Brighton, Colo.,
11:28 AM

Medical Imaging supervisors celebrate decades at Platte Valley

Duane Livadney and Pat Nelms

Platte Valley Medical Center has many caregivers who have served the hospital for more than twenty years – a true testament to the strong culture of community at the hospital. Two of the hospital’s longest standing employees who both work in Medical Imaging have recently celebrated huge milestone anniversaries - Duane Livadney at 41 years and Pat Nelms at 32 years.   

In their combined 73 years working at the hospital, Pat and Duane consider Platte Valley to be their home away from home and take great pride in their work and the teams they’ve helped build over the decades.  

Pat Nelms is a Medical Imaging Supervisor who began her career here in 1975 in data entry. Five years later, she worked in the Emergency Room as an admissions clerk and then moved into X-ray. She moved to Florida in 1990, but Platte Valley called her and asked if she would come back and learn nuclear medicine, so she returned and worked in that department, as well as X-ray and mammography.   

Pat was born and raised in Brighton and enjoys working close to home and watching the hospital change over the years. In her current supervisory role, she oversees charges, MRI, front office schedulers, mammographers and X-ray technicians, and reviews all charges and revenue. Though she doesn’t provide direct patient care, she’s heavily involved in the teams she manages and fills in wherever she is needed.  

“I’ve always loved X-ray and I saw an opportunity to be close to home and have a job I loved,” Pat said.   

There’s been a great deal of change at Platte Valley over the years. It started out as a small, community-based hospital, and at the time was Colorado’s first two-stage hospital-nursing home medical unit. The hospital has continued to grow exponentially and moved to its current location in 2007.   

“We’ve always had the best equipment and technology and I attribute that to outstanding management and administration,” Pat said. “Our leadership team has always wanted the best for our patients, and they didn’t want them to have to travel to Denver to get outstanding care. They’ve always been great at getting us everything we need to provide world-class care. Without the administration, we wouldn’t have the hospital. They’ve been incredible.”  

Over the years, many younger techs have joined the Medical Imaging team and it’s been important to Pat to be able to share her experience and advice with them. “I want them to come to me for advice and know they can count on me,” she said.   

Pat initially went to college to become an elementary teacher but changed her mind after she got sick and needed X-rays. “When I was at the hospital, the X-ray tech was wonderful. It got me thinking that this could be a field I would enjoy. I loved taking photos and to me, an X-ray is like a different kind of photo.”  

The most rewarding part of her job has been being able to help resolve problems for patients and families that are upset. “There are lots of emotions involved when you’re sick and at a hospital,” she explained. “My goal is to help people who are angry or scared get through it. That’s what brings me joy. I really love working in X-ray and mammography. It’s always a challenge helping women identify cancer at the earliest stages. My goal is to make their images better than the previous year.”  

“When people come to Platte Valley, they know they’re going to get the best care. We have top-notch staff, skills, experience and technology, but we’re a small enough hospital that people know each other and feel like family. I want people to know they don’t have to go to Denver or to a larger hospital to get that experience. This truly is an amazing place to work.” 

Duane Livadney is a Medical Imaging and Radiology Supervisor who has worked at Platte Valley for 41 years in a variety of positions including CT, nuclear medicine and X-ray ultrasounds.  

Duane’s mom was an OR nurse and his dad was a dentist, so he grew up around medicine. His mom told him about X-ray techs in the OR and he gravitated towards it in college. After graduating in 1978, he enrolled in more classes to learn ultrasound and nuclear medicine. In 1979, the Brighton community wanted to build a new hospital. They only had a one-room X-ray area at the time, so a couple of techs from Porter would go to Platte Valley to help with their medical imaging. The radiologist on staff wanted to bring ultrasound to the hospital, so they sent Duane to school for it. By 1981, he was handling all nuclear medicine and ultrasound work at Platte Valley. The new facility opened in 1987, and the medical imaging director wanted to bring CT to the hospital, so they sent Duane back to school and when he was finished, he was working in all three modalities – CT, nuclear medicine and X-ray. 

“When the new hospital was built in the early 1980s, the Emergency Room became incredibly busy with head CTs and other injuries that required scans,” said Duane. “It was challenging because there was a lot of work and few techs to handle the workload. I cross-trained staff from X-ray to CT, which was a very challenging task, but one that needed to be done.”  

Duane has been in his supervisory role since 2007 when the current hospital was built. The department had to develop ways to advance to meet the high volume of patients. “Before Brighton grew, the hospital operations were a lot smaller,” he said. “I loved the small community. Back then it was just OB and ultrasound and I loved that I could help a patient in the hospital and then run into them in the grocery store.” 

Platte Valley has always been one of the first hospitals in the area and region to have new and advanced technologies. “I’ve had some control over what equipment we’ve been able to purchase over the years and that’s because of the strong support we’ve had from leadership,” Duane explained. “We’ve been able to get the latest and greatest technology to set us apart from other hospitals in the area. People don’t have to travel to a larger hospital to get that high level of care. We provide it here and it’s been an amazing experience.” 

A typical day for Duane involves staffing and working in all areas of medical imaging. “I love teaching and helping my team,” said Duane. “My goal is to continue to maintain image quality, fill staffing voids and find creative ways to manage on-call shifts to reduce burnout.” 

Duane is very proud of his team. He takes great pride in teaching them everything he’s learned over the years and does everything he can to ensure processes are in place to help eliminate burnout and keep everyone in a positive mindset. 

“I’ve had really good times with the teams over the years,” Duane said. “We’re all like family and I love the closeness and comradery. I’m privileged to have the experience and expansive knowledge that I’ve gained at Platte Valley. My career path went on a trajectory I never expected, but I was at the right place at the right time, and I wouldn’t have gotten it anywhere else.”