Hospice Registered Nurses
Sylvia Michelle Dowdy-Ross, RN,BSN became Director of Blue Mountain Hospital District Home Health & Hospice in 2011. Prior to that, she worked as a nurse at Blue Mountain Hospital. Under her leadership, Blue Mountain Hospital District Home Health & Hospice attained accreditation through the Oregon Hospice Association in 2016. This is an honor that allows the agency to function at a highly-compliant level.
Sylvia attended the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) School of Nursing at the Eastern Oregon University (EOU) campus in LaGrande. She lives in John Day with her husband, Blain and two children. She enjoys hunting, gardening, being involved with her kids and family activities.
Since she was born and raised in John Day, she wanted to return to "give back to the community that helped raise me." Making sure that her staff has the tools they need to provide the best possible care for the community is important to Sylvia.
Jessie Saul, RN, WCC has been a registered nurse in our program since 2008. While attending nursing school at Blue Mountain Community College, she worked as a CNA. Jessie's greatest professional accomplishment was becoming Wound Care Certified in 2012.
Jessie had a very rewarding experience while doing hospice work during her clinical in nursing school and decided that avenue would be a good fit for her. She believes that this work is both challenging and rewarding . "I truly feel like I make a difference for our patients and our families. "
She was raised in Mount Vernon, Oregon, then spent some time in Everett, Washington and Pendleton before returning to live in her hometown. When Jessie is not working, you'll find her spending time with her husband and two daughters, camping, hunting, and re-purposing old furniture.
Angie Lusco, RN, BSN came into the program in 2011 as a registered nurse. After receiving her nursing degree at the OHSU School of Nursing on the EOU campus in LaGrande, she worked as a Women's Health RN and Skilled Nursing Facility Coordinator.
She grew up near Albany, Oregon and lived in Lebanon, the Dalles and LaGrande before moving to Mount Vernon where she lives with her husband and three children. Hobbies include sewing, gardening and raising goats, pigs, turkeys, and chickens.
Angie became involved in hospice "to help patients and families find comfort in their last days together." Teaching the families, patients, and caregivers how to manage issues at home is integral in her work.
Shannon Winegar, RN, BSN joined the program in 2006 as a registered nurse after being employed at other hospice programs in Grant County, Sisters, and Redmond as well as at the US Forest Service.
Her childhood was spent in Grant County and her nursing degree was earned at EOU. She now lives in Mount Vernon with her husband and they have three children and seven grandchildren. Shannon likes to tent-camp, hike, ride horses, quilt and travel in their recreational vehicle.
Working in health care and being able to serve the people of the community where she grew up are important to Shannon. The hospice experience allows you to meet people in their homes where they are most comfortable. Being part of a team that "provides medical, psychological and spiritual support to patients and family members and helping people who are dying to have peace, comfort and dignity" are what makes her job meaningful.
Melanie Smith, RN, BSN began working as a nurse in the program in 2014. She grew up in Prairie City where she was home-schooled and then attended Northwest Nazarene College to receive her nursing degree. Before returning home, she worked as a nurse at Santiam Hospital in Stayton in several different departments.
"A change of pace" was what attracted Melanie to the Home Health & Hospice program. Initially she was nervous, but Melanie has grown to love it. "I like being able to support families through the process and help the patients maintain quality of life and comfort through the final stages."
Melanie lives in John Day with her husband Brandon and four children; in addition to spending time as a family, she likes reading, crocheting, hiking and elk hunting.
Kaleigh Bellinger, RN joined the staff as a registered nurse and Case Manager in 2015 after serving as Nursing Supervisor at Juniper Ridge. She spent her childhood in Wichita Falls, Texas and attended Vernon College for her nursing degree. After getting married, she and her husband moved to Mount Vernon, Oregon to be part-owners in John Day True Value. They enjoy spending time with their two sons, going on RZR rides, camping and barbequing with friends.
Because her mom was a home health nurse, she was exposed to the rewards of home care and witnessed how people truly appreciated their care experience. Kaleigh knew that she wanted to make such a difference as well. "It is much more personal; your relationship goes beyond caregiver and you really become friends." She has grown to love her new community and is thankful for how people have made it feel like home for her.
Teresa Moery, RN began working as a nurse in the program in 2016. Since 1984, she has been working as a registered nurse in various settings. After graduating from Grant Union High School, she earned her degree from Good Samaritan School of Nursing.
Teresa credits Richard Smarr, a long-time hospice nurse who recently retired, with introducing her to Blue Mountain Hospice. What she really likes about working in hospice is "the trust that is developed between the caregiver, patient and family."
Before settling in John Day, Teresa lived in Portland and Bend. She has two grown sons and enjoys the outdoors, reading and cooking.