Rural nursing: What’s nice about small-town care

"You never know what’s going to come through your door next.”

By: Sanford Health News .

Sarah Talbott
Sarah Talbott
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Sanford Health operates hospitals and clinics across more than 250,000 square miles, making it one of the largest integrated rural health systems in the U.S.

While it has modern hospitals and specialty clinics in some of the fastest-growing cities in the Upper Midwest, most of its locations are in small towns and cities, so the organization offers numerous practice opportunities for nurses who want to live and work in rural communities.

These “expert generalists” deliver care in a variety of settings during their career. Nurses are well-known in their community, must hold a strong, a broad base of clinical knowledge and skills to practice in multiple clinical areas, often simultaneously.

Here are the stories of three:

Christeen Skogsberg

Skogsberg is a registered nurse and the education coordinator at the Sanford Vermillion Care Center in Vermillion, South Dakota.

“I am a rural Sanford nurse because it gives me a sense of family and community. I am able to connect to my patients, not only on a medical level but also emotionally. We make a lot of long-lasting relationships in the long-term care rural nursing world.

“Rural nursing is not boring at all. As far as your multiple roles and responsibilities in the acute setting and the hospital setting, you can go from delivering a baby one minute to 20 minutes later you are in the ER helping a crash victim, to dealing with a psych patient all in one day.”

Sarah Talbott

Talbott is director of nursing at Sanford Health in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

“I love rural health care because you can do anything. You can work in the emergency room, OB (obstetrics), cardiac rehab, chemotherapy, so you get to use your skills in so many different settings every day.

“In such a small setting you work side by side with people every day, and so your team becomes your family in order to provide good care.

“Rural health care is never boring. It changes every minute of the day.”

Marie Riemer

Marie Riemer is nursing inpatient manager at Sanford Medical Center in Hillsboro, North Dakota.

“I enjoy being a rural Sanford nurse because I love working in the community that I was born and raised in. … It’s very rewarding taking care of all of the generations that have shaped this community.

“Working in rural health care means that sometimes you are working in a smaller setting. There’s fewer staff members to work with, but that means that you have a close-knit work family.

“For families to be able to come in, young or old, and see familiar faces, nurses they know, providers they trust, all other disciplines that are familiar to them — it is so beneficial.

“Rural nursing is its own specialty. You have to be ready on a day-to-day basis. You never know what’s going to come through your door next.”

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