A nurses’ loyalty is a powerful force, and fierce dedication to an employer can be a source of positive patient outcomes; after all, it is only normal that a happy and healthy nurse will provide higher quality care. Today’s nurse has been pulled in multiple directions as they deal with a global pandemic in addition to the daily needs of their patients. SDAHO salutes our nurse professionals and that is why we have selected Ann Lee, RN of the Good-Samaritan Society in Howard, South Dakota for this week’s healthcare hero. The healthcare hero campaign is designed to recognize and celebrate healthcare professionals across the state.
Ann Lee has worked in healthcare for over 30 years and has decided that 2021 will be her last as she sets her sights on retirement. “She has spent over half of her career working at the Good Samaritan Society in Howard. She has served her community in the best way she knows how by being a nurse and caring for those most Vulnerable.” – Allie Luoma, RN – Good Samaritan Society, Howard SD
Ann was born and raised in South Dakota and has spent her entire nursing profession in the state she calls home. Her nursing roots run deep, as her grandmother helped with the creation of the Good Samaritan facility in Howard. Ann’s mother was also a nurse and encouraged Ann to go into nursing. Ann has passed the baton to her daughter Allie Luoma who is a registered nurse at the Good Samaritan Society in Howard. Allie also nominated her mother for the healthcare hero award. “I have always admired how she accepts challenges at work, takes on more duties and volunteers to work extra when staffing is short. By accepting nothing but the best care from fellow coworkers, she proves to be a resident’s best advocate time and time again, year after year.” – Allie Luoma, RN – Good Samaritan Society, Howard SD.
Many of the individuals Ann has served over the years were more than patients and residents, many were family. “I’ve had many relatives live and die here or live and leave here. I’ve always taken pride in our facility and I want it to continue for years to come, we need our community, and our community needs us.”
Ann reflects on her career and the many professionals that helped her along the way. When asked what she appreciates about the South Dakota healthcare system she says, “The wealth of knowledge that I have gained over the years.” Her favorite part of the job is helping people she has known for many years. She has celebrated many moments over the past 30 years but being able to celebrate the good times with her patients are some of the more memorable moments. “Helping people, especially when they are most vulnerable and being able to celebrate with them in good times are some of my more rewarding moments.”
As COVID-19 hit South Dakota and eventually Howard, like many nurses Ann’s workload increased. She says she picked up many extra shifts, took on additional duties and put in longer days. “The residents needed us, and the staff needed each other too.” “Her unwavering strength to continue through tough times has no doubt been encouragement for other staff members to persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic.” Allie Luoma, RN – Good Samaritan Society, Howard SD
The Good Samaritan’s mission is ‘In Christ’s Love, Everyone is Someone’. Those who know Ann and work alongside her say she embodies that mission with her whole being. “No matter who they are, where they came from, or what their background, all residents in her care will receive the same outstanding care.” – Allie Luoma, RN – Good Samaritan Society, Howard SD.
When asked how she feels about being called a healthcare hero, “I am not really a hero, it is what I was called to do for life.” As Ann embarks on the last few months of her nursing career, her family, friends, and colleagues say she has been an inspiration for others in the workplace and will be missed after her retirement.
Ann Lee, thank you for your years of service to the nursing profession and congratulations on 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/