the community and the challenges we face." In addition to Dr. Newsome there are two other Medical Providers at the clinic. They include Nurse Practitioners Candice Key and Christen Duke. The clinic will serve a great need for the community as well as giving Pioneer a great referral source. The clinic is accepting new patients. The patients who utilized the Newsome Clinic previously will remain patients for the Pioneer clinic. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment please call 336-983-6898. Pioneer Family Medical of King, 304 Mountain View Road location.
Dr. Paul Manson began with Pioneer Community Hospital of Stokes on July 1st. Dr. Manson moves to Stokes County from Tucson, Arizona. He completed his residency program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Manson's specialty is Internal Medicine and he will begin accepting new patients right away. Dr. Manson and his wife Michelle have seven children ages 6-19. He will work in the family practice, Emergency Department, Hospital and Skilled Nursing Facility. Pam Tillman Assistant Administrator stated "I think Dr. Manson will be a wonderful addition to Pioneer and to the Stokes County Community. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment please 336-593-8281.