Congratulations to this months SDAHO Hometown Healthcare Heroes recipient, Monument Health Custer Hospital in Custer, South Dakota.
To help member facilities with workforce needs, SDAHO 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.
Monument Health’s Custer Hospital and clinics sits in Custer, South Dakota located in the heart of the Black Hills. Surrounded by ponderosa pine, granite rock formations, and both state and national parks, Custer Hospital and Clinic serve not only patients from a five-state region but possible patients from around the world who travel to one of South Dakota’s most visited tourist destinations. Those who live and work in Custer say the true gem of the community is their hospital which was renovated and expanded in 2018. “The community loves this hospital, and they are very passionate about their physicians. Here the nursing teams feels just as strongly about the patients. Fulfilling is the word I will use to describe working here.” Deb Risser, RN, Nurse Manager Monument Health Custer Hospital
Monument Health Custer Hospital is a critical access hospital that also offers 24-hour emergency services. Included is inpatient and outpatient care options, a clinic, hospice and assisted living facility. Monument Health Custer Hospital and Clinic has 66 nursing and nurse aide caregivers, 12 inpatient beds, 5 emergency department beds, 3 infusing rooms and 6 physicians. “This facility is really a diamond in the rough in a small town.” According to James Woodhead, Director of Nursing with Monument Health Custer Hospital, who is from Arizona. He and his wife, who has family that live in South Dakota decided to call the Rushmore state home after spending many years vacationing here. “It’s a very tight nit community and it’s a small community but it has a lot to offer families and from a hospital standpoint too.” James Woodhead, Director of Nursing Monument Health Hospital
The bulk of the nursing team has been with the hospital for close to 30 years, with several newer members joining the team. According to Risser, the atmosphere within the facility is fun and even with the challenges from the past-two years due to the pandemic, the nursing team is not burnt out. “They still care, they are highly engaged, they do extra things for their patients, and they do extra things for each other.” Deb Risser, RN, Nurse Manager Monument Health Custer Hospital.
Those who live and work within the community are quick to point out how highly respected the healthcare team is. Doris Ann Mertz is a former hospital board member and currently serves as the Custer School District Library Coordinator. “Our doctors and nurses, are members of our community they are people we know, and we meet them and see them on a social bases and they all have a lot of respect in our town.” Doris Ann Mertz, Custer School District Library Coordinator & Former Hospital Board Member
The community offers three schools which includes two elementary schools, plus a junior and high school. Even though Custer is a tourist community, shops and businesses stay open year-round and those who live there say “If you can’t find what you need, we are not that far from the big city life, Rapid City which is 40-minutes away.” Deb Risser, RN, Nurse Manager Monument Health Custer Hospital.
While much of the country continues to struggle with a lack of housing, Monument Health has developed a plan to help new employees with housing. Sarah Blenner is the Director of Talent Resourcing with Monument Health. She says, “We have different resources in place to help support you with your move, but once you get here, we’ve put in place some housing efforts to help support our caregivers so that you can focus on your new career while you get accustomed to the area as you decide where you want to find permanent housing.” Sarah Blenner, Director of Talent Resourcing, Monument Health. This includes short or long-term subleased apartments, which some are pet friendly. Monument Health also keeps an updated list of available homes for sale in Custer and the surrounding communities, to assist caregivers in finding their home.
Also available to assist new employees is a robust benefits package, paid time-off, tuition reimbursement, student loan forgiveness, and scholarship opportunities.
Career opportunities within Monument Health Custer Hospital:
To learn more about Monument Health Custer Hospital and Clinics or apply visit: www.monument.healthc/careers/
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 https://sdaho.org/hometown-healthcare-heroes/.