Nurse’s leadership is critical during community crisis
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.