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Employee Awards

Altru Achievement Awards are peer-nominated and given to employees and providers who exemplify the values of Altru Health System, commit to serving others, and go above and beyond their everyday responsibilities.

2021 Altru Achievement Awards

Angela Zafke, Critical Care
Angie is an instrumental employee in providing successful onboarding to our nurses at Altru. She exceeds expectations in creating a meaningful experience for staff, ensuring they feel comfortable and confident in the care they provide to our patients. Her passion for teaching and education is seen in her interactions with staff daily. In the busyness of the day, it is not uncommon to find Angie at the beside jumping in to help her team or meeting with our new nurses to coach them one-on-one, ensuring they have the tools and knowledge to care for our patients. She demonstrates excellent clinical knowledge and has a unique way of explaining things to new nurses.

Ashley Swanson, Home Health
Ashley is dependable and follows through on commitments. She is open and honest with her communication, seeking out feedback. Ashley holds herself and the team she works with accountable. When I need an opinion on a process, or an explanation, or another’s point of view, I call her first. She is forward-thinking and sees the whole picture. Ashley is the first to volunteer to work on process improvements, changes, audits for compliance, and then shares feedback with other team members so we all can improve. She is a respected representative of Altru, Home Health, and in the community of Devils Lake and the surrounding area.

Brittney Blake, Legal Department
Brittney has earned a strong reputation of integrity and respect when supporting leaders through their work. She has led efforts to improve our partnerships with the region and community leaders, making contract processes a smooth team effort. I often hear leaders say, ‘I will call Brittney. She will help us find the best solution.’ Her thoughtful teamwork creates a safe environment to find solutions that align to our mission, vision and values. When faced with diverse beliefs and perspectives, Brittney shows incredible respect, providing meaningful guidance, direction and support to all. She consistently brings her best, using her talents to make a system-wide impact.

Eva Quinn, Referral and Authorization Management
Eva embodies the Altru behavior standards. Staff often recognize her as someone to thank during monthly rounding. She is always approachable and willing to help, never making anyone feel bad for having a question. Eva is the calm in the storm that is often faced by our Referral and Authorization Management team. She always reminds everyone that ‘everything will be ok’ and is an inspiration for the staff. Eva is an excellent leader and teacher. She actively reaches out and initiates conversations to make processes better. Eva creates an environment of fun, which shows in the office. She is able to make light of trying times, while still ensuring our process stays as consistent as possible.

Jenna Arnold, Heart & Vascular Division: Cardiothoracic Surgery
Jenna creates a welcoming environment, provides an exceptional patient experience, greets patients with a smile, and comes to work with a positive attitude, all the while delivering patient-focused care. Jenna is committed to the success of the team by exceling in conveying knowledge to others and her willingness to be flexible when asked to be reassigned. She was one of the first nurse practitioners to volunteer to work as a floor nurse when Altru was experiencing an influx of COVID patients. Because Jenna is quick to build rapport with the team as a nurse practitioner, she is a trusted resource of information and is considered an invaluable source of knowledge.

Kari Jensen, Quality and Patient Safety
Professionalism, thoughtfulness, compassion, and commitment are just a few of the many characteristics to describe Kari Jensen. Kari leads with a rational approach, engaging those closest to the work to identify solutions. She has elevated quality and safety throughout the organization, creating transparency and communication for all to understand. Kari is a proponent of continuous learning; she creates a non-judgmental environment for team members to share their concerns and welcomes their ideas to ensure Altru Health System provides safe and quality care. The organization’s rigor towards quality and safety is because of Kari’s passion for our patients, their families, and our Altru team members.

Marlene Miller, People Resources Department
Marlene stays the course in all she does, never wavering in her commitment to the organization, to our standards as leaders, to listening to all people with care and compassion. She demonstrates a high standard for herself and serves as a mentor, coach and confidant to those she leads and colleagues she works with every day. Marlene is self-reflective, seeking feedback to improve her effectiveness while coaching others to reach their potential. She finds purpose in our mission, vision and values and translates those to our policies, practices, and standards. Marlene has been an instrumental team member of the core team learning about and teaching Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She recognizes that strength lies in diversity and is a champion voice for all employees.

Rick Litzinger, Emergency Preparedness and Safety
Rick is an incredible asset to Altru Health System. He is highly accountable to his personal work, the work of his team, the organization and our patients. He is always thinking 10 steps ahead of everyone else, ensuring safety and our continued successful operations. Rick often operates in the background, navigating many different aspects of a situation, and never expects any recognition. Rick’s knowledge of emergency preparedness and safety, and how he demonstrates that to the organization on a consistent basis, is invaluable to Altru. He ‘watches out’ for the organization on so many different fronts, always keeping the safety and well-being of our patients and staff at the center of his work and his decision-making.

Sara Dvorak, Nursing Administration
Sara demonstrated her strong commitment to Altru’s mission during the pandemic. She dedicated herself to assuring that a good plan for patient surge was in place, collaborating with many disciplines to do so. Her teamwork and respect for people are outstanding. Sara’s compassion for our healthcare team and patients is evident in the way she connects with them each day. She tirelessly gives of herself to others, offering support and encouragement. I applaud her ability to lead, with grace and a sense of teamwork, during the most difficult time in healthcare. Sara approaches her work with a positive attitude of servant leadership. She seeks to include others in decision making, demonstrating respect for people.

Shelley Bakke, Specialty Services and Audiology
Shelley seeks to understand a situation by listening and acknowledging. She skillfully navigates change by holding all accountable through her actions and expectations. Shelley puts the patient at the center of decision-making, while also being mindful of the resources involved in those decisions. She takes care of things so staff can focus on patients. Shelley showcases respect for people in her encounters. She holds all accountable and maneuvers through conversations in a manner that allows for the best outcomes. Shelley creates a culture of putting service to the patient first. By following Shelley’s example of service first, our teams exceeded productivity and budget goals.

Susan Alexander, Gift Shop, Philanthropic Services Division
Susan leads by example with her gift shop team of employees and volunteers. During COVID, she offered to assist Guest Services in delivering flowers to patients from other vendors and created a mobile snack cart with daily runs to the inpatient units, allowing clinical staff to grab a treat without stepping away from work. Over the course of her career. Susan has contributed significantly to support the Altru Alliance in raising over $3.9 million to gift to Altru departments and community organizations. She impacts Altru’s culture of generosity by sharing and inspiring the joy of giving thru the work she does. Susan’s unwavering positivity, commitment, and willingness to adapt have contributed to the Gift Shop’s ongoing success, despite the many challenges that come with change and even a pandemic.

Timothy Langemo, Information Services
Tim goes above and beyond to make sure Altru’s patient records are safe and secure. He treats their patient information as if he was in the room with them, physically protecting it. Tim also keeps our computer system secure, which allows for it to be available and operational for all Altru employees to use. This is a 24 X 7 X 365 job. Tim is always learning and expanding his knowledge to make sure our systems and our patient’s data remain safe. A lot of his work is behind the scenes and nobody will notice unless we have a security breach or attack. The work he does is hard to visualize, but it keeps our patients safe, our computer systems up and running, and protects Altru from large financial losses due to cyber security breaches and data loss.

Tony Welch, Supply Chain Operations
Tony is a task-focused individual who lets his actions speak louder than his words. He not only ensures Altru team members have the necessary supplies and equipment to be successful at their jobs, he does so with very little acknowledgement. Tony listens intently to his internal customers and communicates their needs to his team for execution. He provides a positive customer experience with delivery dates exceeding expectations. Tony sponsored several process improvement events to identify opportunities to shift supply chain operations to an automated and customer-focused resource. The strategies implemented by Tony prepared his team to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, continuously monitoring situations to ensure the organization was fully equipped to safely continue operations.

Altru Milestone Anniversaries

Our congratulations as well to all those celebrating a milestone anniversary. We thank you for your commitment to our patients and the communities we serve.

  • 5 years- 139 employees
  • 10 years- 77 employees
  • 15 years- 79 employees
  • 20 years- 67 employees
  • 25 years- 37 employees
  • 30 years- 31 employees
  • 35 years- 22 employees
  • 40 years- 18 employees
  • 45 years- 7 employee

2020 Altru Achievement Awards

Alette Peterson, LPN Clinic (MN)

April Kraemer, Practice Manager Employer Health Solutions

Ashley Nephew, Nurse Practitioner l (ND/MN)

David Thompson, Pharmacy IV Room Coordinator

Donovan Decoteau, Cook

Heather Strandell, Director Primary Care Operations

Jennifer Semling, Manager Provider Recruitment

Matt Elliot, Environmental Services

Dr. Stephanie Foughty, Physician


2019 Altru Achievement Awards

Parsu Subed

Cindy Broden

Dr. William McKinnon

Pam Massie

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