Regional Health Medical Clinic of Hot Springs will soon say goodbye to a well-respected employee, Susan Rooks.
Rooks is planning on retiring after a long, rewarding and colorful career as a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM). She has worked at the Hot Springs Clinic for over a decade, but has worked as a midwife much longer.
After receiving her bachelor degree in Science of Nursing from Bowling Green State University in Ohio in 1977, she started her nursing career at Pine Ridge Indian Health Services Hospital. She met her husband there at a hospital picnic.
She later obtained a certificate in Nurse Midwifery from the University of California-San Diego in 1983.
In 1985 she moved back to Pine Ridge and started her career as a nurse midwife. Her responsibilities there grew as she became a supervisory nurse. She juggled supervisory responsibilities, administrative duties and clinical work. Her responsibilities were magnified by the fact that a permanent OB/Gyn was, at times, challenging to find.
Though she had many responsibilities, she said, "birthing babies is my passion."
During her tenure at Pine Ridge, Rooks estimates she helped deliver around 1,700 babies.
She worked at a number of other heath care facilities in Rapid City from the late 1990s to the mid 2000s. Between her work at Native Women's Health Care and Rushmore Ob/Gyn, Rooks helped deliver another 300 babies.
Over her entire career, Rooks estimated she was involved in the delivery of around 2,000 babies.
She stopped delivering when she started working at Black Hills Family Health Clinic (now Regional Health) in Hot Springs in 2007 when she began work in outpatient women's heath services.
Reflecting on her career as a midwife, Rooks remembered some highlights, "I delivered seven of my nieces and nephews, those were pretty special. Also, I started to deliver the babies of babies I'd delivered. Helping dads deliver their own children was always special too."
Rooks said one highlight of her career was working as a midwife, she affectionately calls it "catching babies." Another highlight was receiving the American college of Nurse Midwives Public Policy Award. She received the award last year for her efforts in South Dakota midwifery laws. The award highlights her work as an active member of her professional community.
There will be a few things Rooks misses when she retires, "I'm going to miss my patients, and the people I work with."
Her and her husband (retired from Golden West in Hot Spring) have a few plans for retirement. "we want to travel and remodel our house. We will probably do a lot of the remodel ourselves."