HomeHometown Healthcare HeroHometown Healthcare Heroes Campaign: A Tool for South Dakota’s Healthcare Workforce Crisis

Hometown Healthcare Heroes Campaign: A Tool for South Dakota’s Healthcare Workforce Crisis

Currently South Dakota has 1,700 nursing job openings, with many positions remaining unfilled for months. The challenge requires both long-term and short-term solutions, which is why the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) launched the Hometown Healthcare Heroes campaign in November of 2021. This is a video storytelling tool to help attract current and future healthcare professionals to some of South Dakota’s healthcare facilities and communities with the greatest workforce need. Sanford Webster Hospital and Medical Center, along with the Bethesda Home Heritage Village was featured in the month of November. Ruth Hernandez, DNP, APRN, CNP, works at the medical clinic and shared why moving her family from a larger community to the rural town of Webster was one of the best decisions she ever made. “There is a lot to be said about a rural community and how much that community is part of your family. Through technology we have been able to provide excellent healthcare here in our small community, but with that technology we can reach out from a rural community to get our patients the specialty care they need to have.” Ruth Hernandez, DNP, APRN, CNP, Sanford Webster Medical Clinic
The Hometown Healthcare Hero campaign is collaborating with member healthcare facilities, the staff, and residents to help promote job openings by also promoting the community and lifestyle where healthcare jobs are available. Winner, South Dakota is the home to Winner Regional Health, which was the featured member facility for the month of January. Linda Schueth, RN has been part of Winner Regional Health for 40 years and was excited to share her thoughts on the hospital and the community. “We have our hospital, we have two clinics, we have a surgeon, optometry, mental health, drug and alcohol counseling, two pharmacies, physical therapy, chiropractic, we provide a holistic approach to healthcare which is unique for a rural community.” Linda Schueth, RN, Outpatient Nurse Supervisor – Winner Regional Health

Those interviewed share information about the school system, activities, outdoor recreation, amenities, nearby towns, in addition to the housing situation and the overall workforce environment. Dr. Mark Hagy, Orthopedic Surgeon with Avera St. Mary’s in Pierre has practiced medicine all over the world and chose to call South Dakota home in 2018. When asked to share his experience for the Hometown Healthcare Heroes Campaign for the December featured facility, Dr. Hagy didn’t hesitate. “People ask me all the time, why I chose South Dakota and I say, why not! It has been an absolute blessing to come here. It has reinvigorated my life. If I could bring my colleagues from where I have practiced before to talk about how they can really take care of patients and do it in a good way, I would bring them all to this setting, without a doubt. People have no idea the gift they have in the healthcare system, here in South Dakota.” Dr. Mark Hagy, Orthopedic Surgeon, Avera St. Mary’s Pierre.

Many of our state’s smaller healthcare facilities often lack recruitment resources, this campaign provides member facilities a much-needed tool to help with their workforce needs. A tool they would not otherwise have the staff or time to create. The video is designed to assist healthcare facilities, but the local economies may thrive as the spouses, children, and other family members of recently hired healthcare professionals may also seek employment within their new community.

SDAHO is committed to featuring one healthcare facility and community each month until January of 2023. The video’s can be utilized by SDAHO member facilities, economic development organizations, community leadership and more to help with the growth and sustainability of rural communities across South Dakota. Each video will have a companion article, that includes direct links driving viewers to the facilities career opportunity website, where they can learn more about the  most up-to-date job openings. The video and article are shared statewide through print and digital marketing and storytelling platforms.

SDAHO is excited to move forward with the Hometown Healthcare Heroes campaign in 2022. If you are interested in learning more about the Hometown Healthcare Heroes Campaign, visit our website today!

If you are interested in learning how your facility or community can become part of the Hometown Healthcare Heroes Campaign, contact: Stephanie Rissler, Communication Manager, SDAHO, Stephanie.Rissler@sdaho.org

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