Nurse practitioners and physician assistants have almost unlimited options in terms where they could go to practice and live. But when you know where you’re supposed to be, you just know. That’s how June Reiling, CNP and Mackenzi Gatzke, PA-C feel about working at Regional Health Medical Clinic in Lead-Deadwood. Both women were born at Lead-Deadwood Hospital and grew up in the community. And after experiencing other communities, it’s really the only place they want to be.
“I came back here because I love this clinic and I love this area,” said June, who has returned to Lead-Deadwood multiple times. She started out as a Licensed Practical Nurse at the hospital. Between stints elsewhere, including Portland, Ore. for a master’s degree and Boise where she spent eight years, she has always found her way back. “I’ve lived other places and there’s just no place like the Hills,” she said.
Since returning to Lead-Deadwood, June’s fellow caregivers and patients have welcomed her back with open arms. “It’s been so heartwarming. It’s really made me confident that I made the right decision to come back.” She added that she has never felt professionally limited in Lead-Deadwood, as the area’s rural location and tourism industry provide a diverse group of patients. Furthermore, her time at other clinics has helped her truly appreciate the collegial relationships between providers and caregivers at Regional Health.
Mackenzi, who received her PA degree last year from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, said she debated which health care career she would pursue, but she never questioned where she would end up. “I just love the people in this community, and I wanted to come back and serve the community I grew up in,” she said. “I was a bit nervous at first, since many people still know me as a child, but everyone’s been very receptive and very respectful and has welcomed me into this role.”
For both women, understanding the community they serve and really getting to know their patients plays an important role their work. “With both Mackenzi and I, we really enjoy the history with everyone we have in the community. I’ve seen four generations of families here, and that’s a very rich experience,” June said. “To watch them go through the life cycle and to really understand what they’re saying when they tell you the most intimate details of their life is special.”
It is clear that both providers are going to call Lead-Deadwood home for the foreseeable future. “This clinic has stood by me during some very difficult times in my life,” said June. “They stepped in when I needed help. We just look out for each other, both in and outside of the clinic.”
That sure seems like something that would be hard to move away from. Thanks to June and Mackenzi for calling Lead-Deadwood and Regional Health your home.