Congratulations to this month’s SDAHO Hometown Healthcare Heroes recipients, Pioneer Memorial Hospital and Health Services in Viborg, South Dakota.
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.
Pioneer Memorial Hospital and Health Services sits in Turner County, in the Danish community of Viborg, South Dakota. This independent system, managed by Sanford Health includes a 12-bed critical access hospital, a 51-bed skilled nursing home with 8 beds in a specialized dementia unit. In addition, there is an attached assisted living facility and senior living housing. Also, part of Pioneer Memorial are three rural health clinics in the communities of Viborg, Centerville and Parker, South Dakota. Lindsey Hauger was born and raised in Viborg and serves as the CEO for Pioneer Memorial. She left for a short time to attend college and begin her career but eventually returned. “As we were away, we thought we wanted to live elsewhere, and I started to miss that small town connection. That part where you go for a walk and only make it three blocks because you stop and talk to everyone.” Lindsey Hauger, CEO Pioneer Memorial Hospital & Health Services.
Kayla Mehlhaf, a certified Nurse Practitioner with Pioneer Memorial graduated from a high school only 15 miles from Viborg. Returning for a job after college, so close to home wasn’t originally part of Kayla’s plan, but now that she and her family call Viborg home, she has no plans on ever leaving. “After college, I had a friend suggest I consider a job in Viborg and at the time, I laughed and thought I am never ending up this close to home and I am not getting a job in Viborg. And now, here I am working in Viborg, and I will probably work here until I retire or die.” Kayla Mehlhaf, CNP Pioneer Memorial Hospital & Health Services
Kayla says she is in the job of saving lives and some patients have come in and would not have made it if Viborg didn’t have the services they do. “These are not just patients, they are members of my community that I interact with on a frequent basis, so it’s much more than being their healthcare provider, it’s being their neighbor too.” Kayla Mehahaf, CNP Pioneer Memorial Hospital & Health Services
Pioneer Memorial has a mix of long-time staff members, new hires, life-long locals and transplants, which create a robust community to live and work in. Melanie Parsons is the CEO of Parsons Insurance in downtown Viborg, in addition to the President of the Board for Pioneer Memorial Hospital. “I can’t stress enough the importance of not only the facility, but the people that work there. There is not one volunteer organization in our community that doesn’t include someone from Pioneer Memorial. They are so involved in giving back to the community.” Melanie Parsons, Business Owner / Pres. Of Board Pioneer Memorial Hospital.
Pioneer Memorial is the largest employer in Viborg, providing competitive wages, excellent benefits, and good working conditions for employees, says Melanie. Krista Schaeffer, RN, is the long-term MDS Coordinator for the nursing home. She is originally from Minnesota and attended SDSU for nursing school, where she met her husband. “I loved SDSU and low and behold I met a farmer from Viborg and here I am still in Viborg. Being a rural facility and being attached to a hospital, a clinic and assisted living – it’s a lot of resources in one building, it’s great. The providers get to know the patients and us nurses get to take them to wherever they need to go. The continuity of care is better because we are under one roof.” Krista Schaeffer, RN – Long Term Care MDS Coordinator Pioneer Memorial Nursing Home
Viborg is a short drive to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and several other larger communities, although those who live in Viborg say there is no need as the town offers a variety of shopping and entertainment for all who live there. “The nice thing is that Viborg is a complete community. We have a grocery store, a hardware store, a movie theatre ran by volunteers which makes it affordable and restaurants. We have entertainment so you can catch dinner and a movie plus community activities and festivities year-round.” Kayla Mehlhaf, CNP Pioneer Memorial Hospital & Health Services
The community has a very active school system offering an elementary, middle, and high school for families. Housing is available including apartments to rent. “The Viborg Development group has put in a new housing development on the west side of town with new homes going up there.” Melanie Parsons, Business Owner / Pres. Of Board Pioneer Memorial Hospital.
Career opportunities within Pioneer Memorial Hospital and Health Services include:
- RN’s & LPNs in the hospital,
- RN’s & LPNs in the nursing home
- LPNs & Medical Assistants in the clinics
- CNAs in the nursing home
- Resident Assistants in the assisted living facility
For those looking to further their healthcare career through education, the Pioneer Memorial Foundation offers 3 scholarships yearly, in addition to the Build Dakota Scholarship program. Additional incentives include:
- Tuition Reimbursement
- Referral Bonuses
- Extra Shift Incentives
- Competitive Wages
- Retirement Package
To learn more about Pioneer Memorial Hospital and Health Services career opportunities or to apply, visit: www.pioneermemorial.org/custom/employment
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 at sdaho.org/hometown-healthcare-heroes.