Jackie Hinrichs: From exercise science major to OR nurse

A Sanford Health operating room nurse tells her story of how she found her passion for patient care.

Jackie Hinrichs in the OR at Sanford Medical Center Fargo

Jackie Hinrichs, one of the operating room (OR) nurses at Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota, has a unique story of how she came to the profession.

She first attended Minnesota State University Moorhead with the goal of graduating with an exercise science degree. As part of her program, Hinrichs was required to complete an internship in the cardiac rehab department at what was then MeritCare and now is Sanford Health.

“It sparked my passion for patient care,” she says.

Hinrichs had never wanted to be a nurse before her internship. However, she soon found she was passionate about providing patient care. After graduating with her degree in exercise science, she moved to Wisconsin and worked as an intensive care unit tech.

Back to Fargo

Many of the nurses she worked with in the ICU encouraged her to pursue her dream of getting her nursing degree. After a lot of persistence and encouragement from the nurses, Hinrichs came back to the Fargo-Moorhead area to begin her nursing education at Concordia College.

That led to a job as an ICU nurse at Sanford Health after graduation in 2011. Soon after that, she transitioned to her current role as an OR nurse.

“Working at Sanford was a no-brainer. It is the largest hospital in the area and is expanding in every specialty,” she said.

Fulfilling career

As an OR nurse, Hinrichs “loves the fast-paced environment, there are never two days that are alike.” In addition, there are also a wide-range of surgeries she is a part of. Some of the most common specialties she sees are orthopedic traumas, general surgery, urology and neurosurgery.

Hinrichs also says that since Sanford Medical Center Fargo has become a Level 1 Adult Trauma Center, she has been able help more of a variety of patients. She says she “always has to think outside of the box constantly and use problem-solving skills to keep the day flowing smoothly.”

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