Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. Some have superpowers and wear fancy capes others might be more discrete. Juneanne (June) Volk a retired registered nurse from Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics – remembers the superheroes she looked up to as a little girl, and yes, they did wear capes. They were the nurses in her community. Congratulations to this week’s SDAHO Healthcare Hero Juneanne (June) Volk, serving patients for over 50 years. The Healthcare Hero campaign is designed to recognize and celebrate healthcare professionals across South Dakota.
June started with the Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics as a registered nurse in 1971. Through the course of her career, she held many supervisory positions, while providing high-quality and compassionate bedside nursing. “She is well respected by all members of the care team, our patients, and those within the community we serve. She is a role model with regards to her teamwork, her care, and her dedication and loyalty.” John Ayoub, FACHE, CEO Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics.
One of June’s earliest memories as a very young girl was wanting to be a nurse. She had her own doll hospital. “I had dolls with many varied illnesses and I always wanted to be a nurse with a cape.” June eventually became a nurse, but she never got to wear a cape. In 1969 June worked as a nurse’s aide while attending Presentation College in Aberdeen. She graduated in 1971 with her nursing degree with plans to move to Minnesota. “I was going to go work at the University of Minnesota because I had been there on a tour and I thought it would be a great place.” That didn’t happen. “My fiancé wanted me to come back to Mobridge which was my hometown. It was okay to leave that big idea behind.” After working as a nurse for 47 years June retired in 2018 from the Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinic. “I worked at the best hospital there is. We are a 25 bed; critical access hospital and it is a great place to work. We have great healthcare, great doctors, great nurses, all the people that work there are wonderful. They do a good job and have good work ethics.”
June says she appreciates all the opportunities she has been given throughout her career, but it was working with the patients that brought the biggest rewards. “Going home and feeling good about the job I did, it revolved around patient care, that is what drove me and kept me.” Looking back, June says she is proud of the level of care she and her team provided patients. “We treat all patients. If they come onto our campus, they get treated with excellent care and respect. It does not matter who you are or what you do for a living, at our hospital you are treated with the best healthcare.” June’s passion also led her to take on leadership of disaster preparedness efforts for the organization, which she would oversee for many years. “She was well known through the state and involved in many task forces and committees. She was our go to person for infection control and emergency preparedness for natural and man-made disasters.” John Ayoub, FACHE, CEO Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics.
Even though retired, when COVID-19 struck June knew she had the knowledge to help, so she put her retirement on pause. “Juneanne knew she had a skill set and experience level that could benefit our organization and entire community. When asked to join the COVID command team, she did not hesitate. She provided an unmatched level of competency, combining her disaster preparedness skills with her infection control expertise.” John Ayoub, FACHE, CEO Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics. June says assisting pandemic efforts was the last piece of the puzzle, as she had been working on preparedness efforts for over 20 years. “She was a trusted and calming voice, that helped to boost our ability to respond both internally with regards to our clinical care and externally with regards to our community messaging and education.” June assisted with the COVID Command Team from March until October of 2020, stepping away in January of 2021 to work on vaccination efforts. “I am very happy to be in South Dakota, especially when I listen to the news and hear how other states have handled the pandemic. The virus has not gone away yet. The 1918 pandemic took a couple of years. We are lucky we are getting vaccinations out there and I see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Like many healthcare professionals June recognizes the importance of teamwork and is quick to pass any recognition on to others when she is called a hero. “I was shocked, and I felt undeserving. I do not think what I did was heroic because it takes a team. I cannot even imagine a hero doing it on their own, even if you are on the frontline it is all those masks behind you that help.” June also applauds the many hospitals across the state that stepped up during the pandemic to help each other out in their greatest times of need. “In South Dakota, we are lucky to live here. We have people that step up and do things, they are innovative, and they are problem solvers. They do not wait for someone to come in and fix their problems. They are going to figure it out and get it fixed.”
Juneanne Volk thank you for all you do and Congratulations on being 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/