Rookie Rules: MMC’s Smith Wins State Recognition

October 29, 2017

By Reilly Biel - Yankton Press & Dakotan Reporter

Mount Marty College Chief Nurse Administrator Dr. Diane Smith shows the Rookie of the Year plaque award she received at this year’s South Dakota Nursing Association conference held in Yankton Oct. 1-2.Mount Marty College’s (MMC) nursing department has been making news lately due to the upcoming addition to its nursing program.

Now, one of its administrators is also making news.

At the annual South Dakota Nursing Association’s (SDNA) conference held earlier this month in Yankton, MMC Chief Nurse Administrator Dr. Diane Smith was named Rookie of the Year. This award goes to a new member of SDNA who has been a member for at least one year, but no longer than three years. The honoree also has had to contribute energy and commitment to SDNA.

“I was honored to receive this award from an amazing group of individuals,” Smith said.
Other Yankton citizens who received awards at the conference were: Rep. Jean Hunhoff with the Distinguished Service award; S. Debra Kolecka with the Nurse Practice award; Jacqueline Kelley with the District 11 Nurse of the Year award; and Sandra Isburg was inducted into the SDNA Hall of Fame.

SDNA District 11 President Kathy Jorgensen was pleased with all the recognized District 11 members.

“We are proud to have those individuals because they are so deserving of the awards they received,” she said.
SDNA is a daughter organization of the American Nurses Association (ANA). Smith has been a member of the ANA for her entire career.

She became a registered nurse through St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in 1983, obtained her bachelors and masters of science in nursing at Briar Cliff University in 2007 and 2010, respectively, and completed her PhD in nursing at South Dakota State University in 2015.

Smith decided to take on a full-time administrative role in nursing education in 2007.

“Within nursing, I had always been involved in patient education,” she said. “When I went on for higher education, I was involved with research in the health care field, so I decided to continue to learn more research.”

She had previously worked and resided in Sioux City, Iowa, prior to coming to MMC in the fall of 2016. In December of that year, she received the Northwest Iowa Nurse of the Year award.

Upon moving to Yankton, she became a member of the SDNA.

“I was very involved with health care and policy in the state of Iowa,” she said. “One of my focuses is historical nursing research and how those nurses in the religious life came to change our health care today and continue to impact our health care.”

This interest makes her a perfect fit for MMC, which has a rich history with the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery who drove the effort to make health care the central point of study at the college.

Smith is excited to be a part of the upcoming nursing simulation lab project, which will begin construction in January, with completion expected by next fall.

“I understand that the simulation area is just a tool to allow students to practice in a safe environment, but also to collaborate with the community and learn together,” she said. “I’m a steward (of the donations MMC received) to make sure that what we do is needed in our nursing education and to be mindful of that as we work through the transition.”

As chief nurse administrator, Smith oversees the nursing programs, both undergraduate and masters. She also does some teaching within the BSN master’s program.

“My favorite aspect is working with the students,” she said...

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