National Rural Health Day (NRHD) is a day set aside to honor the selfless and community-minded spirit that is amongst us in rural America. NRHD showcases the efforts of rural healthcare and addresses the challenges that rural citizens face. It brings much-needed attention to the ongoing efforts to communicate, educate, collaborate and innovate to improve the health of the 57 million people who call a rural area home. November 18th marks the 10th annual NRHD.
Small healthcare facilities can be asked, how do our rural communities compete with the larger healthcare facilities? Simply said, we don’t. “It’s not really about competition, but more about collaboration. We refer our more serious patients who require a higher level of care to tertiary facilities. Currently, transferring to a higher level of care remains difficult due to capacity and staffing issues in the larger facilities. It really is a privilege to work with larger health care facilities because we are able to help each other out. The entire state of Minnesota is working together right now to ensure every patient is receiving the best possible care — that is really what healthcare is all about”. – Rachel Lawson
Aside from the obvious challenges of keeping healthcare staffed amidst a pandemic with healthy individuals, we also see these challenges as areas to grow. The need for emergency care, urgent and respiratory care is needed just as much in a rural area as in a metropolitan area. We are fortunate to have in-house physician services 24/7 for our emergency room. There is always needed staffing in direct patient care, as well as other areas such as food services and environmental care. Those positions are critical to keeping even a small healthcare facility running. Exhausting our workforce is a real challenge, especially given how long this pandemic has endured.
SCMC is planning to safely celebrate NRHD internally for employees with special treats and tokens of appreciation throughout the day. During the week, SCMC will be showcasing employee testimonials internally and also posting some on our website and social media on what rural health means to them. There are coloring books available for kids as they come in for appointments and a special community 1st grader coloring contest. We will showcase the coloring sheets in our Urgent & Respiratory Care window.
In a small, rural setting it is not only familiar people we know caring for us, it is likely your family, friends, or neighbors. There is not a price tag or words to put on the heart that rural healthcare has compared to healthcare in a larger setting. To say thank you is an understatement to the village that has dedicated its time, energy, and heart to healthcare. #powerofrural #wecare
“We are grateful and humbled by all who continue to support rural healthcare and entrust us to provide care to this community.” -Kerrie McEvilly, SCMC President/CEO