Longest-serving caregiver reflects on her Regional Health family

Longest-serving caregiver reflects on her Regional Health family

Lana Likness celebrates 49 years at Rapid City Hospital

 

Lana Likness, Patient Care Champion for the oncology floor at Rapid City Hospital, said her fellow caregivers and physicians at Regional Health know her better than anyone else. After 49 years with Regional Health, she said the hospital has become her second family. “I’m so blessed to have these people. And the work is great because I still learn something new every day.”

Lana started as a ward secretary at Bennett-Clarkson Hospital in 1970 when she was 19 years old. The hospital merged with St. John’s McNamara in 1979 to become Rapid City Regional Hospital. While she has moved units and floors several times, she has now been with the oncology team for over 25 years. “This is home. I enjoy the oncology patients so much. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I am. You don’t leave here feeling sorry for yourself, that’s for sure.”

While she could share many stories from her time with Regional Health, the memories most near and dear to her involve others helping her get through some hard times. Having grown up on a farm in Carthage, SD., animals have always been a big part of Lana’s life. She went through a particularly dark period several years ago after losing a pet. Oncologist Helen Frederickson, M.D, and several other caregivers gave Lana a Golden Retriever puppy to ease her pain. “It saved my life,” Lana said.

She will never forget how her fellow caregivers supported her through her parents’ deaths, a car accident, a divorce and her journey to quit smoking. They also helped some of her dreams come true. When Lana turned 60, several team members surprised her with a trip to Washington, D.C. She had always wanted to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to honor a high school classmate who passed away in the war, and this helped her get there.

“Everybody knows Lana, and she has always taken the effort to get to know everyone she works with,” said Dr. Frederickson. Stephanie Battell, MSN, RN, Director of Nursing Operations at Rapid City Hospital, said almost every caregiver and physician who works in oncology knows Lana. She is constantly decorating the unit and making it a welcoming place for patients and families, and she also enjoys cooking for everyone on the floor.

Lana noted that there were several key people who helped her get to where she is today, and now it’s her turn to help younger, newer caregivers find their way. Perhaps her best piece of advice is to make people feel good. “It’s a good day if I made someone smile or laugh. Sometimes patients just need to talk, and I can do that.” Thank you, Lana, for your continued dedication to Regional Health and to our patients. Rapid City Hospital wouldn’t be the same without you.

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