To help member facilities with workforce needs, SDAHO has launched the Hometown Healthcare Heroes campaign. This storytelling campaign is designed to recognize career opportunities at member facilities and celebrate the people that work there and the communities they live in.
Nestled in amongst the scenic Wessington Hills of Highway 34 in Jerauld County, Wessington Springs is home to beautiful scenery, big town amenities in a small-town community and top-notch healthcare options. Avera Health in Wessington Springs offers residents the Weskota Memorial Hospital which is a 16-bed hospital and Weskota Manor Avera which provides a range of senior living services, including independent living, assisted living and long-term care.
Jennifer Jensen is a Physical Therapist and has worked for Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital since 2006. “I really enjoy working in a small community. Working with our patients, they seem like family. I will see them at work, and they always tell me thank you, but then I see them in the community, and they say thank you again,” she said. Jennifer began her healthcare career 27 years ago in her hometown of Inwood, Iowa, working as a nurse’s aide in high school. Jennifer’s husband is originally from the Wessington Springs area and, when they moved to Wessington Springs in 2012, he fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning a business by purchasing the local grocery store. Meanwhile, Jennifer was able to find success as a healthcare professional. “My husband and I have 5 small boys, and we have the opportunity to raise our kids in a small town and small schools, yet I can still use my degree and work in a hospital and I’m not commuting out of town to work.”
Julie Schultz, LPN, is the Quality and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital. She has served Avera patients and the Wessington Springs community for the past 44 years. “With the Avera System, we can pick up a phone and connect with the physicians anywhere, or we can use telemedicine – eEmergency, ePharmacy or eHospitalist,” Julie said. “We have those specialties at our fingertips. We’ve seen so much growth, including our laboratories that now all have the computerized machines and X-rays where we can have the readings in a matter of minutes or hours. We even have a CT scan machine right here.”
Julie is part of the Weskota Foundation, which is a cooperative effort between Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital, Weskota Manor Avera and Horizon Health Care, Inc., which operates the Jerauld County Community Health Center & Dental Clinic on the same campus as the two Avera facilities. The Foundation assists in the preservation of healthcare services in the community through charitable gifts. The Foundation helps support physician recruitment and retention, healthcare education loans, scholarships and more. “Avera is a sponsor throughout the community, including our walk and run over the 4thof July, the yearly rodeo and bull-bash and more,” Julie stated. “People see the Avera sign and they know that we are supportive in our community.”
The hospital has a rich history in Jerauld County, as it was first established in 1947 to honor the residents who lost their lives in World War II. Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital has been affiliated with Avera since 2000 with a tradition of service inspired by the sisters of Presentation and Benedictine orders. Today, both the hospital and Weskota Manor serve the needs of east-central South Dakota.
Interested in becoming part of the Avera team and Wessington Springs community? There are career opportunities at both the Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital and Weskota Manor Avera. Both have openings in the nursing department, while Weskota Manor is also looking for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s) with incentives and sign-on bonuses available.
To learn more about the Wessington Springs community and the career opportunities through Avera Health, visit: www.avera.org/careers/
Watch and learn more about Wessington Springs and Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital & Weskota Manor.
To learn more about the SDAHO Hometown Healthcare Heroes Campaign or submit a survey to have your facility and community featured, fill out this SURVEY. You can also visit our website or contact Stephanie Rissler, SDAHO Communication Manager, at Stephanie.Rislser@sdaho.org or call 605-789-7530.