Healthcare is on the cusp of a dramatic transformation. At the heart of this transformation is an army of passionate individuals who care deeply about improving the lives of those around them. These folks exemplify the definition of a true hero. The South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organization (SDAHO) congratulates one of these individuals who is also SDAHO’s latest healthcare hero, Amber McMillin, a nurse practitioner with Monument Health in Rapid City. The healthcare hero campaign is designed to recognize and celebrate healthcare professionals across South Dakota.
Nominated by her peers and those who work alongside Amber say she is a gem inside and out. “She greets each day with determination to make a difference in the lives of patients and the community.” – Andrea Sterkel, CNP Fall River Health Services, Hot Springs SD. Amber says being able to provide patients with information to help them make decisions about their own health is one of the most rewarding parts of her job. “I am rewarded by helping people make an informed decision so they can make the best decision and I like to be there to answer any questions they may have. I just like being able to help people do something they can’t do for themselves.”
Born and raised in Martin, South Dakota, Amber started her healthcare career at an early age. “I became a nursing assistant in Martin at the age of 18, it was a critical access hospital and that is where I got my start.” Amber earned her pre-nursing degree at Black Hills State University in Spearfish. She then graduates from SDSU with her BSN in December of 2011. Amber was not done – she then went on to Maryville University in St. Louis, MO where she obtained her MSN. Amber returned to South Dakota finding employment in Rapid City, joining the Internal Medicine team as a CNP in January of 2017.
“I love working in South Dakota where I grew up. I grew up on a farm and ranch and I know the hard work that goes into making a South Dakotan and I am proud to serve our community.” Whether it is calving, planting or harvest season, Amber’s upbringing has helped her better understand her patients and has helped make her a better healthcare provider. “I know all about the weather and what agriculture means to people and what cattle producing means to people and what it means to be from South Dakota. I am proud of that.”
Like many healthcare professionals, COVID-19 greatly impacted Amber and her team. Those who work with Amber say the pandemic brought many challenges to the Rapid City area, but Amber confronted those challenges head on. “She took on not only the task of running the student health clinic at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDMT) but she was also responsible for implementing the COVID-19 testing for thousands of SDMT students.” Andrea Sterkel – CNP Fall River Health Services, Hot Springs SD. Today, Amber is one of a few Monument Health healthcare providers working the COIVD-19 vaccine clinics making sure community frontline workers and vulnerable populations are vaccinated. Amber has been able to take on all the additional roles during the pandemic while managing her own clinic. In addition, she has been tasked with educating future healthcare professionals. “Amber is an amazing mentor for countless students helping to foster further generations of healthcare providers. She is my friend and my inspiration, and I am so lucky to have her as not only a friend but a colleague and fellow nurse practitioner in this crazy time.” Andrea Sterkel, CNP Fall River Health Services, Hot Springs SD.
Amber says she was choked up when learning she was nominated and selected as a healthcare hero. Like others before her, she credits her colleagues for the work that gets done every day. Amber goes even further to define frontline workers as everyone from the hospital and clinic cleaning staff to grocery store clerks, truck drivers, and more. “In the beginning we all agreed that no one fights alone and that we are all in this together. All of us that have come through this are the heroes, not just healthcare workers.” Amber McMillin thank you for all you do and congratulations for being selected as SDAHO’s Healthcare Hero.
If you know someone that is a healthcare hero and would like to nominate them, visit us online and nominate them today. https://sdaho.org/heroes/