The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major disruptor for the healthcare industry. We have witnessed how an essential need in modern society like medical imaging can be abruptly curtailed. However, if you are a radiologic technologist in rural America, your duties not only shifted over the past year but more than likely you stepped up whenever and wherever help was needed. That is why this week’s healthcare hero spotlight shines on Mindy Smith the Radiology Director with Philip Health services. The healthcare hero campaign is designed to recognize and celebrate healthcare professionals across the state.
From 2011 to 2016, Mindy worked as a staff radiology and CT technologist with Philip Health services. She took a short break and returned in 2019 to take over the role as Radiology Director. Her colleagues say, “Mindy is an exceptional example of teamwork and will never turn down giving a lending hand.” – Anonymous co-worker
Mindy grew up north of Philip and was raised on the family’s farm and ranch. Healthcare has been part of her upbringing as long as she can remember. Her mother was an LPN in Philip until Mindy’s youngest brother was born. Mindy’s grandmother Jeanne Radway was a nurse in Chicago for ten years before she returned home to Philip where she served as a nurse for 52 years. Governor Mike Rounds proclaimed June 13, 2006 as Jeanne Radway Day. Mindy always knew she wanted to work in healthcare, but it was in 1997 when her father was involved in an accident that convinced Mindy to go into healthcare. “My fathers accident resulted in him becoming a quadriplegic. My mother has been by his side every step of the way ensuring that he receives the best care possible. Because of her and many other giving individuals, he has been able to remain at home with her. I was inspired by my parents and grandmother to enter into the healthcare field.”
Philip Health Services serves a very large area. Mindy says, “The South Dakota healthcare system, along with other South Dakota entities is very supportive of rural healthcare and the push for keeping healthcare in rural areas whole.” Each day Mindy looks forward to connecting with the patients who visit the facility but helping the older generation has brought her the biggest rewards. “This generation is becoming a lost art in my opinion. They are so full of knowledge, never ask for anything and they are so tickled for us to just take a few minutes out of our day to visit with them.”
Mindy says those in her department pride themselves on good customer services and when patients come to the facility, they are not just a number. “We truly care about our patients and want them to feel valued.” As COVID-19 would spread across America and reach rural communities like Philip, customer service was impacted, and Mindy says that was hard. “The patients don’t get to see our smiles and welcoming faces anymore. It has been hard for us and our patients, but we are pushing past it.” The pandemic gave healthcare professionals like Mindy the opportunity to help in other capacities and her teammates say that is exactly what she did. “When the nursing home needed help feeding residents, Mindy immediately stepped up to the plate and offered to feed. When a resident in either nursing homes or assisted living facilities needed an x-ray Mindy personally transported the resident to and from their room to the x-ray location.” – Anonymous co-worker. As the holidays approached, Mindy knew that several of the residents could use a smile, so she delivered light up Christmas necklaces to each of them.
As the world continues to handle the on-going pandemic, Mindy says it has been very tough for the patient not being able to see faces, be with their family or do the day-to-day activities they enjoy. Mindy also says, with these challenges has brought insight to the needs of patients. “I believe something positive has come from the COVID experience. It has taken away some of the personal touch that is much needed in the healing process for patients. I think this has brought a much-needed light to the fact that this is not a factory with an assembly line. Our patients need personal touch that we are able to provide in these rural hometown settings.”
When asked what she thinks about being called a healthcare hero, Mindy quickly applauds those around her for the great work they are all doing. “We are all doing a job that we signed up for and get paid for. I am no different than any other individual when I walk out of my house in the morning. I have just as much respect for my healthcare coworkers as I do everyone else that goes to work every day to provide for their families, no matter what their job is.”
Mindy Smith – thank you for all you do and congratulations on being a SDAHO 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/