NDAPA Presents Abbey Ruland with PA of the Year Award
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Mountrail County Medical Center’s Abbey Ruland was named the PA of the Year by the North Dakota Academy of Physician Assistants. The award was scheduled to be presented at the NDAPA Spring Conference but was canceled due to the pandemic. It was rescheduled for the Fall meeting, but that too has been canceled.
Cheryl Ulven, PA-C, who serves on the legislative and scholarship committees for the NDAPA, arranged for a surprise presentation of the award at Mountrail County Medical Center (MCMC) in Stanley, ND. Administrators and others at MCMC were able to put together a lunch in honor of Abbey and invited her family to join in the celebration.
Nominations are made by a PA’s peers, physicians, clinic staff, or hospital staff. The nominations are then reviewed and voted on by the six officers, eleven committee chairs, and three national delegates of the NDAPA Board.
Other receiving nominations this year included Annette Larson, PA-C, of the Cancer Center of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND, and Grant Lannoye, PA-C of Towner County Medical Center in Cando, ND.
To be nominated, they must be a Physician Assistant who works or resides in North Dakota. The nominator may feel the PA deserves recognition because they provide excellent patient care, are well respected by the medical community as well as patients, and/or are considered to be an asset to the community and the PA profession. They might be someone who has been involved in medical education, dedicated to improving public health by involvement in community education in addition to patient education. They may be involved in humanitarian projects, giving of themselves in service to others above and beyond their normal daily responsibilities. Ruland checks all those boxes based on the letter of nomination by Mountrail County Medical Center CEO Steph Everett.
Abbey started with MCMC in 2013. In 2018 she took a hiatus serving the residents of New Town at the Trinity Clinic. MCMC set out to get Ruland back on staff. The letter says that without her, “the void created in our team without her devoted and kindhearted nature was palatable.” With a provider not fulfilling their contract, they reached out and were lucky enough to get her back in the fall of 2019.
She hit the ground running on her return, stepping back in with her patients, sitting as an active member of the medical staff council, taking Emergency Department call, and filling in for Dr. Longmuir in reviewing and accepting patients for the Swing Bed and Nursing Home program. The letter says, “Abbey is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure our patients are getting excellent community-based care.”
She has spearheaded the Quality Improvement process in the Rural Health Clinic. She oversees documentation of care for one doctor, two nurse practitioners, and two physician assistants.
“Abbey is always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to serve her patients,” stated Rich Laksonen, FNP, ENP in the letter. “She’s a pleasure to work with, always willing to lend an ear or a helping hand. Her work ethic and knowledge of the latest in evidence-based medicine ensure that her patients receive compassionate care close to home, be it through the rural health clinic or emergency department.”
CAH Director and former ER Nurse LaRae Rudolph had this to say. “Abbey has a wide knowledge base and positive energy and drive in healthcare always going above and beyond using both an individual and/or team effort approach to deliver optimal patient care to whoever is in need.”
Everett said this at the end of the nomination letter. “The bottom line is that Abbey is an esteemed member of our MCMC family and the compassionate community-based care we provide here in Stanley is a result of Abbey’s hard work.”
The mission of NDAPA is to promote quality, cost-effective, accessible health care to enhance the health and well-being of the people of North Dakota and to promote the professional and personal development of PAs.
Congratulations again to Abbey for receiving the award and also to Annette and Grant for their nominations.