Family Care Nurse Shares Her Experience of Becoming the Patient

By Guest Blogger: Ashlie Gates, RN

I am a family care nurse at Swedish Medical Center. Each day, I get the chance to teach eager and excited parents how to care for their new baby. I enjoy building relationships with these patients and their families and helping them feel confident and ready to care for their child when they leave the hospital. Recently, I got to experience the other end of this nurse/patient relationship. Nine months ago, I gave birth to my first child at Swedish Medical Center. I chose to deliver my daughter at Swedish because I just couldn’t imagine trusting anyone else with such a big moment in my life. It was the best decision I could have made.


I knew my co-workers were great, but I truly didn’t understand how great they were until I became their patient. My nurses were fabulous in both the Labor and Delivery and Family Care units. My labor and delivery nurse talked me through each procedure and helped me explore relaxation and pain management techniques during my labor. She was a wonderful cheerleader and helped boost my confidence to get through it.

My nurses in Family Care were there to assist me with my every need. It would have been easy for them to leave me alone assuming I knew what I was doing but they made sure they were there assisting me along the way. They also really took my husband under their wing. This was his first experience with a baby; they were patient and caring with him in showing him how to care for our daughter from changing her diaper to swaddling her for
the first time.

Experiencing the Women’s Services Department at Swedish Medical Center from the patient’s perspective has given me a whole new respect for my coworkers and I believe it has truly made me a better family care nurse. Because of my experiences as a nurse and a patient, I know that I can say with confidence, when you
deliver your baby at Swedish you will be getting the best care possible!  I often find myself telling people that I have the best job in the world!

Nurse Saves Co-Worker From Choking

Karen Ruberg, 7th floor nurse at Swedish Medical Center is thanking her co-workers for saving her life. “If I wasn’t at work, I might have died,” says Karen.

During a busy night shift on May 7th, Karen was trying to take a break and eat dinner between patients. Within seconds of taking a bite, a piece of chicken lodged deep in her throat. “I couldn’t cough, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t get any air in,” explains Karen. She rushed out to the nurse’s station hoping someone was there during the 1am hour. Thankfully, fellow nurse Sharon Bobel just happened to be charting and saw that Karen was in distress.

Sharon immediately performed the Heimlich on Karen but after two tries was unsuccessful. Another co-worker, nurse Jean Brady came to their aid. “Karen was starting to turn blue,” says Jean. “I gave her one big thrust and the chicken came flying out.” Karen says it was the scariest moment of her life but thanks God her co-workers came to her rescue. “They saved my life,” says Karen. “It all happened so quickly, but they jumped right in and I’m so grateful.”

All of them say, it was a humbling experience and a reminder of their important jobs as nurses. They are in the business of saving patient’s lives and don’t have to think twice about helping to save each other’s.


Swedish Medical Center Awarded Oncology Certification by the Joint Commission

Denver-area Hospital First in State to Achieve “Gold Seal” in Pancreatic and Lung Cancer Care

(Englewood, CO) Swedish Medical Center is the first Colorado hospital to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for certification in Pancreatic and Lung Cancer Care. As the third medical center in the country to achieve this award for pancreatic cancer care and the fifth in the country to achieve this award for lung cancer care, this certification recognizes dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for quality health care.


“This achievement acknowledges the exemplary care we provide to the patients of Colorado and the surrounding region,” said Mary M. White, President and CEO of Swedish Medical Center. “Our Oncology team deserves to be recognized for their outstanding dedication to quality care.”

In February, Swedish underwent a rigorous on-site survey by The Joint Commission that evaluated compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients, including infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management. The Joint Commission is a prestigious national medical accreditation organization that accredits more than 20,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States.

Swedish’s Pancreatic Cancer Services are offered as a part of the Center for Diseases of the Liver and Pancreas. As a leader in services offered in Colorado, the center has dedicated physicians and staff committed to comprehensive care and treatment to all pancreatic cancer patients. They provide the most advanced treatments and compassionate care to ensure that all of their patients achieve the best possible outcome.

“This achievement recognizes the commitment to best practice and outcomes by physicians, nursing staff, and hospital. It confirms that the Center for Diseases of the Liver and Pancreas has established itself as the leading institution for cancer treatment in the region,” says Eric Kortz, M.D.

The Lung Cancer Care program’s diverse team of specialists, advanced resources and full continuum of lung cancer care are important qualities that have helped them earn the trust and confidence of their patients and referring physicians. Patients are able to work directly with staff to coordinate and manage their treatments allowing them to devote more time and energy to achieve restoration in their health.

Both pancreatic and lung cancer patients benefit from having personal one on-one care from the entire staff. Patients have full access to nurse navigators, multidisciplinary care conferences, state-of-the-art equipment and expert clinical care.

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About Swedish Medical Center (
Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado, part of HealthONE, is a Level 1 Trauma Center and Joint-Commission-accredited Stroke, Cardiology and Cancer Center. Swedish has the highest quality care and the most advanced technologies and treatments in nearly every medical specialty and is an eight time winner of the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award and a Top 100 Hospital recognized by Reuters. An acute care hospital with 368 licensed beds, Swedish is located in the south metro Denver area where it has been a proud member of the community for more than 100 years. Annually, Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of 2,000 dedicated employees, 500 volunteers and more than 1,300 physicians.