Meet Kelly Patnode, patient access specialist at our St. Paul hospital, who has a love for the Minnesota State Fair.
How long have you worked at Children’s?
I have worked at Children’s in St. Paul for 36 years.
What drew you to Children’s?
I started in St. Paul when it was on “the hill” (across the highway from our current location) as a volunteer at the age of 13. I was a volunteer for four years. I went to school for medical office occupations, but there were no openings at that time. When I was talking to someone at Children’s, they said there was an opening for a health unit coordinator. I asked what that person did, and they explained that person works at the main desk on the floors. I asked if that was similar to a ward secretary, and they said yes. I said, “Well, I have done that job for four years, so I think I could do it!”
My typical day starts with making a coffee. It is just the right way to start of the day. I then clean and restart all the computers, restock supplies and then either sit at the emergency room desk and start answering the phone, make calls for the providers, put together a chart or break down a chart or start with registering patients who come to be seen in the ER.
What do you love most about your job?
Every day is a different day. What I did yesterday at my job may be totally different than the day before or today. If I can get a smile out of a patient and their parents, it just makes the day better.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Usually I read books. But during the summertime I am busy because I also work at the Minnesota State Fair, selling box-office tickets for grandstand shows and pre-fair tickets. I have been working there for 38 years. So when I am not working at the hospital, I am at the fair. I am actually taking vacation from the hospital to work full time at the fair this year.