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Legend is a resource and a role model

Legend is a resource and a role model

Merna Lepine started working in healthcare at the age of 16 because it seemed like a good job and she wanted to earn money to buy a car. Those humble aspirations turned into a healthcare career spanning 25 years at Campbell County Health in Gillette, Wyoming; with 21 of those years as the Unit Secretary in the ICU at Campbell County Memorial Hospital.

Merna is Campbell County Health’s most recent Legend Award recipient. For those who don't know, CCH defined a Legend as:

“Those people who have left an indelible impression on our minds because of their deeds and actions. Ongoing demonstration of hard work, compassion, and a reputation for greatness make someone a legend.”

Especially in Merna’s case, the Unit Secretary is at the hub of the action in patient care areas like ICU. The people who work in this position constantly interact with clinical staff, physicians, pharmacists, therapists, lab and radiology technicians, Environmental Services, Nutrition, and Materials Management—staff from almost every area of the organization--to keep things running smoothly for the patients receiving care.

Merna’s forte is providing support for families who are sometimes in crisis with having loved ones in the hospital. She has a unique ability to connect with others, both in person and on the phone, always demonstrating calm and compassion. Merna has even been known to bring clothing items in to patients in need, purchasing them out of her own pocket.

Her experience and knowledge of CCH and the Unit Secretary position makes Merna a great preceptor for new employees. She helps them learn the expectations for their job, but also the history and culture of CCH to ensure their future success. This knowledge and historical perspective is invaluable during situations like computer downtime and other emergency processes, where the usual rules may not apply.

“Merna is a 'go to' for so many people across the organization”, said Julie Shock, Respiratory Therapist at CCH. “Although her title does not reflect ‘leader’, her actions and ability to influence others is a true testament to her leadership qualities and ability to motivate others to be the best they can be, wherever they work at CCH.”

Lest you think Merna only knows what has happened in the past, she is always open to adopting new processes and is a champion when it comes to taking the ICU and Medical Surgical Unit to the next level. She takes the initiative to make improvements in patient care. A recent example may seem simple, but it makes a difference in providing the best patient care. Merna noticed there was a need for new "clean" tags for equipment in the area. She got creative, made the tags and made sure everyone knew where they were and how to use them.

Merna and her husband, Wayne have married for almost 19 years, with a blended family of 6 boys, 2 girls, and 11 grandchildren. When she’s not working she spends her time with the kids and grandkids in Sundance at her retirement home called “The Manor”.

Thank you Merna, for being a role model to all at CCH and an excellent example of what we consider a Legend at CCH. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to our health system. Congratulations on your Legend Award.