I was born in Kadoka but have lived my entire life in Rapid City. I’m married to Shane and have two children, Kaycee Johnson and Tyler Liebig. I like spending time with my family and grandchildren.
Why did you choose a career in nursing?
My mom was a nurse and she told me if I chose to work in the medical field, I’d always be able to find a position throughout my career. She was my mentor; I was blessed to get to work with my mom for many years at the same clinic. There, she was my trainer and taught me what I know today.
How long have you been a nurse?
I’ve been a nurse for 20 years. I started out working as a medical assistant in a residency clinic, and when I got my LPN, they asked me to come back and work for them. I did some nursing home float pool work and scheduling for a patient employment center but I missed patient care and felt that primary care was the best fit for my interests. Most of my career has been spent in primary care.
What is most rewarding about your job?
Getting to know my patients and making a difference in their lives. I’ve always lived by the motto that you should treat people how you want to be treated; when patients are going through a hard time, you’re the person who makes a difference. If you can help them by getting them set up for medication assistance or little things like that, it’s greatly appreciated.
What do you find most challenging?
Nursing is stressful and emotional; the long days can be exhausting, but if you can make a difference in someone’s life on that day, it’s worth everything. I overlook everything else because I enjoy helping people and taking care of them. I do miss my paper charts; it was easier to keep in touch with patients during office visits that way. I feel like nowadays, your computer is a barrier between you and your patient.
What skills make a nurse exceptional?
You have to be detailed and possess good follow-through. Checking up on your patients if you know they’re struggling will go a long way toward lifting their spirits and earning their trust.
What advice would you give others thinking about becoming a nurse?
I feel like the best nurses are the ones who have walked in someone’s shoes before—they have been through the struggles of life themselves. You need to be a good listener and understand that you’re donating a lot of time to nursing. I 100 percent believe job shadowing is helpful; nursing is a life commitment, so if you’re questioning whether you want to do it, job shadowing is great. I knew what I was getting into because my mom was a nurse and I’d worked as a medical assistant before becoming a nurse, so I saw firsthand what healthcare was going to be like.
If you hadn’t gone into nursing, what do you think you’d be doing?
I honestly wouldn’t change anything. I don’t know what I would do. I just enjoy helping people.