Flandreau’s latest medical provider likes working in a smaller town, where she knows patients and their families.
Olivia Brown is nurse practitioner and the fourth medical provider at Avera Flandreau Hospital. She started working at the facility in September as a nurse and switched in November to nurse practitioner, after graduating, so that she can see her own patients.
Brown lives on a farm near Dell Rapids with her husband, Levi, and 3-year-old daughter, Cora.
“I like the rural community for sure,” she said. She did her clinical training in Tyler and Marshall, Minn., and in Brookings, where she graduated from South Dakota State University with a doctorate in 2019. “I definitely like the feeling of a small-town clinic where you get to know everybody’s families and you know everyone that walks through the doors.”
Her specialty is family practice medicine, and she can see patients from birth to the end of life.
“I just love the variety of family medicine. I love that my first patient in the morning can be 2 months old and the next one, 92,” she said. “This is going to be a huge learning experience for me, and that was something I knew coming into it.”
Brown’s professional experience since earning her registered nursing degree from SDSU in 2014, has been at Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls. The skills she learned working in an urban hospital taking care of very sick patients is an asset in a small town with an emergency medicine department, too.
Brown is a good addition to the staff that includes Dr. Scott Peterson, Physician’s Assistant Cindy Deutscher and Nurse Practitioner Abbie Entringer, said Scott Hargens, hospital administrator.
“We’re just super excited to have Olivia on board. She is a midwestern girl with a wonderful work ethic, a wonderful provider. I just feel blessed to have her on the team,” he said.
Brown grew up in Aberdeen, attended Roncalli High School and when she went to college, she wanted to earn a degree in an area that involved science. She liked that there were so many career options with nursing, including earning advanced degrees or teaching.
“My goal is to build my practice up and have my own patients. Flandreau has really been needing another provider that is here for the long term,” she said. “We’re a very, very busy clinic and a very busy ER.”
Hargens said the hospital has not been able to consistently have four providers and needs them. “To be able to have four providers that will be able to see patients consistently in the clinic and in the ER is going to bring a ton of value to our community,” he said.
Avera will continue to have specialists visit for cardiology, orthopedics, podiatry, general surgery and obstetrics and gynecology. In addition, the facility provides urgent care services from 5 to 7 p.m. on Mondays and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The hospital is a critical access hospital and has 18 licensed beds.
It takes the four providers to offer around-the-clock care for a community, Hargens said.
Brown knows she will learn new things in her position, and she appreciates the other providers who help her. “If I have a question, they’re always willing to answer for me.” Avera also is able to tap into the knowledge of specialists in their network through e-medicine links in which other doctors can look at patients through a camera.
Brown’s favorite part of medicine is when she sees patients make changes for the better.
“I love to be able to educate my patients in a way that motivates them to take control of their health,” she said. “If somebody is motivated and they’re empowered to make that change and they’re given the opportunity to do so, it’s pretty remarkable what can happen.”