Nurse’s leadership is critical during community crisis

Share on:

Ready to get back to her country roots, Rebecca Pedersen, RN, packed up her things and left the Twin Cities in 1994 in search of a start to her nursing career in rural southeast South Dakota.

“I got in my car with a road map, an atlas, which most people might not even know what that is these days,” says the Waseca native who grew up on a dairy farm. “Drove from town to town asking people on the street, literally, ‘Does your town have a nursing home? Do you know where it is?’

”Rebecca, a recent Bethel University graduate, had spent some time as a certified nursing assistant and enjoyed working with older adults.

Love was the other reason for coming to South Dakota. She met a fella during a visit to Menno over Christmas break who’d turn out to be her future husband.

Determined to move closer to him, she showed up one day at Good Samaritan Society – Scotland and said, “‘I’m a nurse. Can you use me?’ Here I am 28 years later.”

It was meant to be. The director of nursing services at the long-term care location for the last 21 years, Rebecca says it was a calling to come work for the Society.

“What really drew me to Good Samaritan here was the mission of sharing Christ’s love in word and deed. I saw the staff here really living out the mission. They walked the talk,” Rebecca says.

Strong in her Christian faith with a mission to serve others, Rebecca fit right in.

“Going back from the very first day I met her, that’s the first thing I recognized about Rebecca was her faith,” Society administrator Julie Ramey says.

A tragedy in the community

That faith and reliance on God would be crucial for Rebecca and her team in November of 2021 and the months to follow.