Current Award Recipient
Mary Amundson, RN, CCRN
I was raised in a small town in central Minnesota where having a primary care provider travel from town to town or having to drive close to an hour to be seen by a pediatric provider was the norm. My idea of medicine and nursing was simple. I had dreams of working in healthcare and idolized the life of traveling from one small town to the next to provide care. At the time, I did not come close to considering issues related to healthcare access, social determinants of health, or health inequities present in rural communities.
My eyes opened through varied experiences throughout my undergraduate nursing studies at the University of Minnesota and my first years as a registered nurse. While working as a new graduate at Gillette Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and volunteering as a nurse at St. Mary’s Health Clinics, providing care to underinsured or uninsured persons, the stark differences between the sites were impossible to ignore. The resources I worked with at St. Mary’s to care for an entire clinic day of patients was a small fraction compared to the resources I had immediately available in the PICU. Yet, in both places the needs of the patient at times outweighed the resources available. I began to think back to my upbringing and the resources, or lack thereof, in my own community, especially for pediatric care. Since that point in my career, it became and continues to be a dream and passion to increase access to healthcare for Minnesota children.
How do you see yourself contributing to the pediatric community in 5-10 years?
I see myself providing excellent healthcare and advocating for increased access for pediatric patients, especially those with special healthcare needs, living in rural Minnesota. I would like to coordinate with specialties available in the metropolitan area of Minnesota and other larger healthcare systems to bring affordable care to children and families living in outstate Minnesota. I am passionate about providing quality, inclusive care and see myself as a bridge to bringing education and access to healthcare closer to home for many families.