The Weinkopff Way
by Cate Murway
“Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon.” ~Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjold [1905-1961]
The healthcare reform bill was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. One of the provisions of the bill is that Medicare will either not pay, or significantly decrease the reimbursement funds for hospital readmissions that occur within 30 days of discharge. The three diagnoses targeted include heart failure, myocardial infarction and pneumonia.
Recognizing the need to prevent these readmissions, Kristin Marie Weinkopff, BHS ’94 and several other nurses on the 14-bed Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) at Bryn Mawr Hospital are members of the Cardiac Care Unit Nursing Council at Bryn Mawr Medical Center. This team developed a telephone-based intervention project in which the nurses followed up with patients by placing a call the first 24-48 hours after discharge.
Kristin Weinkopff’s career has been punctuated with noteworthy achievements for her spirit of good stewardship as a selfless humanitarian. It’s just her way.
She understands needs, advocating for people at their weakest, delivering compassionate, competent, safe, and efficient nursing care. Kristin has been able to touch a life in a moment and create a lasting impression, proving daily that nursing is a dynamic process of caring, based on a theoretical body of knowledge.
Kristin dispenses comfort, compassion, and caring without even a prescription. Nurses are very patient people.
“A nurse will always give us hope, an angel with a stethoscope.” Terri Guillemets, quotation anthologist
[actually Gerhard Pierre according to his birth certificate],
a Keystone Lighting warehouse manager,
met his future mother-in-law, Matilda [Cherubini] at the plant.
She and her husband, his future father-in-law,
George Ditto, Sr. recognized that he was a
wonderful man and set him up on a date
with their daughter, Irene Florence Ditto, BHS ‘69.
Per Kristin, “Opposites attracted!”
Kristin’s mother retired from various clerical positions and she currently resides in the Crestview Center in Langhorne. Her brother, Eric Gerhard “Ricky” Jr., who attended Valley Day School and graduated from Bristol High in 1991, still resides with Kristin and her son, Ryan Lawrence Weinkopff, BHS ’14.
Her late paternal grandparents, German born, WWII Army veteran Gerhard and his wife, Adelaide Weinkopff were Bristol Borough residents
“I say I miss my Dad at least once a day and mean it every single time.”
Kristin seems to have always accepted what life dishes out in a composed way. Her high school senior quote stated, ‘our greatest glory is not in never falling but rising every time we fall.”’
Her cousin, Rudy Ditto, commented, “Kristin is such a good daughter, mother and cousin. So any time spent with her is a memory.”
She was actually named for the maternity nurse, who had helped her mother when she was being born, and is the first in her immediate family to pursue a medical career. Only her Uncle George Ditto’s wife, her Aunt Nancy Sanders Ditto, is an NICU nurse at Lower Bucks Hospital.
“No, no medical people. My family was kind of working class. I wanted to be a Nurse since I got my tonsils out when I was twelve. The Nurse made me feel safe and secure. I wanted to be able to help people.” It’s just her way.
She began her education at Holy Family and Manor Colleges and completed her Nursing degree at Abington Memorial Hospital Dixon School of Nursing.
Kristin previously worked with complex medical situations at the Geisinger Health System and has now been a dedicated Bryn Mawr/ Main Line Health Neuro Cardiac ICU Nurse since 2007. “I really like it at Bryn Mawr.” She won the quarterly Nurse Excellence Award, the first one in her unit to do so. Setting the standard once again, Kristin was most recently honored as the first Bryn Mawr Hospital “Daisy’ recipient.
What is the Daisy award? Daisy is an acronym standing for ‘diseases attacking the immune system’ and is recognition in appreciation of the extraordinary service nurses provide daily. Cinnabon and The DAISY Foundation reward excellence in the nursing profession, recognizing the extraordinary compassion, clinical expertise and outstanding personalized care exhibited by nurses every day.
Bonnie and Mark Barnes of Glen Ellen, CA, and their family members established The DAISY Foundation in January 2000 to recognize nurses after their son, J. Patrick Barnes died from complications of a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) at the age of 33. During his hospital stay, Pat lost his appetite and found it difficult to eat. He would only eat Cinnabon rolls, and he insisted his nurses have some, too.
The Barnes family wants everyone to remember their son and the extraordinary teamwork it takes to provide outstanding patient care.
“Whenever nurses smell that wonderful Cinnabon aroma, they should take a moment to think about how special they are because of their dedication to caring for the rest of us.”
Kristin Weinkopff was awarded with a signature lapel pin and a hand-carved serpentine stone sculpture entitled, ‘A Healer’s Touch’, crafted by a Shona artist in a village in Zimbabwe. She has made a profound difference in the lives of her patients and their families. The family of a 36 year old male who had had a heart attack, nominated her. The statue is a very sensitive depiction of the unique relationship nurses have with their patients.
Shona healers are affectionately regarded as treasures by those they care for, and the well-being and safety of the healer is of community-wide importance.
Historic Bristol on the Delaware has always been Kristin’s home. She grew up on Wilson Avenue. Her high school sports were field hockey, cheerleading, basketball and softball.
Fellow athlete, Kelli Brandt Rosado, BHS Athlete of the Year shared, “Kristin ran the court great for a power forward. You could count on Kristin to support you in the fast break but also on the weak side with her strong ability to block out and rebound. Kristin provided the Warriors with many put-backs, dumping it in after working so hard to box out and hold her ground near the basket!”
Kristin was also a member of the Student Council. A particularly proud memory is that both she and her mother were BHS National Honor Society students.
She has especially fond memories of her chemistry teacher, Mrs. Barbara Olshefsky, who currently resides in Morrisville. “My first year in college, my professor said ‘you obviously took chemistry before. You were taught so well, you could teach this class.’”
Kristin received the U.S. Army Reserve National Scholar/Athlete Award for Academic and Athletic Excellence on June 8, 1994.
She is very modest. Her talents win the approval and applause of others. It’s just her way.
Her favorite foods?
Kristin likes the laidback cool Phinny Magee's Pub. “Phinney’s has the best food. Their cook, John is amazing.” The pub fries and the crab and chicken sandwich are her choices.
“Mom was not a good cook.” Kristin said she often joked that “Mrs. Paul’s is our cook”. But she recalls that after the traditional Bristol/Morrisville games, the Thanksgiving dinners were always special. Her brother practiced and dressed with the team and Ricky continues to help with the football team for the last twenty years.
Kristin loves music but “just not a rap fan.” She played the clarinet for a couple of years because “my mom wanted me to play an instrument.”
Movies selections include Forrest Gump and Gone with the Wind and she is an avid reader. “I have to read before I go to sleep.”
Her decorating tastes are very eclectic but she prefers the antique look for her Second Avenue home.
“My favorite part of Bristol is that it is a melting pot of cultures. We all got along. We were all friends. I wanted my son to have that experience.”
Family is always first. It’s just her way.
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Erik "Rick" Gerhard Weinkopff Sr.
Eric “Rick” Gerhard Weinkopff Sr., 61, of Wilkes Barre, a retired warehouse manager, was taken from his home and loving family to be with the Lord on March 16th, 2007.
Born on July 24, 1945 in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, raised in Croydon, he was a graduate of Delhaas High School. At Keystone Lighting in Bristol, he would meet his future mother-in-law. She recognized he was wonderful and set him up on a date with her daughter. That date on December 31, 1969 led to a 37-year marriage to his soul mate and love of his life, Irene. People can only dream for the love they shared. Rick and Irene bought a home in Bristol Borough where they raised their family. Rick worked hard everyday until an unexpected illness forced him to retire in 2002. In 2005, the family moved to Wilkes Barre where he finally had his dream home with the sports den he always wanted.
He had a beautiful soul and loved many things. First and foremost he truly loved his family; anyone who knew him knew that. He shared a special bond with his 10-year-old grandson Ryan, who gave him joy everyday. His brother Gene was also important to him, as they were each other’s best friends in life. He enjoyed gardening and collecting sports memorabilia and coins. Rick was a life long loyal Philadelphia sports fan. Being at “The Vet” when the Phillies won the World Series in 1980 was one of his happiest memories. He took pride in watching his own children play sports and could always be found in the bleachers. As a youth baseball coach and umpire he enriched many lives. Years later his players would come up and thank him for all he did. In death, like in life, he helped others by donation through the Gift of Life organ donation program.
Rick is the beloved son of the late Gerhard and Adelaide Weinkopff. Also greeting him in heaven are his in laws Matilda and George Ditto Sr. and his beloved nephew Lewis Samuel Dopson III. Left behind with heavy hearts until we see him again is his beloved wife, Irene (nee Ditto), son Ricky Jr., daughter Kristin and grandson Ryan. He is also survived by his brother Gene and wife Susan, his brother Louis, his Aunt Ann and Uncle Bob Corbett, in laws Karen Dopson and husband Lew and George Ditto Jr. and wife Nancy. Also many cousins, nephews, nieces and friends, notably Neil Adams, Bruce Vansant and his beloved dog and companion Tillie, who seems lost without him.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral mass on Thursday, March 22, 2007, 10:00am at St. Mark Church,Bristol Boro. Interment, private. Friends may call Wednesday evening 6-9:00 and Thursday morning 9-9:45am at the Wade Funeral Home, 1002 Radcliffe Str., Bristol Boro.
His family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers contributions be made in his name to The Bristol High School Football Team c/o Coach George Gatto. Wilson Ave. Bristol, PA 19007.