Getting to know Glenn and Agnes Auchtung

When new nurses join the Parkview family, they have the unique opportunity to go through the Jumpstart Orientation program. These special days are used for onboarding, team building and patient simulations. After hearing amazing things about their performances, we wanted to meet two of the actors behind these simulations. We were pointed toward Glenn and Agnes Auchtung.

After years of working in the Midwest, the couple decided to spend their retirement working in side-by-side rooms at the Parkview Education Center, portraying patients suffering from a range of conditions. These performances have a huge impact on caregivers, who remember the interactions and teaching moments throughout their careers. This dedication to helping our nurses be their best, makes this dramatic duo two of the generous, invaluable People of Parkview.

Names: Glenn and Agnes Auchtung

Title: Standardized Patient for the Jumpstart Orientation program

Describe your career journey:

Agnes: I graduated from Northwestern Business College in Lima, Ohio in 1966 and international Business College in Fort Wayne in 1993. I worked at Aetna Insurance, IPFW and IU School of Medicine.

Glenn: I got my Bachelor of Science degree from Bob Jones University in 1966 and Master of Business administration from Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana as I moved to a new location.

I joined Arthur Anderson and Company as a junior auditor upon graduation and worked for them until 1976. This period of time included a four-year stint in Rio de Janeiro. I then spent two years working as a Manager of General Accounting for Florida Power and Light Company. The next four years I organized and managed a branch in office Tulsa, OK, for the State Auditor and Inspector. For the rest of my career, I served as a Certified Public Accountant in small accounting practices in Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana until my retirement.

What inspired you to pursue this hobby?

Agnes: After my husband and I retired we wanted to keep active, and the opportunity to become a standardized patient came up. After working in the medical field, it sounded like a fun thing to do. I was also a volunteer at Parkview for five years and it was really interesting.

Glenn: My wife talked me into applying and working with her.

What are your responsibilities in this role?

Agnes: I pretend to be a patient in the hospital for the new nurses that Parkview hired. One scenario is that I fall out of bed. It is the most fun one to do. The reactions that the nurses have varies widely, from crying, to thinking they failed to take care of me as a patient. Some nurses have told me that it is something they will never forget.

Glenn: I pretend that I am a patient in a hospital as part of the initial training for newly hired Parkview nurses. Specifically, I do three sessions where I have different conditions.

What are some of the unique challenges of this position?

Agnes: The nurses have different levels of experience and training, so I never know what questions they are going to ask. I try to be prepared for any questions they might ask. I also want to portray the correct medical symptoms.

Glenn: Exhibiting the knowledge necessary to accurately portray the medical conditions each session requires. These sessions have given me the opportunity to do additional research and share that information with the nurses.

The most rewarding?

Agnes: When a nurse tells me that my acting was really realistic. They have told me that I should get an Oscar for my performance! I would also say that maybe I can say or do something that will make the nurses’ jobs easier and that they will learn something through these simulations.

Glenn: I particularly enjoy anytime there’s a diabetes session. Since I really do have diabetes, this role comes very easily for me. I have had diabetes for about 40 years so I am completely aware of the problems and needs of a person with diabetes. While the scenario is hypothetical, I can share real life experiences with the nurses. It is especially rewarding when they ask me questions – some which I have never addressed before.

Is there a particular scenario that was memorable for you?

Glenn: I recently had a hypoglycemic episode. I was driving the wrong way down a busy street. Fortunately, I had enough sense to pull over to the side of the road and stop before I could be seriously injured or injure someone else. The next thing I knew, I was being treated by the EMS crew who took me to Parkview to make sure I was OK. Parkview kept me overnight for observation. One of the nurses who took care of me thought she had seen me before, but I was sure that I had never met her. I was wrong. She had recently attended the Jumpstart training program and recognized me as one of the standardized patients.

Agnes: She remembered me too! She said, “You’re the one who fell out of the bed!”

What does it mean to you that you’re able to do this together?

Agnes: The fact that we’re able to do the simulations on the same day is the main reason we have been standardized patients for around four years. We can eat lunch together and we go back and forth to each other’s rooms.

What are your greatest passions?

Glenn: I enjoy reading fiction books. They serve as an escape mechanism from the real life cares of the world. I have enjoyed reading all of my life. Reading opens up new world to me and provides a relaxing way to provide additional educational opportunities. It’s a great substitute for television.

If you could tell people to read one book, which would it be?

Agnes: The greatest book ever written is the Bible. There is an answer in the Bible for every problem you will ever have.

Glenn: I have to choose the Bible. The Bible provides a roadmap for our lives and a hope for the future.

What would we find on your bucket list and what do you plan to check off next?

Agnes: The only thing on my bucket list is to go on a cruise. But I can never do that. I get motion sickness very easily.

Glenn: I really don’t have a bucket list, but I do enjoy traveling and sightseeing. Places of historical interest are most appealing. In that regard, I would love to visit Williamsburg and Jamestown. Of course, the trip would include a repeat visit to Washington D.C.

What is your personal motto?

Agnes: Live life to the fullest. Then when you get older, you won’t regret not doing something.

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