Preceptor Workshop: Developing the Informal Leader

Preceptors at Speare
(l-r) Carrie Ayers – Medical Assistant, Speare Primary Care, Emily Sandy – RT (R) (CT) PACS Administrator, Laurie Bolognani – BS, MA, SHRM-SCP HR Officer, Christianna Houston – Financial Manager, RehabFit, Sally Collins – RN Medical Surgical Unit, Amanda Fay – MSN, RN, Assistant Clinical Nursing Professor, Plymouth State University, Juanita Wade – Radiology Technologist RT(R)

Speare has recently been working with Amanda B. Fay, MSN, RN, Assistant Clinical Nursing Professor, Plymouth State University. Amanda has presented to 5 groups of hospital-wide department staff since April – Total 48 staff. 

The Preceptor workshop is designed specifically focusing on neuroscientific principles to engage the learner actively through discussion, story, and experiential exercises.

Each of the learners is asked to participate by providing stories from their lived experiences as they traveled from novice to expert in their field. Together staff explored behaviors that do not serve them or their colleagues in a professional setting and how these behaviors can be shifted to enhance growth personally and professional to increase staff retention, improve morale, ensure safe behaviors and positive patient outcomes. 

Preceptors balancing and making adjustments
Working together, getting a feel for things and making minor adjustments.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Learners will leave the workshop with a visual plan on who they want to be as a preceptor.
  • Learners will identify one mindset behavior that they will shift from fixed to a growth state.
  • Learners will leave the workshop with an awareness of their impact on the development of a colleague.

Speare is very appreciative of Amanda’s time and knowledge sharing to enhance the experience of new staff.

A Healthy Home – Maintaining a Healthy Environment

Patients at Speare Memorial Hospital consistently rank the hospital’s cleanliness as high and often comment about it in satisfaction surveys. In charge of keeping Speare hygienic, Jerica Vallie, director of environmental
services, knows best how to clean a home and keep the germs out.

Jerica cleaning mirror

Part of a healthy lifestyle is maintaining a healthy environment to live in. Proper hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the spreading of germs. Disease-causing bacteria is most often transferred to your hands from everything you touch. The best protection is simply to wash your hands with soap and water for 30 seconds before and after activities throughout the day. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is quick and effective when your hands are not visibly soiled. Antimicrobial soaps have not proven to provide additional health benefits and could release harmful agents into your environment.

cleaning tools

Beyond cleaning your hands is cleaning the surfaces your hands come into contact with. The order in which you clean your home is far more critical than the cleaning products you use. Here are a few key points to an effective cleaning process.

  • Cleanest to dirtiest: Start by cleaning the room that is likely to have the lowest bacterial count. The bathroom typically has a higher microbial load than the living room or bedroom. Washing your hands and changing your cleaning rag between rooms can prevent cross-contamination. As I often explain to my staff, you wouldn’t wash the bottom of your feet and then your face with the same cloth! The same goes for cleaning your home.
  • High Touch Surfaces: It is important to remove organisms from the surfaces we touch frequently, like doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, and TV remotes. Although these areas appear “clean” to the naked eye, when studied under a microscope, they are some of the most contaminated areas in a home.
  • Elbow grease: There is a variety of cleaning products on the market today that claim to disinfect your surfaces. None of these products will be effective without the presence of good old elbow grease! The physical action of cleaning removes the bulk of contamination on a surface. Once a surface is sufficiently clean, chemical disinfectants can be useful in destroying remaining germs.

As concerned as we are about safeguarding ourselves from external threats in our home, we must not discount the preventable harm within our home. So, wash your hands, roll up your sleeves, and fight off infections!

10 Reasons Men Should Do Yoga

men doing yoga

Most yoga classes are dominated by women. However, yoga is often recommended as a health practice for both men and women. Some even say that yoga classes are more fun and challenging than most gym workouts.

As a man, you might not be ready to give up your current exercise habits for something unfamiliar. You could be thinking – “yoga’s too feminine”, “I’m not flexible enough” or “Yoga isn’t real exercise”. Maybe you’re wondering “What can some stretching and breathing exercises really do for me?”

Just a few of the many benefits yoga can bring you physically and mentally include:

men yoga
  1. Enhanced Strength and Flexibility: Being flexible is not a prerequisite to doing yoga. That’s like thinking you need to be strong before lifting weights or thin before eating healthy. Doing yoga will help improve your flexibility and balance, and strengthen your muscles as well.
  2. Weight Loss: Yoga is good for your gut health. The bending, the stretching, the breathing and different positions all help massage your internal organs, which gives an instant boost in your metabolic rate. Yoga is also a practice of mindfulness which easily translates into awareness of eating, sleeping and lifestyle habits.
  3. Injury Prevention: Yoga stretches your whole body, helping to gently alleviate the pain you may have in your joints. Since yoga only requires light – though often challenging – poses that help increase strength and flexibility this will more than likely decrease your risk of injury.
  4. Relieve Chronic Lower Back Pain: Sitting for hours on end can be a real pain in the neck and back. Yoga is one of the best ways to combat pain and misalignment and help strengthen your back, neck, and shoulders giving you better posture. Encouraging proper posture goes a long way to preventing future aches and pains.
  5. Fountain of Youth: No matter your age, yoga will make you feel alive and full of vitality inside and out. This, of course, doesn’t happen overnight, so you have to commit to a regular routine, even if it’s just for three sessions a week.
  6. Stress Relief: Yoga is one of the best ways to naturally boost your mental health – to clear and calm your mind. Yoga will help you fight all the negativity around you, and replace those feelings with positive vibes – improving your mood and energy right away.
  7. Improve Sexual Performance: Studies show that men of all ages can enjoy the benefits of yoga when it comes to sexual function. Increased flexibility and lower stress levels lead to better sexual performance. This includes desire, erection, performance, confidence, and orgasm.
  8. Stronger Bones: There are a lot of yoga poses that can increase your range of motion, overall mobility, and boost your bone health.
  9. Personal Challenges: Learning new poses and seeing your progress are great ways to challenge yourself physically and mentally to achieve new goals.
  10. Overall Wellbeing: If you’re looking to make a major lifestyle change, yoga is a great place to start as it can literally be done anywhere and promotes both physical health and mental toughness.

Join Us For Guy Yoga

Have these ten reasons convinced you to give yoga a try? Join the Speare Primary Care and RehabFit teams for Guy Yoga. This all-levels yoga class – just for men – will be held on Wednesday, August 28th at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room at Speare at Boulder Point, 103 Boulder Point Dr. Plymouth, NH. Appetizers will be provided by Peppercorn Natural Foods. The cost per $10 per person. Please RSVP to Speare Primary Care 603-238-2194 or RehabFit 603-238-2225.

Annual Golf Classic Raised Over $33,000 for School Dental Health Program

2019 Golf Tournament 059 minor adjustments for video digital
Premier Event Sponsor, Dr. Joan Kirschner (third from left) of Plymouth General Dentistry, joins (l-r) Speare’s Ruth Doane, Dental Hygienist, Michelle McEwen, CEO, and Cheryl Callnan, Director of Development at the 21st annual Speare Golf Classic.

Despite ominous predictions of rain, the sun came out on June 6th for Speare’s 21st Annual Golf Classic.

“A great group of golfers joined us for the fundraiser,” says Cheryl Callnan, director of development at Speare and coordinator of the event. “We are so pleased that more than $33,000 was raised for our School Dental Health Program!”

Participants enjoyed food, fun, and fabulous prizes provided by event sponsors and donors.

“The generosity of our sponsors and the time and hard work that our tournament volunteers put in make this event such a success,” says Ruth Doane, dental hygienist for the Program. “All of the dental services that we provide through the Program are either free or at a low cost, and the funds raised from the golf tournament ensure that we can continue to provide these services.”

Speare’s School Dental Health Program, now in its 21st year, benefits from a strong collaboration between local schools, area dentists, school nurses, parents, students, and Speare Memorial Hospital.

“When I moved to Plymouth and learned about this program, I knew I wanted to get involved and sponsoring the golf tournament was a great way to do this,” says Dr. Joan Kirschner of Plymouth General Dentistry.” Tooth decay is preventable, yet it remains a chronic childhood disease. Children need access to, and education about, the importance of oral care and that’s the mission of Speare’s program.”

Final Sponsor List

Lyme Disease: Do Your Summer Plans Include Avoiding Ticks?

Remember when you could spend a leisurely summer day outdoors with little concern about ticks? With the tick population on the rise, those are bygone days. And the increase in ticks means a surge in the diseases they transmit.

New Hampshire has one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the country, which is the most common tick-borne disease in our region. We are in the midst of the peak tick season—May through the end of September— but you can protect yourself now.

Before gardening, camping, hiking, or just playing outdoors, make preventing tick bites part of your plans.

lyme disease tick free

Protect Yourself from Tick Bites

  • Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks
  • Wear light-colored clothing
  • Wear long pants and shirt sleeves
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET
  • Conduct daily tick checks
  • Remove ticks promptly

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through a bite by an infected black-legged (deer) tick. A recent sampling in New Hampshire identified that up to 60% of deer ticks carry this bacterium.

Know Where to Expect Ticks

Blacklegged ticks (the ticks that cause Lyme disease) live in moist and humid environments, particularly in and near wooded or grassy areas. You may get a tick on you during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through leaves and bushes. To avoid ticks, walk in the center of trails and avoid walking through tall bushes or other vegetation.

Most humans are infected by tiny nymph ticks, which are difficult to see at sizes less than 2mm. While ticks can attach to any part of the body, you will most often find them in hidden spots like the groin, armpits, and scalp. It usually takes an attached tick 36 to 48 hours or more to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium. If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor.

Lyme disease can be treated rapidly and successfully with antibiotics, especially if treatment begins in the early stages. If not treated, the infection can spread to your joints, heart, and nervous system.

Repel Ticks on Skin and Clothing

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

Perform Daily Tick Checks

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Search your entire body for ticks when you return from an area that may have ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find. Take special care to check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:

Graphic: Tick sizes
  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears
  • Inside the belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around all head and body hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist

Check your clothing and pets for ticks because they may carry ticks into the house. Check clothes and pets carefully and remove any ticks that are found. Place clothes into a dryer on high heat to kill ticks.

Remove Attached Ticks Quickly and Correctly

Remove an attached tick with fine-tipped tweezers as soon as you notice it. If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small; however, other diseases may be transmitted more quickly. Over the next few weeks, watch for signs or symptoms of Lyme disease.

Know the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Skin rash (begins up to 30-days after a bite and grows up to 12 inches into a bull’s-eye)

Be Alert for Fever or Rash

Even if you don’t remember being bitten by a tick, an unexpected summer fever or odd rash may be the first signs of Lyme disease, particularly if you’ve been in tick habitat. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms.

See a healthcare provider if you have signs or symptoms. For more information, see tick removal.

Don’t become a prisoner in your home this summer and take the necessary precautions to stay tick-free and enjoy the beautiful outdoors!

A Family Legacy

Mary Durgin on beach5

At least twice a year, you will see Mary Durgin at Speare Memorial Hospital. It’s not to see a physician or to have any kind of medical procedure. It’s to hand-deliver a donation from the trust set up years ago by her brother, George V. Durgin.

“George and I grew up in Campton, and at that time, the hospital was located directly across from our family farm on the Campton-Plymouth town line. We both became aware of how important it was to have a hospital in our community, and that is why George included Speare as a beneficiary of his charitable trust,” says Mary.

Emily Balch Hospital Plymouth NH with frame

Beginning in 2003, donations from George’s trust have helped support the Hospital’s construction projects, the purchase of new equipment and the general day-to-day operations of our community Hospital. And, because of George’s thoughtful planning for the future, his generosity will impact generations to come. 


George Varnum Durgin April 5 1918 March 20 2001

George V. Durgin was born on the family farm in Campton, New Hampshire on April 5, 1918. He graduated from Plymouth High School and started working in the family business until he left home at the age of 24 to enlist in the United States Army Air Force. George saw the world in his twenty-plus years in the Air Force.

When George retired from the military at the age of 51, he went on to hold positions as a bank teller at Plymouth Guaranty, Selectman of the Town of Campton, part-time Deputy Sheriff of Grafton County, Treasurer of the Grange Fair, and traveling the United States working for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Weight Loss Surgery at Speare

Weight Loss Center Plymouth NH

It’s time. Medical science has determined that weight loss surgery saves lives. Maybe it can save yours or the life of someone you know.

After much anticipation, Plymouth General Surgery has opened its Weight Loss Surgery Center at Speare. Offering two of the most successful and
widely performed procedures—gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy—patients are now being accepted into the program.

Have you been unsuccessful in losing weight for the long-term, even after dieting, exercising, or using medications? Are you highly motivated to become a healthier and fitter person? Do you have a body mass index (BMI) above 40–which means about 100 pounds overweight for men and about
80 pounds for women? Then you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery. Surgery may also be an option if you suffer from life-threatening cardiopulmonary problems like severe sleep apnea, obesity-related heart disease or diabetes, and have a BMI between 35 and 40.

BMI Chart

Obesity is a chronic health condition that is very difficult to treat, but weight loss surgery has proven to be a safe and effective way to cure it. Surgery improves most obesity-related conditions, saving lives. One study found that blood sugar levels of most obese patients with diabetes returned
to normal immediately after surgery. Other findings include control of diabetes, lowered blood pressure and total cholesterol, relief from sleep apnea, severe acid reflux, and urinary stress incontinence, and eased lower back and osteoarthritis pain. Patients also report enhanced mobility and improved mood and self-esteem. Five years after weight loss surgery, patients have usually lost 50–70% of their excess weight.

Did You Know?

Medical conditions associated with obesity are usually cured or significantly improved by weight loss surgery, including the following:

  • 99% Heart Burn (GERD)
  • 97% High Cholesterol
  • 95% Heart Failure
  • 95% Diabetes
  • 92% High Blood Pressure
  • 82% Arthritis
  • 80% Sleep Apnea
PHOTO (L R) Janette Gaumer, RD, LD, Ryanne Haskell, RD, LD, E. James Hanowell, DO, James Koren, MD, Lauren Sirignano, RN, BSN, Becky Chase MS, RCEP (for fb)
Weight Loss Surgery Center Team (L-R) Janette Gaumer, RD, LD, Ryanne Haskell, RD, LD, E. James Hanowell, DO, James Koren, MD, Lauren Sirignano, RN, BSN, Becky Chase MS, RCEP

Dr. James Koren Jr. and Dr. E. James Hanowell, of Plymouth General Surgery, are highly experienced in minimally invasive surgical techniques to help patients achieve weight loss, primarily by limiting how much food your stomach can hold and changing how your body absorbs calories and

If you feel that now is the time for you to end the burden of obesity, visit to reserve your spot at an upcoming Weight Loss Surgery Center Info Session on Thursday, Jule 11th, August 8th or September 12th, at 5 pm at 103 Boulder Point Drive in Plymouth. For more information please call 603-536- 5670.

Credit: Wittgrove AC, Clark GW., Obes. Surg. 2000, et al.

Esophageal Cancer: On the Rise

While many cancer deaths are decreasing across our country, there is one growing at an alarming rate – esophageal cancer. And this is of tremendous concern to Dr. Joseph Casey, of Plymouth General Surgery.

“Cancer of the esophagus is one of the fastest growing cancer diagnoses in the United States, with nearly 18,000 new cases diagnosed annually,” says Dr. Casey. “It often begins as gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the food pipe, irritating the lining of the esophagus.”

acid reflux and heartburn
Image: the esophagus is the muscular tube that carries all food and liquid from the mouth into the stomach to begin digestion.

“Smoking can lead to esophageal cancer as well as frequent alcohol consumption because they cause injury to the lining of the esophagus,” says
Dr. Casey. “There are a number of risk factors that can cause acid reflux and the chain of health issues it can set off.”

  • Too much caffeine and chocolate – this can relax the valve that connects the esophagus to the stomach, allowing more material to go back up into the esophagus.
  • Spicy foods, tomato products, smoked and cured meats, and citrus fruits – all have been linked to acid reflux.
  • Obesity could also be a factor – all that extra pressure on the abdomen forces fluid back up into the chest, which leads to more reflux.

Treatment of reflux, identification of Barrett’s esophagus, and early detection of esophageal cancer is key. If you are experiencing heartburn
several times a week or over a long period of time, pain or difficulty when swallowing, hoarseness, excessive coughing, chest pain or burning, or
unintentional weight loss, you should talk to your doctor about treatment options for reflux and screening tests for Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.

“Using the cutting-edge technology and testing available at Speare, we can successfully treat reflux and help to prevent the development of esophageal cancer,” says Dr. Casey.

The physicians at Plymouth General Surgery specialize in the treatment of heartburn, reflux, and Barrett’s esophagus. We offer personalized counseling and treatment options, including the following:

  • Dietary & medication management
  • Endoscopy to screen for Barrett’s tissue & esophageal cancer
  • Endoscopic treatment to remove Barrett’s tissue
  • Minimally invasive surgical procedures for the control of reflux.

Staying ahead of the game with reflux is what can save you from a whole lot of discomfort—and potentially save your life.

To learn more and understand your risk for developing esophageal cancer, call Plymouth General Surgery at 603-536-5670 to make an appointment.

Wine, Women, Wisdom and Lots of Laughter

On May 9, 2019, Speare Memorial Hospital held its 9th annual Wine Women & Wisdom at the Common Man in Plymouth for over 200 women from communities around central New Hampshire.

The doors opened at 4:30 pm for attendees to enjoy a wine tasting, light dinner buffet, buy chances on raffle prizes, and shop the vendor room filled with local women-owned businesses.

Jennifer Hennessy A Scents of Joy

Jennifer Hennessey, RN in Speare’s Birthing Suite, kicked off the speaker portion of the event with “A Scents of Joy” – about aromatherapy and the different scents we use at the hospital – Peppermint, Orange and Lavender – and their effects in improving patient wellness.

Jannette Gaumer Eat from the Ground, Lose a Pound

The second presentation was, “Eat From the Ground and Lose a Pound” by Speare Memorial Hospital nutritionist, Janette Gaumer, RD/LD who encouraged the audience “Don’t Deny yourself foods, listen to your body and have moderation and portion control.”

Rounding out the first half of our event was “Chair Yoga, No Kidding” with the team from RehabFit.

RehabFit Chair Yoga, No Kidding

Rebeccah Chase, MS, CSCS, RCEP, with assistance from
Leah Baron, MS and Christianna Houston lead the audience in yoga stretching exercises and poses that help improve flexibility, strength, reduce stress and improve mental clarity.

Following a brief intermission of more shopping and networking, comedian, Nancy Witter had the audience in stitches with her comedy stylings, mixing motivational bits with her sharp-witted comedy.

Laughter is the Best Medicine Wine, Women & Wisdom 2019 (137)

Event Photos

Thank you to the generous sponsors and local women-owned business vendors who helped to make this event possible. (Please click on their names below for more information about their products and services.


105.7 The River



NH Front Page (Salmon Press)

Venture Print Unlimited – Minuteman Press of Plymouth

Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative


Got Lunch! Speare funds program to relieve hunger

Got Lunch 1 9138
(L-R) Barbara McElroy, Plymouth; Maggie Brox, Rumney; Julie Webster, Campton; Carol Perkins, Plymouth; Elena Worrall, Ashland/Holderness; Mary Kietzman, Plymouth; Margaret Salt, Plymouth

Exhilarating. Worthwhile. Beneficial…for the children and ourselves. These are the words that came to mind when women from several local Got Lunch! programs in the region were asked to describe the volunteer work they do.

The women gathered when Speare awarded Got Lunch! programs in Plymouth, Rumney, Campton/ Thornton, and Ashland/Holderness with funding through the hospital’s Community Grants Program.

Got Lunch! is a volunteer community organization that provides lunches to school-age children during the summer months, when many children are at nutritional risk because subsidized school lunch programs are not available. Many of the volunteers are retired teachers and social service professionals, who know all-too-well the plight many children face during the summer break.

“I’ve seen children hungry and looking for food during the school year,” says former teacher Margaret Salt of Got Lunch! Plymouth, “I have no idea how they would go 10 weeks without anything.”

The programs are busy during the winter months collecting and storing nonperishable food with the assistance of area churches, schools, and community partners. On the first Monday after school is out, Got Lunch! programs begin delivering five days’ worth of food supplies for each child in the homes that have signed up.

“Each program has its own twist, but we all stress healthy foods with lots of fruits and veggies,” says Elena Worrall of the Ashland/Holderness program.

The communities are seeking volunteers – Whatever your schedule, there will be a way for you to help. Schedules are built around volunteer vacation plans. In 2019 food deliveries will be made from June 24 until August 19, on Monday mornings. Julie Webster of Got Lunch! Campton says the experience is very rewarding and that it’s wonderful to see young kids eagerly greet them Monday morning when the deliveries are made.

The program is also looking for long-term helpers for planning and fundraising. Interested in Volunteering?

“We couldn’t sustain this program without funding such as the Speare Community Health Grant,” says Barbara McElroy, of Got Lunch! Plymouth. All funds raised, including the grant from Speare, go directly toward purchasing food.