South Dakota

Scholarship helps nurse advance long-term care career

Anna Struck, a Good Samaritan Society nurse who has been serving residents in Scotland, South Dakota since she was 16, is developing quite a fan club.

“We followed her from her time as a CNA to college,” says Rosemarie Winckler, who lives in the society. “We prayed for her every day. She is such a sweetheart.”

Prayers for wisdom as Struck recently completed a registered nurse exam.

“I, oh, I can’t believe it. I passed,” says Struck with a smile. “A really good feeling to finally be where I wanted to be.”

Career Opportunities at Good Samaritan Society

Thanks to a Build Dakota grant in partnership with the Society, the former CNA-turned-LPN was able to continue working in the nursing home while she studied for her RN associate degree at Southeast Tech in Sioux Falls.

“I don’t know if I would have returned so quickly without the nurses I work with,” says Struck of her team.

One of Struck’s biggest cheerleaders is her boss, director of care Rebecca Pedersen.

“She is very dedicated. It goes far beyond that,” says Pedersen.

Retaining and recruiting nurses like Struck is a top priority for the Society and Sanford Health.

“Career opportunities are endless at Good Sam. You just have to get your foot in the door. You just have to be willing to show up, work hard and just learn,” says Pedersen.

“(Struck) really has a strong relationship with all of the residents. I think they trust her. You open up to her.”

“All residents love her”

Resident Pam Vanderbrink came to the Society for therapy and rehabilitation.

“I’m just here to get therapy to get stronger. Then I’ll go back to Rapid,” says Vanderbrink.

When Vanderbrink has questions during her stay, Struck makes her feel “I matter, like she cares. Like you’re not just another person here.

“She always has a smile on her face. Always friendly. All residents love them. She is very nice.”

The drive to care has accompanied Struck since childhood.

“I was in the hospital as a kid. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 8 years old. The sisters were just so nice and caring and helpful. I just knew that I could imagine doing that too,” says Struck.

“I see many of the residents almost like my grandmothers and grandfathers. they take care of you They know what’s going on in your life. It’s a big family.”

A family that benefits from a skilled group of nurses who are constantly learning about the latest healthcare delivery strategies and technologies.

“To respect them, to value them, to help them feel the love of Christ. When you have long-term relationships with people, you can influence their lives in a more meaningful way over a longer period of time. That’s what I love about long-term care,” says Pedersen.

“Weight Off My Shoulders”

Struck is now 27 years old and has no debt from climbing the corporate ladder. She plans to continue sharing her gifts with her neighbors.

“It took so much of the burden off my shoulders,” says Struck about receiving the scholarship.

“It really cemented that this is really a family. It’s more than just a workplace. It meant so much.”

Pedersen adds, “I think Sanford and Good Sam value their people.

“When you feel supported, loved and accepted in a workplace, it’s easy to keep coming back.”

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Posted in Care and Care Support, Grants and Sponsorships, Senior Services

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