Transforming health care into health caring
Our employees go above and beyond every day, creating moments of compassion and human connection that transform the patient experience. It’s just one more way we put the patient above all else.
Our employees go above and beyond every day, creating moments of compassion and human connection that transform the patient experience. It’s just one more way we put the patient above all else.
“As a Facility Assistant, I help patients get where they need to be at St. Luke’s. Typically, they’re all going through some sort of transition, and I get the opportunity to help make their day just a little easier. One time I was helping a very frail elderly lady. I helped her find Blue Waves Café, then I asked if she would like some assistance with her lunch. “That would be lovely!” she said, “Thank you!” So, I read her the options, helped her find a table and brought out her food. She was so grateful.
What I did wasn’t a big deal, but it’s little things like that that can really make a difference for our patients. It’s what we do all the time. It’s not expected, but it can make someone’s day.”
“I work in security, and a lot of times we have to think on our feet to solve problems. It was a busy day, with our team working through competing priorities and numbingly cold weather at -18 degrees, and it was shift change. A lot of people were coming and going through the parking ramp. A handicap patient transport van pulled in, not seeing the low clearance signs. The van got wedged between the ceiling and the floor. All of a sudden, the entire ramp was gridlocked. With the congestion and the position of the van, a tow truck wasn’t an option.
The quickest fix was to deflate the tires on the van until it was short enough to get unstuck. So, I deflated the tires. My colleague Harold had arrived and helped guide traffic so we could back the van out. In just a few minutes, the van was out of the way, all traffic was freed up, staff could get to and from work, and patients could get to their appointments—including the patient in the van. Afterwards, I ran back and forth to the Hospital three times in the cold with a 50 pound air tank to get the van tires filled back up.
We’re called to problem solve all the time—it’s one of the things I enjoy about my job. With this one, Harold and I were able to fix an issue that was affecting a lot of people.”
“A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Afterwards, in a whirlwind of questions and emotions, our patients have to schedule labs, scans and more appointments. On top of that, some patients live almost 100 miles away, and just getting to St. Luke’s for an appointment is a challenge in itself. The last thing a patient should have to worry about is making all these appointments work with such a huge change in their life.
So I try to connect with them and make this process as stress-free as possible. I help them get their appointments to work with their schedule, so they have to travel here as little as possible. When I’m able to get the scans, blood work and appointments set for the patient, often I can hear the relief in their voice. I love seeing the patient’s smile when they get scheduled for everything they need. I think they appreciate having someone there with them every step of the way.
I look forward to helping every patient who walks through the door. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
“During the summer I helped a gentleman whose dog had been taken from his vehicle. He was visiting his wife, who was very sick. He had arrived early and parked in a covered parking ramp so his dog would stay cool despite the intense sun. He’d been routinely going out to his dog to walk him, feed him and give him water. A passerby, concerned to see the dog in the car, reported it.
When the gentleman came back, his dog was gone.
Having his dog disappear while he was already struggling with his wife’s sickness was too much. I really felt for this man, and the extra stress of his dog suddenly going missing.
We wanted to help, so two of us from St. Luke’s Security called around to different organizations to find the canine. Finally, we located him and confirmed that he was safe. The gentleman was so incredibly thankful, and relieved to know his dog was ok.
I felt privileged to be able to help reunite him with his dog, and to bring him a little peace during such a hard time.”
“There was a patient on 8 West Rehab who was working on walking with their therapist, but struggling on making it more than 10 feet. I was charting nearby when she sat down next to me and commented on my bright blue shoes. The other therapist couldn’t wait to tell the patient that I had bright pink shoes in my locker that had been given to me as a gag gift. I figured I’d make a deal with the patient. If she walked 25 feet, I would wear my pink shoes the entire next day. She accepted the challenge, got up, pushed hard and walked the 25 feet!
The next day, I wore my pink shoes for the whole day. The patient loved it. She stopped everyone to make sure that they saw me wearing them.
Sometimes that’s what therapy is about: Figuring out what’s going to motivate our patients to achieve more than they think they can.”
“Becky and I recently worked with a patient who had been in a horrific motor vehicle accident. Our work began in the ICU the day after he was taken off the breathing machine. He was just so broken and in a lot of pain, so breathing was still pretty difficult for him. We started off slow, met him where he was, and started to work towards getting him back home.
That first time helping him do something as simple as sitting at the edge of the bed was a bit of a watershed moment for him. We could see him start to hope. Every day after that we did a little more, helped him get a little farther. I felt like every time Becky from Occupational Therapy worked with him it wasn’t even like he was having a therapy session; It all just seemed so natural. I got to watch her help him become him again. We continued to work with him, and his parents could see him improving.
Our mindset for patients like this man is always: You have gotten past the worst day of your life. You didn’t die. Now you need to work on getting better so you can get your life back.”
“I work with genetic testing, and for many of the patients I see, breast cancer runs in their family or they have dealt with it themselves. The testing we do shows if a patient has a pre-disposition for breast cancer, and knowing this information is not only beneficial to the patient, but also to their children.
There’s a lot that has to happen in order to do genetic testing. Patients come for these stressful tests, sometimes traveling a long way, and then they need to go here and there for labs and other appointments. It’s important to me that I stay with them and make this process as seamless and supportive as possible. They’re waiting for some potentially life-altering news.
Each patient has their own way of handling situations, so it’s up to us to know as soon as we enter a room what that patient needs. You have to make them feel comfortable. Sometimes being a good listener, not saying anything at all and just being with that patient is what they need. Some patients just need an extra hand during this tough time. My work is so meaningful, and I love that I’m able to help people on their journey.“
“In 2001, I helped to start the Breast Cancer Support Group. The whole idea of the group was just women supporting women. It’s been going strong now for 18 years, offering support and information to women of all ages who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. These women take care of each other. They know what the experience is like, have lots of recommendations, encourage one another, and they’re strong. It’s an unbelievably upbeat group. There’s something to be said about having people understand what you’re experiencing. They overcome their own fears to help and support each other.
I facilitate the group with a nurse from the Breast Center and we work to make each participant feel comfortable. They’re dealing with all kinds of different situations. Sometimes people come to the group saying that their situation isn’t as catastrophic as another person’s. I never want people to feel that way. It’s crucial to me that each woman knows she’s important. I want each group member to know that their diagnosis, their story and their needs matter.
It’s really something to just be in the humanness of it all. I can’t say enough about them, they are amazing. I’m grateful to be surrounded by all these strong women. It’s at the end of a very long day, but by the time I get to that group, I feel so lucky to be a part of it.“
“I work the front desk in the Emergency Department (ED) waiting area. On a particularly busy night, a patient who was in a great deal of pain approached me at the desk. He was upset because he had to wait to be seen. I listened patiently and then explained that it was just a busy night. Soon he was called to a room. When he was discharged a few hours later, he approached me again, but this time with tears in his eyes. He apologized profusely for his earlier behavior and thanked me and all the staff for what we do. He said he had been dealing with pain for weeks, but now felt at peace. The nursing staff and doctors had discovered what was causing his pain and developed a treatment plan. He left feeling better than he had in weeks, with the answers he’d been searching for and a smile on his face.”
“A patient called in because she was having double vision. When she came into the clinic, her doctor told her she may have had a stroke and should go to the hospital. She said she wouldn’t go, but I knew she didn’t have any family so I offered to drive her, and she accepted. I drove her to the hospital around 1:30 pm and stayed with her until 7 pm that night. At the end of the day, she hugged me and thanked me for staying with her. The following Monday she called to thank me again. ‘I can’t believe that you stayed with me for six hours,’ she said. I told her that I did it because she was my priority. She told me no one has ever told her that before. I felt great knowing I had truly made a difference.”
“I volunteered at St. Luke’s information desks for nearly 15 years. There were always a lot of patients passing through and even though they were in various states of being able to move, there was always something cheerful to talk about. They wanted to share their experiences and I loved working with such happy people.
Not long after I decided to retire from volunteering, I found out that St. Luke’s Birthing Center needed swaddling snugglers for new babies. I thought, well I can sew, I can do that. So I did. I like to be useful – I’m not a good sit-arounder. I’ve loved sewing these colorful little swaddlers. I also love babies and children. My hope is that these cozy little snugglers give new parents some enjoyment and quiet sleep for their babies.”
“I had a patient call in to schedule an injection for extreme pain in his back. In just a few days he was going out of the country for a couple months, but he was considering cancelling the trip due to his pain. It normally takes some time to get these appointments set up because it involves several departments, but I wanted to see what we could do for him. I made some phone calls and, with the help of all the departments, we were able to get him in the next day. He went on his trip.
After he came home, he called me and said he couldn’t be more thankful, as he was able to enjoy his trip without any pain! He told me he can always tell when someone is smiling, even over the phone. He said he could tell I was smiling the whole time and that it was a pleasure speaking with me.
It makes you feel really good knowing you can make others smile with just even your voice.”
“When I first started as a Medical Assistant, I worked in family practice at St. Luke’s. One night just before we closed, a child came in who had hit his head on a chair. I brought him into a room and was trying to make him feel as comfortable as I could. He asked if I could stay with him the whole time. I told him I would. When the doctor came in and said he did not need stitches, he was relieved.
After everything was finished, he looked at me, asked me if he could give me a hug and said thank you so much.
That experience made me realize that I was meant to be at St. Luke’s and in the health care field.”
“One of our intense January cold snaps recently caught a visitor off guard. He’d rushed from far away to be with his mother in our ICU while she faced her final days. He was dressed for weather in the 40s, not the -20 freezing Duluth, but he didn’t feel comfortable leaving his mother to get warmer clothes.
During his time here, Rachel, a Patient Reception Representative at the ED desk, saw him pass the ED front desk to go out to his car in shorts. She decided to help and called me. I jumped in and, with the help of St. Luke’s Closet, we found a supply of warm clothes. When Rachel presented them to him, he had tears in his eyes.
Rachel had the dedication and compassion to act when she noticed someone who hadn’t even asked her for help was in need. I’m so happy she called me and we were able to work together to bring him some comfort.“
“At every office visit, our diabetes patients get a finger stick blood test called a hemoglobin A1c. Since we perform one every time they come in, I realized I could improve their experience by finding the least-painful lancet that still gets enough of a sample so they don’t need to get poked again. So I tested different lancets on my own fingers. I narrowed it down to the best option and ordered those for the clinic.
Since then, I’ve had many patients comment that they “like our pokers.” So many people have a needle phobia, and no one likes having their finger poked. If they’re nervous, I tell some of our patients that I actually tested the lancets on myself and they aren’t too bad.
It was just one way that I could alleviate some of the stress of a doctor’s visit.“
“An overriding principle for me has always been: Am I treating somebody the way I’d want my family members to be treated? That’s the test.
People come to us in times of need. They’re kind of vulnerable. Their needs are all unique and different, but with every patient, you go in, sit down, listen, ask the right questions and hope to get to the bottom of it. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the intensive care unit, the emergency room or Urgent Care where I work–we’re going to give it our best and try to help them.
My hope with every one of those interactions is that I have the right knowledge and skillset to help them, but also that each of my patients know and feel that they matter to me.“
“One of our patients who moved to the area for college requires weekly injections. Since school isn’t close to home, this was a real concern for his mom. She struggled to find peace of mind being so far away from her son, knowing how important attending these appointments was going to be while adjusting to living independently his first year away at college. It was especially hard for her because she had no way to make sure he was getting to these vital appointments.
Putting myself in her shoes, I could absolutely empathize with her and when she asked, I was happy to step in to help. I worked with her and her son to get his appointments scheduled at the same time every week and had them sign a consent form, allowing her to get updates on her son’s care. Then, every other week I reached out to her so I could update her about how things were going with her son. Now, we’re on our second year, and it’s gone really well.
I knew how important it would be for me to have someone watch over my son if I couldn’t – to have someone set my mind at ease. I was more than happy to do that for her.”
“You really get to know patients when they’re here awhile, and the families too. If they need something, or if they need me to run and do something, it’s not a big deal at all. If they want a warm blanket or pillows…or even just letting them know about other resources that are available, I love helping out. I’ll say, “We have cots for you, I can run downstairs and get you one,” because a lot of them don’t know that.
I’m also a clean freak, so I’m perfect for housekeeping. I’m the picky one, and I go above and beyond. The patients and nurses love it. I’ll even get compliments. They’ll say “Were you the lady in here yesterday? Oh, you do such a good job, and you’re in and out so discretely.”
When I’m cleaning a space, I always remember that our patients are in there, so I take it a step above.”
“I absolutely love working on St. Luke’s mental health unit. It’s just a passion for me. Most of the patients I work with are so grateful, they are so kind to each other and open to new ideas. I’ve had people in my life who have struggled with mental health issues. It’s a stigma, but I want people to know that it shouldn’t be.
I teach my patients a lot of different things to help them function in the community and cope with hard times. One of the most important, in my mind, is that it’s not about you, it’s about we. This means that we all have things that we struggle with. We all want to be a better version of ourselves. We’re all on different paths, and because of that we should not compare ourselves to others. Instead, compare today with yesterday, and think about how you want to be better tomorrow.”
“I was working at my desk, when I heard a patient had walked into the lab, with chest pain. I grabbed my blood pressure machine and pulse ox immediately and then a provider and I started examining the patient. I tried to keep him calm by reassuring him he was in the right place. Another Medical Assistant called 911 while I worked on getting the patient’s vitals and put in orders for a stat EKG. In a moment, the lab tech was there, running the test while I finished verifying his medications and allergies. The provider and I stayed with the patient until the paramedics arrived a short time later. They transferred him safely to a gurney and transported him to St. Luke’s Hospital. Everyone worked well together to make sure the patient got the care he needed quickly. I have to say, we have a great team here at Mariner. He said he felt much better just knowing he was in good hands.”
“I love working at St. Luke’s. I’ve been here for seven years and my role is to deliver linens to the hospital and clinics on the St. Luke’s main campus. I deliver everything from towels and blankets to gowns and pajama pants. Everyone in my department knows that what we do is crucial to helping everything run smoothly – just like everyone else’s roles. If there isn’t clean laundry, we can’t care for our patients. Especially when the patient census is high, we have to work extra hard to keep up with the need for clean linens.
While I’m out delivering linens, I love talking with patients and visitors. Just this week I saw a woman struggling to find her way, so I asked her if she wanted help and she was so happy. Other times, I strike up a conversation about the weather when I’m in the elevator with patients. These interactions make my job even more enjoyable.”
“One afternoon an older gentleman was trying to come into our clinic by pushing the door open with his walker, so I ran to open it for him. He’s not a patient of ours, and I didn’t know him. However, I quickly realized he wasn’t able to communicate and that he was lost.
My co-worker and I saw papers in his hand. A driving service had dropped him off on the ground floor of our building, for a dentist appointment on the 6th floor. However, he showed up at our ophthalmology clinic on the 8th floor. I brought him down to the dentist’s office, and fortunately his daughter was there, waiting for him. She was devastated the driver hadn’t provided the promised door-to-door service and so grateful that we came to his assistance. She told us that he has dementia and deeply appreciated our help. I was so happy we were able to be there for him.”
“I was recently caring for a couple who were first time parents. Their own parents were far away, so I treated them like my own family. They were computer savvy, smart college graduates, but they were overwhelmed by how little they knew about feeding their child, swaddling their child and providing for this new life. I showed them how to care for their new baby and encouraged them along the way. Minute by minute they gained confidence. They left not just as wife and husband, but as parents of their own little family.”
“We get a lot of cancer patients for chemotherapy. They’ve already had a long day once they get to me. To make their name bands a little more special, I put glittery rhinestones on them. That way, when they look down they see a fun, special bracelet instead of a plain white one. Just adding five more seconds to my time registering them is worth it. I love that it makes them smile.”
St. Luke’s is a comprehensive health system that includes two hospitals, 13 primary care clinics, 25+ specialty care clinics, six Urgent Care Clinics, three Q Care Express Clinics and eCare, a virtual online clinic. Click each location for clinic details.
26 East Superior Street, Suite 205 Duluth, MN 55802 PH: 218.249.4300
4702 Grand Avenue Duluth, MN 55807 PH: 218.249.6800
4190 Loberg Avenue Hermantown, MN 55811 PH: 218.249.4600
1400 Woodland Avenue Duluth, MN 55803 PH: 218.249.8800
6351 East Superior Street Duluth, MN 55804 PH: 218.249.4500
1010 4th Street Two Harbors, MN 55616 PH: 218.834.7700
109 North 28th Street East Superior, WI 54880 PH: 715.395.3900
St. Luke’s Building A 1012 East Second Street, Level 5 Duluth, MN 55805 PH: 218.249.7870
St. Luke’s Lakeview Building 1001 East Superior Street, Suite 401 Duluth, MN 55802 PH: 218.249.7960
8373 Unity Drive Mountain Iron, MN 55768 PH: 218.748.7480
1120 East 34th Street Hibbing, MN 55746 Map PH: 218.362.7100
2201 Lake Shore Drive East Ashland, WI 54806 PH: 715.685.6600
50 Outer Drive Silver Bay, MN 55614 PH: 218.226.4431
Family Medicine is a type of primary care focused on providing comprehensive care for your entire family.
Internal Medicine is a type of primary care focused on patients who have multiple chronic conditions.
Pediatrics is a type of primary care focused on children, from birth to (typically) age 18.
A primary care provider is a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner who specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics. They serve as your main provider in the St. Luke’s health system.
As for how often to see your primary care provider, you’re in control. An annual physical is recommended for your care. However, we are here if the need arises for a sooner appointment.
There are times where an illness or injury needs immediate treatment. If you are unable to get into your primary care provider when you need immediate care, St. Luke’s offers convenient, on-demand care at our Urgent Care Clinics, Q Care Express Clinics and eCare, our virtual online clinic. Click the link below to see our care chart.
If you are experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, dial 911.
Where to Go For Care »
Establishing care with St. Luke’s means choosing a primary care provider to work with you on your lifetime of care. Along with providing preventive care, as well as medical care when you are sick, a primary care provider is the coordinator of all the health care services you might need and is your guide to the St. Luke's system.
Having a primary care provider means having someone at St. Luke’s who knows your full medical history and is actively engaged in your care. It’s about more than just having someone to call when you’re sick, it’s about having someone who can coordinate your care across our entire team of specialists.
While your individual coverage may vary, most major insurance providers cover an annual physical with your primary care provider at no cost to you, as part of your preventive care. If you have additional questions about your coverage, contact your insurance company. There is usually a customer service phone number on the back of your insurance card.
St. Luke’s is a comprehensive health system committed to providing compassionate and expert medical care to patients across the Northland using state-of-the-art technology. Our patients are the focus of everything we do, and getting to know you means better care, tailored to your needs. That’s why, at St. Luke’s, our mission is: The Patient. Above All Else.
The first step is to call 218.249.4000 and say “I want to establish care.” From there, our team will work with you to select a clinic and a provider. We’ll help you determine what type of provider you need, and help you find a clinic that’s convenient for you, whether that means close to work or close to home.
You can, at any point, change your provider, clinic, or any other aspect of your health care.