What if a girl from Creston, IA, went to graduate school in Omaha, NE, and met her lab partner’s best friend? Then they discovered that his mother went to school with her aunt in Humphrey, NE, the town of 850 people where he grew up? What if they both ended up together in the Physical Therapy Department at Ringgold County Hospital in Mount. Ayr, IA?
This is just part of the true story that brought Jill Johnson and Nathan Greisen to RCH. Energetic and excited, the PT department’s two newest members started work full time in mid-April. They had been recruited several months earlier by Mitzi Hymbaugh, HR director for the hospital, to cover for another physical therapist that was on maternity leave. “We’re young and had decided to travel for a while before settling in one place,” said Jill. “We spent three months in New Mexico, then three months in Alabama. That’s when Mitzi called, and we headed here for the short term.” They ended up loving the staff and the community. It turned out there was a need in the PT department and they were both offered full-time positions. “They’re the right positions, at the right time. We’re really happy with the decision,” she added.
Nate’s undergraduate degree is in Exercise Science. He has a particular interest in sports performance and athletic injuries. “Lots of people become exercise specialists and work as personal trainers or go into corporate wellness,” said Nate. “After I graduated, I decided to pursue Physical Therapy and get a Physical Therapy Assistant degree.”
Jill always knew she wanted to be a Physical Therapist. She has a degree in Athletic Training and a doctorate in Physical Therapy. “I have my license in Athletic Training and I’d like to use it, but I went to PT school right away.”
Although they work in the same department, they do different work and help different patients every day. “In the mornings I work in cardiac rehab, pulmonary rehab, and help patients with peripheral artery disease,” said Nate. “In the afternoons I do strictly physical therapy.” Jill is doing physical therapy full time, along with the rest of the PT team: Jill Ehlen, Ruth Smith, and Shyanne Allen.
For a facility the size of Ringgold County Hospital, that seems to be a large staff. “You’d be surprised how busy we are,” said Jill. “We care for all the inpatients when we get orders from a doctor, and we have many outpatients who come with injuries, or are recovering from surgery.” She added that that for a smaller hospital, having an aquatic therapy pool, and new hypnotherapy services is unusual. “RCH is keeping up with what’s offered in bigger hospitals.”
Nate’s passion is sports performance, and he gets satisfaction working with athletes. But he also really enjoys working with the older population. “I like to use my entire knowledge base going into the rehab process.” Jill loves the variety of patients she gets to work with at RCH. “From pediatrics to a 94-year-old, I never know who will be a part of my day.” Both Nate and Jill are excited to be in Mount Ayr, working at Ringgold County Hospital, and doing what they’ve been trained to do. Jill is from Creston, “It’s close to where I grew up. I have family nearby, and at the same time, it’s refreshing to be in a new community.”