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Gerberding new PA at Philip Health Services

Tuesday evening through all day Wednesday will be Janell Gerberding's regular work shift at the Philip Health Services, Inc.

She has already been doing some physicians assistant work off and on for the Philip hospital and clinic for almost two years. She helped cover shifts while Physicians Assistant Terry Henrie was gone for almost a year for an emergency room training program.

"Janell has convinced the staff that she really likes working here," said Kent Olson, CEO of PHSI. "All of the providers here gave such good feedback concerning her, that this arrangement and regular work schedule is a natural progression."

Gerberding said, "I've always been drawn to small communities. The other staff and the patients have been incredible to work with. Patients are grateful and supportive of the Philip hospital. It is a special atmosphere to be in. If it wasn't so special, I wouldn't make the effort to commute here."

A graduate of Spearfish High School, Gerberding graduated in 1996 from South Dakota State University with a nutrition and food science major and a minor in chemistry. She interned at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, for one year before applying at the University of Oklahoma for physicians assistant training.

"Though I initially schooled to be a dietitian, it wasn't satisfying enough," said Gerberding. "What I envisioned and the reality didn't coincide. I needed something more challenging and dealing more with patient care. Getting a PA degree was a nice compromise, requiring only two to three more years of education, yet still giving me the eventual lifestyle to be a mother."

She and her husband, John, now have two children, Seth, 11, and Holly, 9. Gerberding worked as a PA in Newcastle, WY, until 2003. Then, after a year at Rapid City Community Health Center, she is now at the Spearfish Regional Medical Center.

"Coming to work in Philip was an act of fate," said Gerberding. "At an emergency medical conference in Rapid City, I met Terry Henrie. Through him, I was called and asked to assist the next time PHSI needed someone."

Olson said, "We are looking for a long-term arrangement. If it grows to more than one and half days a week, great. From a business standpoint, it's good to have more choices, especially having a female provider with whom female patients might feel more comfortable."

"My husband is proud of me," said Gerberding. "He respects the commitment of the education. I was one of only three from out of state to get into a class of 50 at the University of Oklahoma. He values the commitment of the occupation. It is not a nine-to-five job. My kids think that it is really neat. I've done some minor suturing of them a couple of times."

In her down time, Gerberding enjoys hunting deer and pheasant. She and her family camp and hike. She is a member of the ski patrol at Deer Mountain.

Gerberding will be working with health care providers Dr. Coenraad Klopper, Dr. David Holman, PA Terry Henrie and Nurse Practitioner Robin Peterson-Lund.