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Individual attention, team success

Tap, tap, tap—typing on her keyboard, Gaye Kasprzak, a procurement specialist at Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital, was busy analyzing and adjusting inventory. Before long, each tap of the keyboard started to hurt. “It got increasingly worse—more like a throbbing pain,” Gaye explains. That pain was in her neck and under her shoulder blade. Because it developed over time, she didn’t realize that it was work-related until she took some time off from work. “It wasn’t as bad when I went on vacation, and then I noticed it was better on the weekends. That’s when I realized it was work-related.”

Gaye decided to reach out to her supervisor who arranged for a workplace evaluation of her desk, ordered her a new chair, and adjusted her monitor height. Gaye says it helped, but it wasn’t enough.  That’s when they brought in Work Health, a member of Northern Light Health that provides occupational health services to employees of Northern Light Health and outside companies too.

“I met with Liz. She seemed to know right away what I was dealing with,” explains Gaye. She is referring to Liz Ross, NP, a certified family nurse practitioner with Work Health, who helped set up Gaye to meet with a massage therapist and strength trainer.

By the start of the new year in January, Gaye was visiting the Riverwalk Health Center in Newport twice a week for massage therapy. A few weeks later she began to include strength training. “They had this bar, like a dance bar, and I did pushups against the bar, and I also used resistance bands,” she explains.

In total, Gaye did about eight weeks of strength training and 12 weeks of massage therapy. In combination with the adjustments to her work station, she says the pain in her shoulder blade is gone. She’s doing some follow up appointments with the massage therapist for her neck but says she has come a long way in just a few short months. “I was in a lot of pain before I started with Work Health, and I am not in that pain now.”

Work Health provides assessment and treatment of work-related injuries and illnesses, physical exams, on-site ergonomic evaluations, independent medical evaluations, and a variety of employment-related testing services including urine drug collections and pulmonary function tests.

“We want our Northern Light Health employees to know about the services we provide to them, and we want the general public to know as well so that they can ask about having the services we offer in their workplaces,” explains Sharon D’Amboise, associate vice president of Work Health.

Work Health has clinics in Bangor, Pittsfield, Portland, Presque Isle, and its newest location, Waterville, where they just had a ribbon cutting. Work Health is anxious to ramp up its marketing campaign to both external and internal audiences within Northern Light Health. One person who swears by the results is Gaye Kasprzak. “It was a great experience—I would recommend to anyone to go to Work Health.”