Inside Gillette Blog

Meet Us Monday- Meet Zach Thompson, Neurodiagnostic Tech

Posted On: 04/25/2014

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? I am a Neurodiagnostic  Tech at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. Typically, I float between the operating room and the Neurodiagnostic Lab. In the O.R. I monitor the integrity of the nervous system during Orthopedic and Neurosurgical cases. In the lab, I do EEG’s, NCS’s and am involved in a research study for patients with Rett Syndrome.

 2. Do you have a favorite story or memory? I have only worked here for a few months but have already made a few lasting memories. One time in particular, I was running an outpatient EEG on first grade boy who told me a variety of knock-knock jokes. One of them was so funny we both started crying we were laughing so hard. I believe it went something like this:

Knock, knock!

Who's there?

Little old lady?

Little old lady who?

HAHA- I didn't know you could yodel!

3. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Fishing, boating, going to concerts, golf, basketball, snowboarding and spending time with my friends and family.

4. Do you have any children or pets? I have a German shepherd named “Stuka.” He is a registered therapy dog who enjoys chasing squirrels and fishing on boats.

5. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I would go back to New Zealand in a heartbeat. The people are unbelievably friendly and laid back, the scenery is absolutely beautiful, and their “no worries” active lifestyle is contagious. It is known as the “adventure capital of the world” for a good reason.

6. What is one fun fact about you? I can’t be friends with Green Bay Packer fans.


Occupational Therapy Month Weekly Recipe Submission: Gooey Lemon Bars

Posted On: 04/23/2014

In celebration of Occupational Therapy Month this April, our weekly recipe submission is Gooey Lemon Bars from Paul. Paul says that his daughter, Olivia, found this recipe online a few years ago. Since then, she has loved making this decadent and addicting treat! 

Gooey Lemon Bars

Recipe by Olivia



1 Pkg. Lemon Cake Mix

½ C. Butter at room temperature

1 Egg, slightly beaten

Combine and mix with a fork.  Press down in a 9X13” pan with a greased bottom.


2-1/2 C. Powdered sugar

3-4 Tbsp. Butter at room temperature

Lemon Juice

Yellow Food Coloring, optional

8 oz. Cream Cheese at room temperature

2 Eggs




1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Mix powdered sugar and butter. 

3. Add enough lemon juice to form the right consistency for thick frosting.

4. Mix in the cream cheese and food coloring, if desired.  Set aside 1 Cup of frosting to spread on top later. 

5. Add eggs to remaining frosting mixture and beat til fluffy. 

6. Spread on top of cake mixture in pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, being careful not to over bake. 

7. Let cool completely and then spread reserved frosting on top.  Cover and store in fridge.


Moving …. Teens ….Forward

Posted On: 04/22/2014

Gillette Lifetime helps teens and young adults who have disabilities—and their families—make the move to adulthood

Jessica Day remembers turning 15 and thinking about what adulthood would bring.

“I had a lot of mixed feelings,” says Day, now a 21-year-old graphic designer. “As a teenager, you feel you’re invincible. But I had to accept that, for the rest of my life, I was going to be dealing with having a disability.”

Becky Nelson, social worker at Gillette Lifetime Specialty Healthcare, says concerns about adulthood are common—both for young people and for their families.

“Caregivers have told me, ‘It’s almost like when we got the diagnosis,’” she recalls. “Approaching adulthood is a second phase of having a disability, and families don’t know anything about it. They wonder, what happens after high school? What about work, living arrangements and relationship challenges?”

Fortunately, transition services at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and Gillette Lifetime can help.

“Dealing With Where I Was”

During her childhood, Day had multiple surgeries to address issues related to cerebral palsy. “It was all about going through those major procedures,” she remembers. “Then, at 15, it wasn’t about having procedures anymore. It was about dealing with where I was afterward.” 

For every teen, changing from a pediatrician to a provider who sees adults is only one part of growing up. Other concerns involve continuing education or workplace choices, housing situations, legal matters and relationships.

“Transition is a process, not an event,” Nelson explains. “It’s not just handing off your health care to another doctor—it’s a philosophy of preparing for adulthood.”

Gillette’s philosophy includes introducing our patients to the topic of transition when patients turn 14. In adulthood, some patients might move to Gillette Lifetime for continuing specialty care; others might change to providers in their community. A fully accessible clinic located in St. Paul, Gillette Lifetime offers medical care, rehabilitation therapy, adapted equipment and other services tailored to adults with specific disabilities that began in childhood. When appropriate, the staff refers teens and families to community resources for legal, medical and other issues.

“Gillette Lifetime helped me through a lot of obstacles,” Day recalls. “I learned about subsidized housing and got connected to services like Metro Mobility. They have counselors to talk to. And even though I’m not planning on starting a family for a long time, I’ve talked to the doctors about it. It’s nice to know they’re there for you at different stages in life.”

One Thing at a Time

Although Day lives in her own apartment, not everyone can live independently or make life decisions without significant adult support. “That’s when we look at things like guardianship and supported living,” Nelson says. “We encourage independence or interdependence to the highest degree appropriate for someone’s level of ability. It’s a highly individual process.”

When she meets a new patient or family to discuss transition, Nelson about their most pressing concerns. Then she helps people determine what needs immediate attention and what can come later. “The key word I use is ‘we,’” she says. “I see families relax as they start to understand that they’ll have a partner in this journey, medical and otherwise.”

Day recommends Gillette as a place to begin looking toward adulthood. “In the long run,” she says, “they’re going to help you reach the goals you want to in life.”

Preparing for Adulthood: Getting Started

It’s never too early to begin developing a transition plan. Gillette offers these services—and more—for teens and young adults who have disabilities and for their family members:

  • Phone and in-person consultations (to discuss legal, medical and independent living issues)
  • Counseling sessions (to identify strengths and challenges, support decisions, and strengthen coping skills)
  • Evaluations for independent living, computer access, and school or workplace accommodations
  • Psychological and neuropsychological testing
  • Help finding primary and specialty care providers who treat adults

To learn more, email Becky Nelson or call her at 651-638-4706. Or see transition services for teens and adults.


Meet Us Monday- Sherrelle Jones, Casting Technician

Posted On: 04/21/2014

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? Do you have a favorite story or memory? I am currently working in the casting department at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. I started off in the registration department and when I graduated from college I applied for the casting department. Working in registration I got to spend only a few minutes with families, now in casting I enjoy getting to know them better.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? I like to watch movies and play board games with my family and friends.

3. Do you have any children or pets? I have two Papillion/American Eskimo dogs.  Innu is our boy who is 3 years old and the girl is Cinnamon who is 5 months old.

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I would love to travel to Europe and see all the old castles and historical sites. I love learning about the past.

5. What is one fun fact about you? My husband and I currently own and are renovating the house I grew up in.

Occupational Therapy Month Weekly Recipe Submission: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted On: 04/16/2014

In celebration of Occupational Therapy Month this April, our featured recipe of the week is chocolate chip cookies from Kari.  She and her three-year-old daughter love to bake these cookies to share with Kari’s three sisters, all of whom have cerebral palsy.

Kari’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe by Kari and her 3-year-old daughter



2 cups Crisco (yes, it must be this brand)

1 cup white or raw cane sugar

2 cups packed dark brown sugar

4 large eggs

4 tsp. Vanilla

1 tsp sea salt

4 tsp. baking soda

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 bag of mini chocolate chips



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Cream together Crisco and sugars

3. Add eggs and vanilla 

4. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and salt

5. Gradually add to first set of ingredients

6. Mix well and add chocolate chips 

7. Drop by the spoonful onto greased cookie sheets

8. Bake for 10-12 minutes

9. Cool and enjoy!


Mankato Clinic and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare

Posted On: 04/15/2014

Meet Us Monday- Meet Kate Vogl, Education & Development Assistant

Posted On: 04/14/2014

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? Do you have a favorite story or memory? I currently work as the Education & Development Assistant at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. This involves training coordination, community outreach, and department administration. I started working at Gillette in April of 2013.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? I love yoga, tennis, and DIY home decoration. On the weekends, I work as an assistant wedding planner, which I absolutely love.

3. Do you have any children or pets? My 10-month old English Bulldog, Winston, seems to require more work than many children.

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I would love to spend a few weeks traveling around Greece. The climate, cuisine, and history sound amazing!

5. What is one fun fact about you? I grew up in Colorado and learned to ski when I was two years old. I used to hate skiing, so my dad would bribe me down the mountain with candy. Now, it’s something I really miss about Colorado.


Occupational Therapy Month Weekly Recipe Submission: Crackerd Chicken

Posted On: 04/09/2014

In celebration of Occupational Therapy Month this April, our weekly recipe submission is crackered chicken from Jenny. Jenny said that her daughter Lindsey, at the age of 9, wrote this recipe. 

Crackered Chicken

Recipe by Lindsey



1 pkg skinless chicken breasts

1 egg

1 Tsp. water

1 sleeve of Ritz Townhouse crackers

EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)



1. Trim any fat from the chicken breasts and cut them in half. Crack the egg and scramble it up in a wide bowl with about a teaspoon of water.

2. Put a bit of olive oil in a frying pan and turn the heat on medium to medium high. While the pan is preheating, do the following steps. Make sure a parent is with you to watch the oil! You don’t want it to get too hot while you are smashing crackers.

3. Put the Ritz crackers between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Use a rolling pin to smash the crackers down into tiny pieces. Have fun! Use a rubber hammer if you want. Then put the cracker pieces onto a cutting board.

4. Dredge the chicken in the egg mixture first, then roll it in the crackers. Once the chicken is coated with cracker pieces, put it into the hot oil. Turn the chicken frequently until it is brown on all sides.

5. If the pieces are rather large, you may need to bake it a bit in an oven to ensure it’s cooked all the way through. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put chicken in a covered dish and bake for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

6. Serve with sautéed green beans and a baked potato.



Meet Us Monday- Meet Michelle Holmvik and Melanie Rouse, Social Workers

Posted On: 04/07/2014

Social workers Michelle and Melanie both started working at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare on April 5, 1999, and have been officemates ever since. They are celebrating their 15th year of service to Gillette this year! Learn about them below!

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? Do you have a favorite story or memory?

MH - I am an inpatient social worker on the Rehabilitation Unit.

MR - I am an inpatient social worker on the Neuroscience Unit and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I also work with the Neuropalliative Care Team in the outpatient clinic.

MH & MR - We have had the privilege of walking beside patients and their families for the past 15 years. These families have displayed a tremendous amount of resiliency in the face of traumatic and/or life altering events. One of the things that we love so much about working with these patients and families is that we learn something new from them each day. A funny memory for us is that we interviewed (and saw each other in passing) on the same day for what we thought was one open full-time position.  Thankfully, they hired us both and we ended up in employee orientation on the same day.  Looking back we never knew the impact that working at Gillette would have on our lives.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

MH- Working out, spending time with families and friends, and reading.

MR- Running, skiing, and spending time with my family and friends.

3. Do you have any children or pets?

MH - No, but I’m “Auntie Michelle” to Melanie’s three children.

MR - My husband and I have 8-year-old twin boys, Ethan and Evan, and an 11-year-old daughter, Mia. We have a Puggle named Dexter.

4.  What is one fun fact about you?

MH & MR - We have run four full marathons together.  


Occupational Therapy Month Weekly Recipe Submission: Kid-Friendly Applesauce

Posted On: 04/02/2014

In celebration of Occupational Therapy Month this April, our weekly recipe submission is a kid-friendly applesauce recipe from Kay. She and her kids made this applesauce for the first time at an Early Family Childhood Education class last summer. She said that it was a lot of fun watching them use an apple peeler/corer and mix the ingredients. She added that the best part was that the kids were able to enjoy food they made themselves!


Kid-Friendly Applesauce 

Recipe by Kay and her kids



2 small red apples

2 tsp. sugar

2 pinches of cinnamon

2 tbsp. lemon juice



1. Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces. Throw out the core.

2. Put the apple pieces and lemon juice into the blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is very smooth.

3. Pour the mixture into two small bowls and stir in the sugar and cinnamon.



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