Each year, the South Dakota Nurses Association (SDNA) recognizes nurses for different awards.
Awards include District Nurse of the Year Award, Rookie of the Year Award, Distinguished Service Award, Nursing Practice Award, Joy of Nursing Award, Pioneer in Nursing Award, the Nurse Educator Award and the SDNA Hall of Fame Award.
SDNA is the official organization for South Dakota registered nurses. The group is part of the American Nurses Association. This allows for SDNA members’ voices to be heard nationally.
Helene Hegge, the USD nursing site director, was recognized this year by the SNDA for the District Nurse of the Year award.
The District Nurse of the Year award recognizes nurses that have contributed to the district and profession in a significant way, Hegge said.
Hegge has been a nurse for a 35 years, and said her job does not feel like work.
“I have been a nurse for 35 years and am proud to represent USD Nursing. I feel fortunate to have chosen a career in which going to work has always been fun and not felt like work,” Hegge said.
Hegge has practiced as a nurse in several different areas. Practices include medical, surgical, emergency department, ENT clinic, school nursing and rural health.
“I have worked with many talented healthcare providers over the years,” Hegge said.
Hegge graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Mount Marty College in 1986. She obtained her master’s degree from Walden University in 2011. Hegge then got her post-masters certificates in Public Health Nursing and online teaching.
Hegge has received grants and various honorable awards. Aside from the SDNA award, Hegge was also recognized for The Nurse Educator Award in 2016, and the Professor of the Game award in 2017.
“The USD nursing team is a very talented and strong group that I learn from and with every day,” Hegge said.
Hegge works every day with the USD Nursing students to help them excel in their skills, Hegge said.
“The USD Nursing team strives to develop exceptional health practitioners and leaders in the healthcare field,” Hegge said.