May 2018

A surgery patient’s feelings of apprehension were put to rest when she went to Joint Camp at River’s Edge Hospital in St. Peter, MN prior to successful knee surgery that helped her regain her mobility and independence.


No Gaps in Care for Surgery Patient at River’s Edge Hospital


Audrey Simonson isn’t used to sitting still. While raising their family, she and her husband were involved in many community organizations. They instilled in their children a love for camping and spending time outdoors. Friends and family frequently enjoy her company along with a good home-cooked meal. Audrey’s been a familiar figure in her North Mankato neighborhood for many years as she daily walked miles along its roadways and paths.

When this grandmother of 11 started to feel some pain in her knees, it slowed her down, but it didn’t stop her. Since her husband passed away 14 years ago, Audrey had been living independently and she would tell you that she has a high tolerance for pain. The last thing she wanted to do was to get her children worried about her when, in her mind, there might not be anything to worry about. Then she took a tumble in her home.

Her condition was worse than she thought

Audrey was able to get herself up and although she knew she was hurt, she didn’t say anything about the pain or the protruding bump on her shin. Two weeks later, when it was apparent that the pain wasn’t getting any better and walking became very difficult, she decided to mention the incident to her daughter who insisted that she see a doctor right away.

Audrey saw Dr. Jesse Botker at the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic (OFC) in Mankato the next day. She was surprised that the staff whooshed her into a wheelchair as she walked through the door of the clinic. Looking back, she thinks they immediately recognized the source of the bump on her shin. It was her kneecap.

Dr. Jesse Botker

Even though she had two previous shoulder surgeries at a different clinic, it was Audrey’s decision to go to Dr. Botker at OFC. A recent conversation with friends about their experience with this young, vibrant doctor had instilled her with the confidence that this was definitely the right choice. Her first visit confirmed her feelings as Dr. Botker thoroughly explained what was going on with her body, and how he could help her regain her mobility and independence. Surgery was scheduled to take place at River’s Edge Hospital.

Feelings of apprehension put to rest at Joint Camp

As the surgery date approached, Audrey couldn’t help but feel apprehensive as she anticipated what surgery and recovery were going to be like. She had some unpleasant experiences after her previous shoulder surgeries when the staff who were supposed to help her did not follow through. Her memory of feeling abandoned at her most vulnerable time became fresh in her mind again. As she went into this surgery, she wanted to have the confidence that all her needs would be met. That’s when she was invited to Joint Camp.

Joint Camp is an orientation program at River’s Edge Hospital for surgery patients. The hospital staff understand that surgery is a major event, so they want to help people feel as prepared as they can be. During the two-hour session, they tour the facility and staff from different departments discuss what patients can expect as far as what will happen before and after surgery at the hospital; what they should do at home; how they will manage pain; how physical therapists will be working with them; and how their recovery may continue after they leave the hospital.

For Audrey, it was nice to see the facility, but meeting the staff members who would oversee her care made all the difference in the world to her outlook. Getting to know these people at the hospital and learning that they all had a role in caring for her made Audrey feel like there weren’t going to be any gaps that she would have to manage by herself.

“I felt very confident that I had professional people to help with any need that I had,” she said.

Independence regained after successful surgery and recovery

Audrey had bilateral surgery to repair both her knees. She describes her caregivers at River’s Edge as helpful, pleasant and kind. There was never a time when the help she needed was delayed and she said that the atmosphere was conducive to an optimistic attitude about recovery.

Audrey can be seen walking again in her North Mankato neighborhood. She may not walk as fast or as long as she did before, but she has her independence back.

She told her daughter, “I finally feel happy again. It’s a relief to be able to walk and to not have pain.”

And to the staff at Orthopaedic Fracture Clinic and River’s Edge Hospital she said, “I’ll see you again when I have my hips done!”

The Emergency Department entrance at River’s Edge Hospital will be moving from the east side of the building to the north side of the building on June 7 as site work begins for the construction of the new emergency department.  Please refer to the map included with this notice for details of how to access the Emergency Department and where to park.  The entrance will be visible with a lit canopy and signage will be posted along Sunrise Drive and through the north parking lot.  If you have questions about accessing the Emergency Department after June 7 or about getting to the main entrance of the hospital, please contact Stephanie Holden, Chief Marketing & Development Officer at 507-934-7645.

SAINT PETER, Minn., May 15, 2018 – River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic officials today celebrated the groundbreaking of a nearly $46 million expansion project, alongside USDA Rural Development State Director Brad Finstad and local, state, and national officials.

“Solid infrastructure and modern healthcare facilities play a key role in the economic sustainability of rural communities – attracting new businesses, retaining population and providing opportunities for future growth,” said Finstad. “Not only will these services benefit local St. Peter residents, but they will also address the regional healthcare needs of surrounding communities for years to come.”

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic serves over nearly 46,000 residents in St. Peter and surrounding communities. The project includes renovation of the existing facility and expansion of approximately 35,000 square feet – providing this facility with the resources necessary to meet the demands of the rapidly increasing populations of the surrounding communities.  Once the project is complete approximately 20 full time equivalent positions will be added.

The new addition will create space for a larger emergency department with adjacent ER and Urgent Care services; a new pharmacy with a medication prep room; and 25 patient beds, nursing and support spaces.

Additionally, renovations to the surgery department will allow space for two additional operating rooms, allowing for continued growth.

Funding for the facility came in the form of a $33.3 million USDA Rural Development Community Facilities direct loan and a $5 million commercial loan through partnership with Peoples Bank Midwest. River’s Edge will contribute $7.6 million to the total $46 million project. Nearly $800,000 will go towards health e-connectivity in the form of nurse call, video, voice and data technology and approximately $160,000 will go towards resources for rural mental and behavioral health services.

For more information on USDA Rural Development programs, please contact your local Area Office by visiting

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic has been recognized as a DNV GL Healthcare certified Hip & Knee Replacement Center. The DNV GL Healthcare Hip and Knee Replacement Certification, based on standards set forth by DNV GL Healthcare and considering the guidelines of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, recognizes program excellence in patient care and outcomes.  River’s Edge received its first certification in 2017.

DNV GL Healthcare certification as a Hip & Knee Replacement Center validates the hospital’s excellence across the spectrum of hip and knee replacement care, from diagnosis to treatment, rehabilitation, education and outcomes.

“This certification affirms River’s Edge Hospital and our OrthoEdge program provide the best hip and knee replacement care,” says George Rohrich, CEO at River’s Edge. “Our staff and surgeons are amongst the best in the country.”

“Recertification as a ‘Center of Excellence’ demonstrates the commitment to high quality services and care by the OrthoEdge Team (The Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic and Rivers Edge Hospital), “ said Andrew Meyers, CEO of The Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic. “It signals to the community and region our combined passion to continually provide quality care for all patients, with this recertification validating the total Hip and Knee Programs quality and value. It’s what patients should look for when contemplating surgical treatment of hip or knee needing replacement.”

“Achieving certification shows commitment to excellence,” says Patrick Horine, CEO of DNV GL Healthcare. “It helps demonstrate to your community that you are performing at the highest level.”

I CAN Prevent Diabetes ®, a diabetes prevention program held at River’s Edge Hospital has received reaccreditation from the Centers for Disease Control.

The class, led by Jennifer Donkin, registered dietician and Nicole Boelter, exercise physiologist at River’s Edge, is a 12-month program for people who are at risk for type 2 diabetes.  It focuses on weight loss and increased physical activity.

Donkin has been leading the I CAN Prevent Diabetes ® class since January 2012 and has been sending data to the CDC for 5 years.  “It has been rewarding to work with the participants and see the progress they make in changing their lifestyle over the course of a year,” said Donkin.

Evaluators from the CDC noted that River’s Edge has met all the requirements for accreditation.  “This is a remarkable achievement of which you should be very proud.”

Participants are eligible if they have had a blood test indicating pre-diabetes or by taking a risk assessment at their doctor’s office.  Donkin said local providers are supportive of the class because they see the benefits.

The next I CAN Prevent Diabetes® class begins on August 29 at 6 p.m.  For more information, contact Jennifer Donkin at 507-934-7694.