Healthcare Heroes come from many different fields of practice from across the country – including urban and rural healthcare settings. Some work in specialty areas while others focus on a wide range of medical needs. Today, the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations celebrates our latest Healthcare Hero, Jodi Dittbenner a registered nurse at Sanford Health’s Birthplace – on the post-partum floor. Jodi understands the true meaning behind Sanford Health’s mission and goals as her colleagues say she is dedicated to her work that includes sharing God’s love through health, healing, and comfort. “Jodi treats every patient as an individual. She makes them feel special and that they will be well cared for because they came to Sanford. All patients will be lucky if they have Jodi for a nurse.”- Ashely Briggs, MD – OB/GYN, Sanford Health
Jodi has worked for Sanford Health for the past 14 years. She was a patient care technician in the Birthplace for 10 years, an LPN at Sanford Women’s Clinic for 2 years and an RN in her current position at Birthplace since 2018. Her specialized experience has allowed her to step up and help her colleagues when they needed her most. “Jodi previously worked in our Sanford OB/GYN Clinic – but now works in the post-partum floor. At one point, the post-partum floor was over staffed so some of the nurses were required to float to another floor. Jodi volunteered to come help us in the clinic. She was looking out for her teammates by letting them stay and work on postpartum”. – Ashely Briggs, MD – OB/GYN, Sanford Health
A native of Colton, SD, Jodi says she enjoys working in her home state and close to where she grew up. “It’s fun to be able to see my friends and previous classmates become parents and to be part of that experience.” The experience of watching patients become parents is also something Jodi enjoys about her profession. “I enjoy being able to be part of such a joyous occasion in peoples lives. I enjoy forming relationships with my patients and then run into them out in the community months or even years later and see how their families have grown and changed.”
Jodi credits her success to many healthcare professionals who mentored her through the years. “I was very fortunate to be part of an amazing group of nurses and doctors that took the time to educate me and encourage me to go into nursing school.” Jodi earned her LPN and says after, many of those same people encouraged her to pursue her RN, which she did.
COVID-19 has caused many in the healthcare industry to pivot the way they serve patients. For Jodi – she was often called to assist in many different areas during the pandemic. Her colleagues say she handled change with a smile and positive attitude, even when she contracted the virus herself. After recovering, she began to experience long hauler symptoms, one of which affected her eyesight requiring her to need glasses. Those close to Jodi say she even used her own learning moments with COVID-19 to help her patients. “She had been having troubles with her glasses fogging over, but had figured out a new trick with our disposable masks to prevent this and I happened to share a patient experiencing the same problem. After mentioning the patient’s name, Jodi remembered that individual from one year ago and she immediately said, I will call the patient and tell her about my trick, hopefully this will also help her! “-Ashely Briggs, MD – OB/GYN, Sanford Health
Like many healthcare professionals, Jodi does not consider herself special or a hero, but is so appreciative of the support shown by those in the industry. “The nurses and other staff members are so appreciative for the help, no matter how small the task. I am amazed with the knowledge of so many of our nurses, doctors, etc.…I have a great appreciation for what they do every day. They are truly my heroes.”
Want to nominate your hero, go to sdaho.org/heros!