Sebeka Clinic: My first impression

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Working in a rural community is a unique experience. You get a real sense of the people and the bonds they form with others. Handshakes are firmer, smiles are brighter, and conversations never seem to be forced. I love the Sebeka Clinic and my work family, so I felt like sharing my thoughts on the initial few months of working at Tri-County Health Care.

The Sebeka Clinic has been a fixture in the small community for years.

The perfect fit

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started. I was a little cautious because when you work in a rural clinic, sometimes the resources you have at your fingertips are different than working in a larger clinic. Rural health care is critical. In some areas, people simply don’t have access to solid medical health. Luckily that isn’t the case in Sebeka.

After the first week, I came to the conclusion that I absolutely loved it here. We are located close to large population centers, so higher levels of care are just down the road. The flow and feel are just different in the rural satellite clinics and it just works for me!  I also grew up in northern Minnesota, so I’m no stranger to rural life.

Talent and teamwork

It’s true that some days can be challenging, especially during a pandemic, but I genuinely believe the team I work with makes every challenge more manageable. We have the best staff and we all work so well together. The atmosphere of teamwork at Tri-County Health Care makes the day fly by smoothly. We all balance each other out because, ultimately, we are here to provide quality patient-centered care.

Joining the team

Tri-County Health Care is an amazing place to work. Right now, we have a wide range of openings across several departments. This is an excellent opportunity to join a team that feels like family. Check out the careers page and see if we have an opening for you. This video is a little old, but I thought it was a nice portrait of the surrounding community. Please enjoy!

Alyssa Jackson is often the only primary care provider at the Sebeka Clinic

Alyssa Jackson, APRN, FNP

About the guest author: Alyssa Jackson, APRN, FNP

Alyssa Jackson is a nurse practitioner at the Sebeka Clinic with experience in hospice, palliative and primary care. She places a high value on administering care tailored to the unique needs of each patient. Alyssa loves animals, so when she isn’t at the Sebeka Clinic, she can be found riding horses, chasing chickens, and playing with her five dogs.


Mothers helping mothers: Janie & Charlotte

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Janie Bigelow comes from a family of caregivers and nurses. Her grandmother, Charlotte Schloeder, worked as a nurse in the OB department at Tri-County Health Care before retiring. Her mother is also a nurse. Their dedication to health inspired Jani to care for others, leading her to a career as a nurse in obstetrics, much like her grandmother. Janie’s story is about mothers helping mothers.

Janie and Charlotte

Nurses are known for providing support in all aspects of medical treatment but even nurses need help sometimes. Janie gave birth to Charlotte Lucille Bigelow in December 2019. After her birth, Charlotte was admitted to intensive care due to respiratory stress. Charlotte couldn’t breathe without the use of oxygen. Additionally, Jani had a difficult time producing milk for her newborn daughter. Charlotte needed milk to thrive, leaving Janie in a difficult spot.

Janie and her family needed milk donations after Charlotte was born. She donated milk so other mothers could have the same support she received.

Fortunately, fellow mothers had stepped up and soon Janie received steady donations of milk. “We relied on others for the nutrition she needed to grow and remain healthy during our stay in the NICU,” said Janie. “Now I know how much blood, sweat, and tears go into pumping and I will forever be grateful for what we received for our baby Charlotte,” said Janie.

Janie didn’t give up. She was determined to produce milk for Charlotte. With encouragement from her family and friends, she went on to produce enough milk. She produced so much that she had a surplus. This milk couldn’t go to waste, especially after she received so much help from others. Janie has been donating her milk in the hopes that she can extend her care as others had done. At this time, Janie has donated 1,200 ounces and she hopes to donate even more after she gives birth to her second child in November 2021.

“I am just so happy to be able to donate back to other families. It makes my heart happy knowing there are babies who are thriving because they received donated breast milk. I had other moms help me out when I struggled and now I can help too!” – Janie Bigelow

Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies

Labor and Delivery Supervisor Sarah Riedel manages milk donations in partnership with Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies. The Golden Valley-based organization provides donated milk to mothers in need. Tri-County Health Care is a donation site and Sarah is an Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant. Since the start of the milk depot, Riedel has overseen donations from all over Minnesota.

How to donate

If you find that you’re producing excess milk, please consult a doctor before donating. Then contact a donation site like Tri-County Health Care. After filling out the paperwork, a representative from the milk bank will contact you for a phone screen. From there, you will provide health history information and go through testing. After approval from the milk bank, you will be given a donor number. This donor number needs to be placed on the milk container. The last step is to schedule a date with a drop-off site.

To learn more or donate milk at Tri-County Health Care, please visit our Milk Depot page or contact Sarah Riedel at 218-632-8741.