By Roz Kohls
Ann Riewer, a new family nurse practitioner at Dassel Medical Clinic, already is familiar with the Dassel- Cokato area, because she grew up on a farm north of nearby Silver Lake. She knew she would enjoy working in Dassel.
However, once she started part time in August at the clinic along Highway 12, she also found the staff there “a nice professional group to work with,” she said.
Riewer agreed to practice there full time, with Michael Long, a physician’s assistant, and Timothy Remple, M.D., and she started Jan. 1.
A family nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nursing, which she received from South Dakota State University. Riewer received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Winona State University.
Riewer always found the medical part of nursing interesting, such as learning how to diagnose and prescribe medicines. What surprised her, though, was how much she enjoyed the one-on-one conversations with her patients.
Riewer worked at Glencoe Area Health Center in the early ‘90s, and found the experience working at a small hospital extremely valuable.
For example, when a patient is disappointed to find out he needs to take extra medication, Riewer explains to him how the added medicine will help, and will fit into his lifestyle. As the patient gradually shows he accepts and understands why the extra medicine is necessary, it makes Riewer “feel really good,” she said.
Also, sometimes patients are nervous about a procedure, and Riewer will talk them through it.
Another pleasure is when Riewer announces to a patient that the patient is finally pregnant after years of trying, Riewer said.
Riewer has many wonderful stories of interactions with patients.
Between 2000 and 2007, Riewer worked at the Buffalo Clinic and in urgent care. She had a very sick child there who they had been testing for pneumonia. The child’s laboratory tests were suspicious. Maybe he had leukemia, but they couldn’t be sure without testing for it, she said.
Riewer had to tell the child’s parents they were testing to rule out leukemia, without scaring the parents into thinking they actually believed their son had the cancer.
It was such a relief and made Riewer so happy to be able to tell the parents it wasn’t leukemia, only bronchitis.
Some incidents Riewer recalled, she knows she will never forget. A little girl about 4 or 5 years old came into urgent care with an obviously fractured wrist. The nurses had her resting her wrist on a pillow. While the staff was getting the little girl ready to repair the wrist in surgery, she looked up with tears in her eyes at Riewer, and, with the most adult-sounding articulation and syntax said, “I would like you to not touch it, please.”
And some of Riewer’s stories are funny. A grandfather and a little girl went fishing. The hook from the little girl’s line caught in her cheek. Her grandfather was in such a hurry to get her to the physician, that he brought her in while the worm was still on the hook. The amused nurses had to remove the worm in the doctor’s office.
Another time, a man had cut his arm in the morning, but delayed going to the emergency room until afternoon. He delayed because he was afraid of needles, he told the staff. However, the cut in his arm was much worse, and probably more painful, than what he would experience from having the cut stitched together by a needle, Riewer said.
Riewer also enjoyed working at Hutchinson Medical Center in 1999, and St. Bernard’s Hospital in Milbank SD.
Now that Riewer is full time at the Dassel clinic, she sees about eight to 12 patients a day.
She lives in Hutchinson with her husband, Rodney Riewer, a veterinarian who is now a consultant for Form-A-Feed in Stewart. They have three children, Abby, 7; Ben, 6, who both attend school in Hutchinson; and Nick, 4.