Editor's note: This story is advertorial content that is part of the 2021 "Essential to Jamestown" special edition of The Jamestown Sun. The annual Progress Edition features stories on essential workers, agencies and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Katie Ryan-Anderson, Special to The Sun

It’s not every day that national and international media fly to Jamestown.

That only happens during major events like floods, storms and in this case, a pandemic.

As North Dakota topped charts and headlines, leading the nation in both positive cases and mortality rates, members of the health care community stepped up to the challenge, rather than shying away.

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What was essential in Jamestown was a legendary team, or in this case, family.

“We really do think of each other like that,” said Mike Delfs, JRMC president and CEO. “Doctors, nurses, environmental services techs – everyone stepped up to care for each other and this community. Our teams sacrificed family events, birthday parties and holidays to ensure they stayed healthy and didn’t miss a shift. What they did is what a family does. It’s what legends are made of.”

The 12 months of our nation’s pandemic tested the JRMC family personally and professionally. It challenged the award-winning culture too. Nevertheless, teams worked together in ways leadership did not imagine or expect, said Chief Nursing Officer Trisha Jungels.

“Members of our clinical teams offered to work their 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shifts and then return at 11 p.m. for a 12-hour overnight. Those in nonclinical departments volunteered their weekends to support the short-staffed linen department,” she said. “They are truly the difference in the lives of those we serve.”

Family didn’t end there. Families sometimes are asked to support each other financially. The JRMC family did that too.

At the onset of the pandemic, physicians gave significant monetary gifts to support hospital operations as well as hospital employees who, in light of illness and/or financial hardship, maybe needed a helping hand. One physician even offered to babysit the children of fellow employees, should those employees be called into work and not able to go home.

The generosity continued.

More than 100 JRMC employees made gifts to the hospital’s Employee Giving Campaign in March. Those gifts totaled more than $30,000, said JRMC Foundation Director Lisa Jackson.

“Family extends to our thousands of supporters too,” Jackson said. “We are grateful for all the meals, masks and monetary donations we received this year. That support boosted morale as well as the financial vitality of the hospital. Giving in that way means JRMC can continue to care on for the community, for generations to come.”

That kind of kindness supported both the JRMC family and our community at large, ensuring patients had access to the highest quality of care, whenever they needed it – and for whatever reason, COVID or not. Despite the challenges, JRMC continues to earn awards including a Top 100 Best Place to Work in the country as well as a Top 100 Critical Access nationwide. It’s these awards and the family-like culture that makes JRMC a destination for care in the state, Jackson said.

As our mission states, JRMC’s vision is to be the best rural hospital in the country for patients to receive care, providers to practice and employees to work. Moving forward through this pandemic, it is clear we are closer to that goal.

As we move forward through this pandemic, Inglish said he’s grateful for his team and this community.

“From the beginning, we were in this together,” he said. “Even if the pandemic is over, that still won’t change.”

About Jamestown Regional Medical Center

Jamestown Regional Medical Center is located at 2422 20th St. SW, Jamestown, N.D. and serves approximately 55,000 people in nine counties. In 2021, it was named a “Top 100 Critical Access Hospital” for the eighth consecutive year. Modern Healthcare named JRMC a “Best Places to Work in Healthcare” each year since 2017. For more information, visit www.jrmcnd.com or call (701) 952-1050.