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Joan Ryan says nursing careers have many ways of making a difference

She has been a licensed practical nurse since 1978 and has worked at Sanford Health Alexandria Clinic for nearly 24 years.

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Joan Ryan, LPN

ALEXANDRIA — Joan Ryan has been a licensed practical nurse since 1978. She first worked at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar for eight years. Then, she worked at Affiliated Community Medical Center in Willmar for 12 years.

Nearly 24 years ago, she and her husband, James, moved to the Alexandria area and ever since, she has worked at Sanford Health Alexandria Clinic. She was the very first float nurse ever hired at Sanford. She has worked in family medicine and internal medicine. But currently is working in the OB/GYN department.

To celebrate National Nurses Week, Ryan answered the following questions about her profession:

Q: Why did you become a nurse? What drew you to the profession?

A: I grew up in a large family, and my mother was the most compassionate and kindest person. I feel I got some of that from her, so I knew I wanted to be a nurse to care for people.


Q: What do you love about your job?

A: I love knowing that I can somehow make a difference in making patients feel that they are important, and that I really care about them. I am a preceptor, and have enjoyed training new nurses that are hired. I have made some very great friends in the 23.75 years I have been at Sanford Health.

Q: What are the challenges of your job?

A: The biggest challenge, as everyone would agree, was working during the COVID pandemic. The challenges are minor since that era is hopefully over.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a nurse?

A: If you have compassion, then become a nurse. There are so many areas in nursing where you can make a difference.

Q: What would you like the community to know about either your job, specifically, or the nursing profession as a whole?

A: There is such a variety of areas of nursing that you can choose from, and there is always room for advancement. I have learned many interesting and valuable information in every area I have worked. I have worked with many great providers here at Sanford Health, and am happy I am part of the team. I also have so many incredible co-workers.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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