At Pondera Medical Center, we like to believe there is a magic to what we do. The opportunity to serve our beloved small towns with top quality care for the entire family is coupled with the extra benefit of bringing compassion to their health. Working at a Critical Access Hospital or a Rural Health Clinic usually means that you are first and foremost, a resident of the area and you have a vested interest in the healthcare services and wellness of where you live. Pondera Medical Center is fortunate to be the largest employer in Pondera County with over 200 full-time and part-time employees, and additional work-when-needed employees and many volunteers. We feel grateful that in our mission to exceed the healthcare expectation of those we serve in all of life’s stages, there are nearly 300 Pondera County citizens working together towards that goal, for their friends and neighbors.
In our line of work, we watch our local youth grow up, start families and careers, and navigate life. We cheer for all of them. And occasionally, some of them choose to join the magic.
It is our great pleasure to announce Heather Johns, D-NP, to the PMC Rural Health Clinic as our newest Family Medicine Provider. Heather (Newmiller) Johns graduated from Conrad High School in 2008 before completing her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Montana State University in 2013. To add to her impressive timeline of education and professional development, Heather graduated from Montana State University yet again in May 2019 with her Doctorate of Nursing Practice. Pondera Medical Center could not be more excited that Heather has made the commitment to serve patients from her hometown hospital.
PMC Administration shares: “This is what it’s all about. This is why we do what we do. Every day we work together to be the best that we can be for Valier, Conrad, Brady, the entire area we serve. To have Heather want to join our mission and vision is such an honor. This is the worthy journey, to serve the great people of Pondera County, and we are so happy to welcome Heather on board. Just the idea that she sees the potential to reach her goals and best serve her community through PMC speaks volumes about our facility. We are truly humbled.”
Heather’s Philosophy of Healthcare states: I believe healthcare is a collaborative process that relies on dependable and knowledgeable staff members. I believe in teamwork, leadership, and an eager willingness to keep learning. Communication, critical thinking, and strong analytical skills are important components in taking care of patients. I believe in staying current on evidence-based-practice in order to facilitate the best care for the patients. Heather lives these philosophies every day in her current occupation as a RN in the Cardiovascular Unit and ICU at Benefis Healthcare Systems. Her eager willingness to keep learning shines bright in her accomplished goal of furthering her education, on top of working and raising Cole, her now two year old son, with her Husband, Bryce Johns. Bryce farms and ranches north of Conrad and is also one of our valued youth who chose to return to his roots, and make Conrad his permanent home. Heather’s drive and passion is apparent to anyone who meets her in any capacity--as a mother, wife, friend, relative and healthcare provider. “Heather is a great combination of innovation, kindness and respect for family and community. We just could not be more excited to have her join our team,” says Cynthia Grubb, Clinical Navigator for the PMC Rural Health Clinic. Only in a facility such as PMC, in a community such as Conrad, do you see tears of joy stream down the face of administration when they hear the news that one of our own is choosing US to be the place where their hard work, passion and training come together.
We had the opportunity to ask Heather some questions to help introduce her to our patient population in Valier, Conrad and the surrounding communities.
What made you decide to go into nursing, and then further your education?
One of my very first jobs was at PMC in the kitchen. My favorite part of my day was bringing the carts up to the residents. I knew I wanted to do something where I had more interaction with the residents. I then decided to become a CNA at PMC. I absolutely loved it, which is what inspired me to become a nurse. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences as a nurse but ultimately, I knew I wanted to be able to make a change for my community.
Being a working mother and farm wife on top of going to school… what motivates you and inspires you to work so hard?
My biggest inspiration for becoming a nurse practitioner was finding something that could serve the community and also allow me to have time to devote myself to my family. Having the ability to do both of the things that are important to me is an absolute dream.
What are you looking forward to most in your new role in Family Medicine?
I am looking forward to continuing to find ways to talk to patients and really communicate and educate to help everyone live a better life.
Can you share a little about some of your research and what is near and dear to you?
I have done the most research in palliative care, which is dear to my heart because of my experience as a nurse in the ICU. Helping people and their families navigate through difficult times and decisions is important to me. I also really love the entire lifespan from pediatrics to geriatrics, which is why I feel like I have found my dream job.
Preventative health is a big deal to healthcare (and me) and I hope I can make an impact on the community dwellers in Conrad and the surrounding area. If I can help prevent diseases from occurring or catch diseases before they become a problem--that is the ultimate goal.
Pondera Medical Center is thrilled to bring this level of compassion and talent to Pondera County and our entire patient population. She’s every bit as kind and well-spoken in person as she is on paper. Future patients are in for a genuinely valuable experience when they visit Heather Johns, D-NP, at the PMC Rural Health Clinic. We envision many benefits to this new addition, namely Women’s and Children’s Health Services. At Pondera Medical Center, Providers have the opportunity to address whole life care. We can serve our youth through well-child, but we also have an ER and Long Term Care; and we are often chosen because of the option for entire care and follow-up. Providing for our patients stretches across the board through our clinic and hospital, home health and secondary services such as lab and x-ray. Our providers can communicate with the staff and easily access records and personnel for full and complete care of each patient.
Heather Johns, D-NP, will be available to schedule patients in September of this year and looks forward to building her client base. Please call Pondera Medical Center Marketing (406-271-3495) or the PMC Rural Health Clinic (406-271-3231) for further information or if you have questions.
On behalf of the entire team at Pondera Medical Center, THANK YOU, Heather Johns, for continuing your healthcare journey with all of us at PMC. We look forward to being part of your contributions to our facility and community. Both are sure to benefit greatly from your talents and devotion. Thank you for helping us bring your Hometown and ours the “Best of Care, Close to Home.”