Brady Carda’s mom has been a nurse for more than 40 years, but he wasn’t sure if it was his calling, too.
“I have always been interested in helping people,” he says, “and I’ve always been interested in health care.”
Getting to work at the Sanford Health (then Sioux Valley) hospital in Vermillion, South Dakota, nearly 20 years ago convinced him nursing is where he belonged.
“The staff and providers made it feel like family,” he says of his co-workers. “I always felt very welcome, included and appreciated.”
Carda went to nursing school and started as a registered nurse in the intensive care unit, clinics, and surgical and cardiovascular units at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “I found it very easy to fit in,” he says. “I don’t think I was ever treated like ‘the new hire.’”
He still finds that same sense of family and belonging with his co-workers at Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center in Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he now works as an inpatient nursing manager.
“I come to work every day and am excited to see and interact with the people here,” Carda says. “I am proud to call this my work family, and be part of what they do each and every day.”
Part of caring team
Carda, one of Sanford Health’s employees of the year, oversees nurses in a department that covers medical, surgical, pediatrics, critical care and cancer center patients. These can bring some difficult situations for nurses to be part of, but he consistently sees compassion and dedication in their work day in and day out.
“I have such a caring, gifted team that I work in,” Carda says. “I’ve seen the strongest nurse take a family into her arms and comfort them, and give them strength to keep moving forward. Later, that nurse is in a private space crying herself, because it was hard for her, too, but she was strong for the family when they needed her. I’ve seen staff stay after a long shift because patients need them. I have had multiple people come up to me and want to say thank you for the care they received here.”
Carda says it’s that personal attention that makes all the difference — not just for the patients, but for the employees as well.
“When I was a health coach, I had a breakthrough with a diabetic patient,” he shares as an example. “She was tired of being told what to do, how to eat, what to eat, how much to exercise … she sat down in my office defeated, but ready for a fight. We started talking about what she wanted, and she began to open up. Two years later, she saw me and shared how her diabetes was still under control because of that interaction, she finally felt like she had control, and she was doing awesome. It is those interactions that make all of the hard work and long hours worthwhile.”
Now as a manager, Carda sees these kinds of breakthroughs every day between patients and nurses.
“The people here give and give, because they care,” he says. “It seems so small to say they care, but it’s really so big.”