3 mother-daughter duos reflect on providing care at Sanford

Working together strengthens their relationships, according to these Sanford Luverne pairs

Two doctors in face masks stand talking at the nurses station at Sanford Luverne Clinic.

Don’t call it the Brady Bunch. Just call it Sanford Luverne.

Three mother-daughter duos make up a fraction of the care teams at the hospital and clinic, which serves the town of about 4,500.

And all three of them wouldn’t have it any other way.

Kat and Diane

First, let’s introduce you to Kathryn “Kat” Dahl, M.D., and her mother Diane Kennedy, M.D. Both are family physicians. Their offices are 10 paces apart.

Dr. Dahl is one of the newer additions to the Sanford Luverne bunch. She just joined Sanford a few months ago after finishing her residency.

She always knew she wanted to be just like her mom. Both professionally and personally.

“I had a big influence from my mom being a family physician. We grew up here. We would spend her call shifts hanging out in the physician lounge. On her first ER shift here, I was about a few weeks old and I accompanied her for that ER shift,” she said.

Dr. Kennedy, meanwhile, has been practicing at Sanford Luverne for the past 28 years.

“The people, the staff, the community. The relationships I’ve created with my patients and with the people that I work with, all very important things that keep me here in Luverne,” she said.

Dr. Kennedy is just one example of people sticking around at Sanford Luverne for a long, long time. A little while back, we introduced you to three call center employees who’ve each worked at Sanford Luverne for over 30 years. If you added up all their years working at Sanford, the total would be 141 years.

Dr. Kennedy said this speaks to the culture at the hospital.

“I think it says we’re a family. We’re a lot more than just a place you come to work. We care about each other. We protect each other, we support each other, and we make it a good place to be.”

Jamie and Madison

Jamie Reisdorfer is also a long timer. She’s been working at Sanford Luverne for almost 25 years.

Like Dr. Kennedy, she says Sanford Luverne is home.

“The people here are wonderful and it’s like a family. I just said that to someone. You have to love your job and like what you do and love the people you work with. That’s what this place is,” she said.

Her daughter Madison Reisdorfer is a patient care technician. She’s been working at Sanford when she can, while also juggling life as a full-time student at the University of South Dakota and being part of the South Dakota Air National Guard.

Madison said her interest in health care came from her mother.

“When I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to be in the health care field. I remember my mom gave me a play stethoscope when I was a kid, and I just knew I always wanted to be a nurse,” she said.

The Reisdorfers don’t get to work directly with each other too often. Madison’s shift is from 3-11, while Jamie’s is from 7-3. However, they do often see each other in passing – their house is only a few blocks away from work.

“So, when I see her, I see her for a quick moment here. We just kind of give each other hugs and say, ‘I love you and have a great day,’” said Madison.

“I’m happy she feels comfortable saying those things to me,” added Jamie.

There’s no shortage of love as everyone cares for each other, no matter their title or if they’re directly related to one another, Madison said.

“It feels like we’re all family here. It feels like going to work isn’t work here. It’s more fun, because you get to work with people you know,” she said.

Lanette and Whitney

Finally, let’s meet with Lanette and Whitney Elbers.

Lanette is an RN who, and stop us if you’ve heard this before, has been working at Sanford Luverne for decades. Three to be exact.

Her daughter Whitney is a student at South Dakota State University. Whitney always wanted to follow in her mom’s footsteps and become a nurse. She initially didn’t get into nursing school at South Dakota State, and decided she wanted to come back home to Luverne to work as a patient care tech.

Whitney, who’s been working at Sanford and taking online classes since December, was accepted to the upcoming fall semester of nursing school. So, soon, her time will come to an end.

But for the time being, she’ll still enjoy the free rides to and from work.

“We get to ride together, and she thinks that’s great because then Mom has to pay for the gas, and Mom has to drive,” laughed Lanette.

“There’s been a few times that I’ve worked a 12 hour, and she just stays those extra four hours after she’s been off work and does her schoolwork.”

Lanette said it’s difficult to put into words what it means that Whitney wanted to follow in her footsteps and become a nurse, but, “I guess it means I haven’t been too crabby after working those night shifts.

“It makes you feel good that she wants to do the same thing as me. I must’ve been a positive. I’ve heard people say, ‘you’re a really good nurse,’ and I just want her to be as good too.”

Whitney said their relationship has grown through working at the same place.

“I feel like we’ve gotten a lot closer. We talk about everything. There’ll be days that they tell me I can go on lunch break and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m going to wait because me and my mom are going to have our lunch date.’”

Learn more

Posted In Inclusion at Sanford, Luverne, People & Culture