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Wednesday
October 27th, 2021

brie greesonBrie Greeson takes a break from her work as the administrator for the Seward County Health Department last Wednesday morning. L&T photo/Robert PierceROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

Brie Greeson has worked in several capacities of health care as a nurse.

She began her career as a certified nurses aide before becoming a license practical nurse and finally a registered nurse.

Greeson likewise worked with critical access care at one hospital, while also working full-time at Liberal’s Southwest Medical Center.

At SWMC, Greeson worked in the hospital’s obstetrics floor and emergency room. Before leaving her job at the hospital, she became the manager of the medical surgery department.

Greeson was recently hired as the new administrator of the Seward County Health Department, replacing longtime administrator Martha Brown, who retired recently.

Greeson said her primary goal as the head of the health department is to inform the public about what SCHD has to offer.

“I want to get our services out to the community,” she said. “I didn’t realize all the working parts of the health department until I was actually in this job. We do so many great things. I’ve done a few speeches and some different things throughout the community already, and I want to continue to do those, work with the other agencies in the community  and the hospital and give the best patient care we can.”

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Greeson trained under Brown’s guidance, and while health care is a serious business, the new administrator said there was also time to be not so serious during the training.

“We laughed a lot,” she said. “We had fun, but learned a lot. This is a big job. Everybody thinks, ‘Oh you had three months with her,’ but I don’t know if there’s enough time in the day to learn what we needed to. There’s a lot I’m still learning as well. Training was good, and I miss her being here every day.”

Greeson said even after the training, she is still learning much about the job at this time.

“With (Brown) being in this job for so long, you can’t pass on all that information in that time,” she said. “I’d say I learned 50 to 60 percent of the job. There’s a lot of stuff you have to learn as you do it – her way, my way, the way we created together and the way I’ve got to figure it out.”

Greeson said she does want to implement some new programs in the future, but first, she wants to explore what the health department already has.

“Right now, I want to get to know what we have really well since I’m new and didn’t work at the health department before,” she said. “I want to get to know the programs we have very well and from there, see if there’s something new we can bring in or a service we don’t provided to the community.”

From an early age, Greeson knew she wanted to be a nurse.

“My parents had a friend who was a nurse, and she always made it look so glamorous,” she said. “I loved how she’d talk about helping people, and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I wasn’t one of the college students who went and switched my major three times. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with work.”

The transition between administrators at SCHD came during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while she was faced with handling coronavirus early on in her time as administrator, Greeson said this is something that has become easier over time.

“When I first came on, we were in a spot where we had cases, but it wasn’t like it was last year,” she said. “We were able to do a lot of things before it kicked up again, but it’s difficult because in this job, you wear multiple hats anyway. You add COVID onto it and how it changes and how it affects your day-to-day things. It was difficult in the beginning, but now that I’ve got my feet wet and know where we’re going with stuff and have a plan and the support of my boss and the commissioners and where we’re going, it’s been good. I feel we’re at a good place.”

The transition from Brown to Greeson also came with the change of locations for SCHD, as the health department was moved from West Second Street to West 15th Street. Greeson herself did not work in the Second Street building, but she said for the most part, the move was a smooth one for others.

“We’ve had a few little hiccups here and there with some space things and throwing out stuff we don’t need to keep anymore,” she said. “The new building has been great from having a little bit more parking and an updated building.”

Greeson said COVID numbers have remained steady in recent months, but she is unsure of what the near future holds for the pandemic.

“I do not have a crystal ball,” she said. “I would love to just say it’s all going to go away soon, but right now, we’re sitting around where we have been the last month and a half with cases. The commission did approve to keep my temporary COVID staff. We do have the three COVID investigators, the vaccine coordinator and the staff who run the testing site out at the old Neighborhood Market. That’s been great for our community as well as several other communities that drive into get tested at our site for few.”

Greeson said the need for additional staff is something that will be determined by where COVID numbers go.

“We’re going to re-evaluate everything in March and see where we’re at, if we need to keep them, if we’re feeling we don’t,” she said. “If anything dramatically changes in between, it would be revisited of course.”

Overall, Greeson said she is excited to be the health department’s newest administrator.

“I have a great staff,” she said. “They’ve all been so welcoming, and I couldn’t ask for a better group or people to welcome me in. I’m excited to see where we go.”

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