Inside Gillette Blog


Meet Us Monday - Esther Herbert, Respiratory Therapist

Posted On: 08/03/2015

What is your position and role at Gillette? I am a registered respiratory therapist and am proud to say I have been with Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare for 26 years. My daily activities can change each day, but they mostly consist of monitoring patients on ventilators, teaching families and patients about respiratory needs and consulting with nurses, social workers and doctors about a patient’s needs.

Meet Us Monday - Esther Herbert, Respiratory Therapist Do you have a favorite Gillette story or memory? Some of my favorite memories are from years ago when I used to accompany our nurses and patients to events like Taste of Minnesota, State Fair or Twin’s games. It was such fun to come into work and get to go out on these outings.

What do you like best about working at Gillette? I love the atmosphere and my co-workers. Everyone at Gillette respects one another and is willing to go the extra mile for you.  

Do you have any children or pets? I have four sons: Shane 24, Eric 21, Ryan 19 and Cole 17. I also have one dog named Gizmo – she is, of course, a female because I am so outnumbered.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Australia, it’s a place I would love to explore.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work? My hobbies outside of work currently center on hockey and soccer, but I also like to take walks and hike.  I also see wine tasting in my future!


Meet Us Monday - Samantha Eder

Posted On: 07/24/2015

What is your position and role at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare? I am an Imaging Technologist at Gillette’s Lifetime Clinic. I perform imaging exams for patients and assist with the entire process – from getting preexisting images into our system to sending them out to other providers.

Meet Us Monday - Samantha EderWhat do you like best about working at Gillette? I love seeing the many things done here every day to help our patients and families.

Do you have any children or pets? I have a son named Joey (or Joe or Joseph depending on his mood) who is eight. He loves bowling, karate and swimming. I also have a dog, a cat and many fish.

What is one fun fact about you? I am an Army brat! Throughout my life I’ve lived 15 different places across the U.S. and in Germany when I was young. Until I was married 16 years ago, I moved approximately every three years of my life. I miss moving at times and seeing new places, but it’s also nice to have lived somewhere so long that I know it inside and out.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?  I would love to go back to Germany to visit the places I saw as a young girl living there. I would like to see where we lived, my old school and the everyday places we went. Plus it would be fun to take my son to the castles and other historical places.

 What are some of your hobbies outside of work? I like to garden and I do a lot of canning in the summer. I also love baking, especially for holidays. We do a lot of camping and hiking around the north shore and dream of opening our own campground one day.


Meet Us Monday - Bethann Nikolova, Radiologic Technologist

Posted On: 07/13/2015

What is your position and role at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare? I am a Radiologic Technologist II, or Rad Tech.  My daily activities can vary but my primarily responsibility is ensuring patient comfort while performing accurate x-ray exams.  I also work in diagnostic imaging and am one of two technologists that work in bone density scans (DXA).  I am also a member of Gillette’s internal wellness committee – WOW (Wild On Wellness) Committee.

Do you have a favorite Gillette story or memory? It is hard to pick a single memory, but I have one that always gets me through a rough day. A patient with severe clubfeet was going through a long andMeet Us Monday - Bethann Nikolova, Radiologic Technologist often painful process with external fixation devices to correct her condition.  One day after imaging her progress she looked up at me and said “Tank You, I Lubba You!”  She really didn’t speak English and it was too cute for words.  A few months later at her last appointment, I saw her playing tag with another child in the hall.  I knew there was no place else for me.

What do you like best about working at Gillette? Working at Gillette has given me the courage to say that I know I can handle anything life throws my way.

Do you have any children or pets? I have two children, Tyler is 14 years old and and EvaKate is 8.  We have a dog “Charlie” aka Charles Xavier, aka Charles Barkley, aka Charlie the goat.  We also have a fish and my daughter is currently asking what other pets we can have.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I have found I am not a good traveler but I have always wanted to go to Boston and Montana.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work? I mostly try to keep up with my house and kids but I absolutely love having parties. I am currently on hiatus, but am a red belt in Taekwondo and am looking forward to starting my training again and earning my black belt. 


Meet Us Monday - Melissa Pettyjohn, Ultrasound Technologist

Posted On: 07/06/2015

What is your position and role at Gillette? What are some of your daily activities? I am an ultrasound technologist at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.  I scan the major organs of the body, veins and nerves.  The benefits of ultrasounds are that it does not require sedation and has no radiation, so it is a good option for children and people that need to be imaged often.  It’s also a “dynamic” modality showing real time motion like blood flow, stones moving, and muscles contracting.  It’s fun (and informative) to watch!

Meet Us Monday - Melissa Pettyjohn, Ultrasound Technologist Do you have a favorite Gillette story or memory? Getting to know my patients brings me joy. I have been scanning the same people for the last seven years. It has been great to build relationships and watch them grow!  We catch up with their latest accomplishments, challenges, and life in general while I scan.

What do you like best about working at Gillette?  Gillette challenges employees to grow and supports us as we do. That is a rare and wonderful thing! I came to Gillette as a relatively new ultrasound tech. I was allowed to develop job duties and scan protocols that best served the patients and providers.  I have also been able to work with providers to learn and develop new scans that are not commonly offered at other facilities, such as infant shoulders, intraoperative spinal canals and peripheral nerves. 

 Do you have any children or pets? My husband and I have a son, Jack, who is 12 – almost a teenager! We also have a rescue dog and cat that keep us entertained.  I am a pushover for rescue animals, if we had more room I would have adopted a whole zoo by now.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?  That changes all the time because I want to travel everywhere.  Right now, I’d love to spend time in Costa Rica.  Beaches, jungles, volcanoes – Cost Rica has it all!

 What are some of your hobbies outside of work?  I love spending time with my family and traveling when I can.  I am a voracious reader and can read 300+ pages a night if the book is interesting.  We bought a fixer-upper that needed a few more fixes than we were aware of, so that is our main hobby.  We have definitely improved our carpentry, electrical, and plumbing skills.


Meet Us Monday - Therese Krug, Imaging Systems Administrator

Posted On: 06/29/2015

What is your position and role at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare? I started at Gillette in 2002 as an X-ray Technologist.  In my time at Gillette, I’ve seen our department move from x-rays taken with film and developed in a darkroom to, today, sophisticated digital imaging.  It’s been an exciting shift!  I monitor and maintain the imaging computer systems that allow us to sync each patient’s information with our imaging equipment, document the details of each imaging exam, and track both data and results from each exam.  Gillette’s complex patient population has unique imaging needs and I consider it a privilege to be part of the team that helps meet those needs.

Do you have a favorite Gillette story or memory? There was a patient of Dr. Mark Dahl’s that came to Gillette from a Honduras orphanage with very severe lower extremity deformities. When she arrived, she was sad and a little withdrawn.  I performed some of her first imaging exams and she told me that the two things she really wanted to do was run and swim.  Dr. Dahl performed several surgeries and I watched her grow into a happier and more outgoing person as she gained increased use of her legs. She learned English, went to school, and shared stories of the good times with her host Meet Us Monday - Therese Krug, Imaging Systems Administratorfamily.  On her last day at Gillette, she asked me with a big smile, “Do you want to see me run down the hall?” I replied “yes” and she did just that – she ran down the hall.  She came back to me and said, “I can go swimming now too.” She gave me a hug and told me she was going home soon and would miss everyone at Gillette.

What do you like best about working at Gillette? The patients! We all face challenges in our lives, but our patients face their challenges every hour of every day.  Yet they have a great sense of humor, with a smile on their face (most days), have a new joke to tell, and they keep climbing the mountain.  We can all learn something from them.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Switzerland.  I hear the country is beautiful.

What is one fun fact about you? I was the first female firefighter captain in my hometown county in Illinois. I am very proud of that accomplishment.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work? I love to cook.  I especially love to have big groups of people over for a meal and share in the friendship.  I also love to travel and have a group of friends from all over the country who travel to a new place each year. This year we are going to Hilton Head.


Meet Us Monday - Emily Syverson, Registered Nurse

Posted On: 06/15/2015

What is your position and role at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare? I am a registered nurse on the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit. I could not imagine working anywhere else. From the doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, etc. everyone's hearts are all in to make sure each individual child's needs are being met.

Meet Us Monday - Emily Syverson, Registered Nurse What do you like best about working at Gillette? I am inspired on a daily basis with each patient I care for and each family I meet. It is never easy seeing a child suffer, but their innocence and resilience help them overcome the struggles in a beautiful way. These kids are the toughest kids I have EVER met. They will never know the incredible impact they have made on my life.

 Do you have a favorite Gillette story or memory? One that stands out is when I met a patient who had injuries so severe she was told she might never walk again. But she worked hard at her therapy and proved everyone wrong!  On the day of her discharge from Gillette, I was honored to be the nurse that held onto her gait belt as she walked out of the hospital. One of her doctors played the song "Girl on Fire" by Alicia Keys – there was a lot of lot of cheering and tears.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work? I enjoy running – especially outdoors, reading a good book and meeting up with friends. I also love ice cream, so trying to find the best ice cream place in the Twin Cities keeps me pretty busy!

What is one fun fact about you? I love to travel! I have been to nine different countries for both pleasure and mission purposes. I have taken a piece of each country with me every time I have left. I enjoy the history and learning about cultures, as well as experiencing a different way of life. Through these travels I have learned that selflessness and simplicity are the keys to happiness.

As a world traveler, where would you go next? I would go to Greece. The history of the country fascinates me. Also, Santorini is said to have beautiful sunsets. I love watching sunsets!


Meet Us Monday - Elizabeth Weber, M.D., Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon

Posted On: 06/08/2015

What is your position and role at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare? I am a pediatric orthopedist.  My specialty in medicine is focused on fixing bones and my particular focus is on the bones of children.  On some days, I run clinics in St. Paul or in satellites during which I visit with families of children who have issues with their bones.  Some of those children will require surgery for their bones and on other days, my job as a surgeon is to fix them.  I feel lucky to be in the position to help families understand what is wrong with the bone and what I can do to help. 

Why did you choose to go into health care? Why did you choose to go into health care? Prior to becoming a doctor, I spent many years in the United States Air Force as a combat pilot (pictured).  During those years, I was proud of my skills and of my service.  At the end of Desert Storm, I reflected on my time in the military and concluded that the high points were those occasions when I made a direct contribution to saving lives.  After I left the military, it made some sense to investigate my aptitude for medicine—a field I had never previously considered.  This was no small undertaking because I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science.   In medical school, my passion for surgery became evident immediately and the choice of Orthopedics was easy when I thought of it as a combination of architectural planning and carpentry.

Why did you choose to come to Gillette? I came to Gillette from a children’s hospital on the east coast.  I was presented with the opportunity to be part of Gillette's team and join their proud tradition of working in the oldest freestanding special needs hospital in the country.  The patient population at Gillette is among the most complex known to medicine. At the same time, the esteemed collection of surgeons preceding me who have developed the techniques and protocols to treat these children is humbling.  To be invited to practice with this group of experts and to care for these children is an honor.

 What has been one of your most rewarding moments at Gillette?  All of my moments at Gillette have been memorable.  I have the honor of working with the most dedicated, gracious, committed caregivers anywhere on earth.  The loving, welcoming environment at Gillette makes it a pleasure to come to work every day.  With patients, any child that I get to help is a blessing.  I would say that the most rewarding moments are when I bond with patients who have a chronic condition and their families. Some surgeries seem very overwhelming to kids and their families.  When I can make a connection with a family and put them at ease, not only is it very rewarding, but I have a friend for life.

What clinical development is on the horizon that you’re most excited about? One of my great passions is limb-length inequality. That’s when one leg isn’t as long as the other.  If the inequality is great enough, you can develop back pain or hip pain and disability as an adult.  There are many techniques of equalizing lengths at skeletal maturity. To me, the most fascinating technique is an implantable, telescoping nail that fits INSIDE the bone and is gradually lengthened by a magnet applied to your leg daily.  You literally make your own leg longer!

What is one fun fact about you? Aside from my years flying planes in the military, I have been a competitive dragon boat racer as well as an expert marksman.


Meet Us Monday – Meghan Munger, Research Coordinator

Posted On: 06/01/2015

What is your position and role at Gillette? I work at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare as a research coordinator. I manage our Summer Research Internship Program which introduces young adults to clinical research. Students are paired with a Gillette mentor, work on a research project, and attend twice weekly seminars on a variety of research topics. I also support the Gait and Motion Analysis Lab in their research efforts. They are a very active group of researchers at Gillette and I help coordinate their studies from start to finish. This includes organizing study logistics, conversing with patients about potential research studies, and helping to summarize study findings at the close of a project.Meet Us Monday – Meghan Munger, Research Coordinator

Do you have a favorite Gillette story or memory? When I first started, I shadowed many patients visiting the gait lab. It was, and still is, so impressive to learn about how they utilize motion capture technology for clinical decision making.

What do you like best about working at Gillette? There are many things I enjoy about my job. With my internship program, I love having the chance to introduce clinical research to students early in their education. My hope is that students will understand the importance of research, seek out additional training, and utilize these skills during their future careers as healthcare professionals. I also love working with the researchers in the Gait and Motion Analysis lab. These researchers are world-renowned in their field. It is rewarding to be a part of their work in influencing the outcomes of children with gait disorders.

Do you have any children or pets? I have two boys, ages 2 and 4 years.

What are your hobbies outside of work? I love to cook and be active outdoors with my family. Right now, I climb a lot of trees and play superheroes with my boys!

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I love to travel but haven’t done much since having children. I would like to go to Turkey, which is where my brother-in-law is from. There is also much of the United States that I hope to see, including the Northwest. We have our first family trip planned and are headed to Seattle at the end of the summer. I can’t wait!


Meet Us Monday -  Scott Schwantes, M.D.

Posted On: 05/04/2015

What is your position and role at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare? I have the privilege of serving as Gillette’s Associate Medical Director of Pediatrics. This work allows me to help shape how our fantastic care is delivered in the hospital for our patients. This role also has provided me with the ability to advocate for our patients on a local, state, and even national platform. It is invigorating to be able to expand my focuses to not only address my patient’s needs in the clinic room or hospital, but to also be able to address our patients’ needs on a larger scale.

Meet Us Monday -  Scott Schwantes, M.D.When I’m not providing direct patient care or out spreading awareness and advocacy for our kids, my clinic practice is spent working in Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Medicine. This rewarding and humbling work has graced me with the opportunity to get to know some truly incredible children and their families. I also have trained in Medical Acupuncture, and have been fascinated with using this modality to improve our children’s and young adult’s lives, outlook, and resilience.

Why did you get into healthcare? Ah, my vocation in healthcare is the current chapter in my life after many intriguing and interesting adventures. After taking my time in school (including dropping out of Art School), I eventually achieved a degree in Physics & Astronomy as well as Mathematics. I strive to maintain that sense of awe and wonder with the natural world even now. After briefly considering pursuing an esoteric career in gravitational mechanics, I worked for a small software company. It was during this time that I had a niece born with a congenital heart condition that was not compatible with a long life. After that experience with my niece Valerie, I had the presence of mind to engage in some serious self-reflection and listen to the quiet voice that allowed me to begin my journey to becoming a physician. The rest, as they say, is history.

What has been one of your most rewarding moments at Gillette?  Oh my goodness, there have been so many. I love seeing our kids when they are healthy. All too often, our only encounter with a child and their family is when they are ill or recovering in the hospital. When I see them going to physical or occupational therapy and they’re healthy, active and vibrant, it is incredibly rewarding. 

Some of the most moving moments in my career here at Gillette have been the deep and meaningful conversations I’ve been honored to participate in with families as their child nears the end of life. To be able to have admittedly difficult but moving and meaningful conversations reflecting on the joys and wonders of their child’s life is truly a glimpse into the sublime. Being able to work with those families and celebrate the life at the center of that work is eternally rewarding.

What do you like to do in your free time? I love hanging out with my lovely wife. We enjoy being outdoors and staying active. We enjoy walks along the mighty Mississippi River, as well as exploring our neighborhood. We also enjoy discovering great new restaurants to eat in Minneapolis and St Paul. To that end, we are excited that Sea Salt has opened again for the season. I also enjoy woodworking and love having a home improvement project to focus upon. Last summer I enjoyed making our big dining room table. I love cooking as well, and sharing the fruits of that labor with friends and family.

What is one fun fact about you? Just one? Here are three!

  • Already stated it, but I am a proud art school (MCAD) dropout
  • I used to have REALLY long hair in undergraduate school
  • I speak French, and like to believe that I can speak Spanish, German, and Latin.

Meet Us Monday - Jacque Jenkins, Guest Services

Posted On: 04/24/2015

What is your position and role at Gillette? I am a Guest Service Representative at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare’s St. Paul Campus. I have been with Gillette for a little over four months.

Meet Us Monday - Jacque Jenkins, Guest ServicesDo you have a favorite Gillette story or memory? Forming relationships with our patients is so rewarding. There is one patient I am particularly fond of who comes in regularly for her back brace. She wears a permanent smile and always has a band bracelet for me.  She and I talk about the Minnesota Wild and how she plays adapted hockey. Last week she told me that she no longer needs to wear her brace and that she won’t be coming in a whole lot anymore – happy news although I will miss her.

What do you like best about working at Gillette? I love being part of Gillette’s team, greeting our families and helping them to find their way around.  I love seeing smiles on the children’s faces when we can wear our silly hats or dress up for holidays!

Do you have any children or pets? Yes, I have two children Hayden, who will be 11 in November and Tayz who will be 2 in October. Hayden plays hockey for White Bear Lake Squirt level. Tayz, (who was named after a hockey player from the Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews #19 [teɪvz/ TAYVZ]), likes to play and shoot his pucks around. Both boys are funny little characters. I am a definitely a true boy mom!

What are your hobbies outside of work? We are a HUGE hockey family! We eat, breathe and sleep hockey at our house! If my oldest doesn’t have a game or practice, you can bet we will be watching hockey. During summer we love to go down to Millville and watch the Pro Nationals Motocross (dirt bikes).  I also love to ice fish, camp, go for motorcycle rides and play with my kiddos.

What is one fun fact about you? I was born and raised a California girl, but am a true Minnesotan at heart!


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