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Maneuvering through uncertainty: Serving the health care needs of the Hastings community for a quarter of a century
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Maneuvering through uncertainty: Serving the health care needs of the Hastings community for a quarter of a century

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HASTINGS — It has been a trying time for the health care industry this year with the coronavirus pandemic. Both health workers and the public safety was threatened by the virus, and the health care system itself faced challenges as never before.

Helping to maneuver through the uncertainty of the pandemic for Mary Lanning Healthcare was Lisa Brandt, CSP, who serves as the hospital’s public relations and marketing services director. The virus presented many never-before-seen challenges, but Brandt’s 35 years of experience in the business helped the hospital make sure good, reliable information was available to the public.

A Lincoln native, Brandt has worked in marketing for nearly 35 years. She spent a dozen years in advertising agencies prior to joining Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings in 1996.

Her background includes copywriting and account management, as well as media strategy development and media direction. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism/advertising and did graduate work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2010, she was recognized as a Young Careerist by the YWCA, and earned a certificate in strategic planning (CSP) from the American Hospital Association in 2016.

What helped her through the pandemic is her belief that the central focus of all health care communications should be on the patient — what is important to them and what they want to know.

“This aligns with the overall mission of Mary Lanning and our patient-centered philosophy,” Brandt said. “It’s important for any organization or business to never lose sight of your audience, and address your messages specifically to them.”

One of the reasons she has stayed at Mary Lanning Healthcare for the last quarter-century is the hospital’s work environment.

“As a strengths-based organization, the approach the human capital is to support and build on one’s own personal strengths,” she said. “Working to your strengths brings out the best in people. I see that in my colleagues. And I feel that support from our leadership team. So many of my coworkers have longevity here — a legacy of work. Among my own team of three in the marketing department, we have almost 50 years of combined experience — just at MLH.”

During Brandt’s 25 years at the hospital, she said she has “always been proud to say that I work at Mary Lanning.”

“It’s a good hospital with a clear focus on patient care,” she said.

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Brandt said the health care world has changed dramatically since she started there in 1996.

“At that time, we had four clinics; now there are more than 20, located throughout the region,” Brandt said. “The hospital itself has grown as well, both physically and in the number of health care services offered.”

Brandt said patients and their family members are more educated about, and involved in, their care.

“This is so positive,” she said. “Also, the emergence of the EMR (Electronic Medical Record) has made a huge impact on how patients and providers interact and communicate.”

Brandt said Mary Lanning has also forged strong alliances with statewide providers such as Bryan Health (for Bryan Heart-Mary Lanning Cardiology), UNMC (teaming with many of Mary Lanning Healthcare’s cancer services/treatments) and a vast network of critical access hospitals.

“This brings specialized services to Mary Lanning and provides great access to care,” she said. “This can then be delivered to patients on-site, through weekly/monthly clinics and via telehealth, which has really surged over the past 6-7 months.”

Brandt said the roles of women in health care, and the opportunities available to them, have increased significantly, over the past two decades.

“There are so many career choices for women in health care, not only in the delivery of care, but in research, analytics, quality, leadership and, of course, marketing,” she said. “This is a short list — it goes far deeper. Plus, as a Gallup Great Workplace Award winner for six consecutive years, MLH strives to create a positive, engaged workforce, regardless of gender, which ultimately benefits those we serve.”

When describing the nature of her work at Mary Lanning Healthcare, she said, “It’s telling patients’ stories.”

“Time after time, we hear inspiring stories of recovery and hope from our patients,” she said. “As we talked with them, the same words kept coming up ... ‘inspiration,’ ‘inspired care.’ They saw this in their caregivers here. I’ve seen that, too, all throughout MLH.”

Brandt said the hospital’s goal, in marketing, has been to communicate that story, through the testaments of patients and staff, using their own words.

“There’s no scripting,” she said. “When the words are genuine and heartfelt, people see this. And it resonates with their own situations, or that of their family and friends.”

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