Veteran finds perfect fit in new nursing career

South Dakota Air National Guard veteran Katie LeBrun is settling into a new career as a nurse at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“I’m almost 29 and just graduated from nursing in 2020. It’s been a long road to get here,” LeBrun said.

The former captain and intelligence officer of 114e Fighter Wing is currently working consecutive nights in The Birth Place at Sanford Health every weekend.

LeBrun says it has been incredibly rewarding “to work with this patient population (mothers and babies) and to experience this exciting time in their lives with them.”

A relatively new mother herself to one-year-old daughter, Amelia, LeBrun found joining the night shift a perfect fit with her family life. Her husband Joe farms near Colman, South Dakota.

“I always tell people to be a nurse. You can literally find any schedule that suits the lifestyle you want and still make a lot of money doing it,” LeBrun said.

“Do something beyond me”

Being of service to others is a key part of LeBrun’s makeup. When she was in high school in Montrose, South Dakota, she knew she was going to join the military.

“The day I turned 17, I was like, OK, I’m ready to go,” said LeBrun, who was also in aviation resource and airfield management. “I like the idea of ​​doing something that is beyond me. Not just for me but for others.”

LeBrun spent nearly 10 years in the Air National Guard and his service ended last November.

“I think that’s also why nursing interests me as well. Going to work and knowing that what you do there is valuable to a lot of people.

While the military was a priority for LeBrun at a young age, a career in nursing was not. Her first foray into college led her to a business degree from the University of South Dakota in 2015.

Feeling drawn to health care, LeBrun put business aside and spent three years as a paramedic in Sioux Falls. Then she contacted a counselor at South Dakota State University about an accelerated nursing program.

LeBrun says those interested in nursing should start “talking with a few different counselors (from multiple schools) and getting an idea of ​​what the program is about and figuring out what path you need to take to get into nursing school. “.

She values ​​Sanford Health’s mission to be a resource and employer of choice for veterans and active military members.

“I grew up here and have always used Sanford for my personal care,” LeBrun said. “I definitely have first-hand experience with the type of people who are hired at Sanford.”

“(Sanford’s values) aligned with my morals and my reasons for wanting to go to work.”

Sanford Health recruits veterans

The organization offers scholarships and sponsorships to those with a military background. There’s even a special website to help military members find jobs with Sanford Health and the Good Samaritan Society.

“Anyone who’s been in the military lives their life a little bit differently,” LeBrun said. “The minute you come back from basic training, your life changes with how you see things, how you see others, and how you want to present yourself to the outside world. I think it creates a good professional attitude for a nurse or any other professional to display. »

With opportunities for advancement at Sanford Health, the leader is excited about her future. She is also more than satisfied with her current duty.

“Part of me would love to get back to that leadership position that I had when I was an officer on the base,” LeBrun said. “Right now, I’m focusing on my family and enjoying my current schedule. Where I can spend all the time with my daughter that I want.

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Posted in Nursing and Nursing Support, Sanford Stories, Sioux Falls, Veterans Affairs

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