Nurse of Excellence: LaToya

LaToya Phillipe
Nurse Clinician, RN, BSN
Regional Health Rapid City Hospital


“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Many people have heard this infamous quote time and time again, and LaToya Phillipe, a mom and wife from Custer is putting it into action through her nursing career at Regional Health Rapid City Hospital.

After graduating high school, LaToya wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do. She loved dinosaurs, but after starting a program in paleontology, she quickly learned that her career path would go in a different direction. After taking a break from school, she attended SDSU’s nursing program and is now a role model and mentor in her profession.

“I wanted a change, and I wanted to help people,” said LaToya, “and that’s why I decided to go into nursing.”

Working on the 9th and 10th floors in Orthopedic, Neurology, and Surgery can be a very busy place. When patients arrive, it is typically one of the worst days of their life and LaToya sees it as her opportunity to show compassion.

“My philosophy is that I have to make each patient laugh,” said LaToya with a smile. “I make it my mission to find out something about them that doesn’t relate to their diagnosis, and help them forget why they are here, even if it’s just for a moment. I treat them like a human – not just some person in a bed.”

That relational quality LaToya exudes is apparent in the countless stories she has built up in three short years of her nursing career. She becomes a part of her patients’ families and in turn, they become a part of hers. She takes time out her days and evenings to visit patients when she’s off the clock and is there for them when they are in need.

“LaToya has truly inspired me and shown me what an amazing nurse and individual she is,” beamed Lynn Simons, LaToya’s nursing director. “She is a role model for all nurses and I feel extremely fortunate to have her on my team.”

Acting on her mission, LaToya is actively involved with many facets of nursing. The spring 2018 class of SDSU’s nursing program marked LaToya’s fifth semester as an adjunct clinical instructor. She also sits as a chair and co-chair on multiple in-house councils, organizes events and appreciation functions, and assists countless committee teams. However, no matter how many things she adds to her plate, LaToya does not see herself as someone who is going above and beyond her nursing duties. She says she is “only doing what she feels is necessary to help mold the future of healthcare.”

“I love that my job is not a job,” said LaToya. “I get to be a part of the hospital through these extracurricular positions, teach nursing students, and be engaged with my work; and it comes back to why I started – I want to be a part of change.”

Words by Jenna Carda
Photos by Jesse Brown Nelson