Caregiver Feature
A Full Ride on the Frontlines

Caregiver Jordan Hanley, RN, discovered that a supportive environment is crucial to finding your next level.

Jordan Hanley, RN, always knew — even when she was a little girl growing up in Hartford, S.D. — that she wanted to use her life to help people. “My grandma was a nurse, so I followed in her footsteps,” Jordan said. “I also completed a lot of internships in high school through the ER there.” Jordan earned her LPN degree at Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls. After graduation, she moved to Rapid City to be closer to her boyfriend and to take a position at Monument Health. While serving as an LPN at the Rapid City Hospital, Jordan discovered a supportive and encouraging environment. “I have no family out here, so it’s really nice to have this kind of support,” she said. A workplace that cares is always nice, but Jordan found something even better from her fellow caregivers: encouragement and support to take the next step.

The next step

An LPN, or licensed practical nurse, is a nurse who is trained and charged with the comfort of their patients. Becoming an RN, or registered nurse, allows nurses to, among other things, offer more guidance to their patients. Jordan explained, “When I was an LPN, I couldn’t give as much education and advice as an RN can. So in a clinic setting, I’m now able to relay some information to patients instead of having a doctor call.”

Jordan always wanted to continue to grow in her nursing career. “I knew I wanted to go back to RN school when I came out here; I just didn’t know what school or how to go about it,” she said. Jordan met with Ace Berry, RN, Fifth Street Clinic Nurse Manager, to discuss her next steps on earning her RN degree. “I met with Ace and I told him I was interested in earning my RN, so he reached out to Human Resources for me. Then I applied to Western Dakota Tech and for the Build Dakota Scholarship. That’s how I got started.”


Build Dakota Scholarship

Through the Build Dakota Scholarship, Jordan received a full scholarship to the RN program at Western Dakota Technical College (WDTC). Students participating in this scholarship agree to keep a grade point average at or above a 2.5, work in an in-demand field in South Dakota for a minimum of three years after graduation and meet certain other requirements.

Joanna Wiseman, Monument Health, talent acquisition and marketing specialist, explained more about how the Build Dakota Scholarship works. “We pay for half of their schooling and the state of South Dakota pays the other half.”

Joanna added that being a part of Build Dakota lines up with the mission of Monument Health. “I think it really shows that we’re invested in developing the community by helping get more people in health care. It’s a really great opportunity for students to not worry about their finances while going to school and being able to focus directly on their studies.”

Monument Health has sponsored over 100 people through the Build Dakota Scholarship, and Joanna is excited to see even more caregivers and others enjoy this opportunity. In fact, Joanna reported that new health care programs will be eligible for this scholarship soon. “It’s a great opportunity, and you don’t just have to be a high school student to reap the benefits, and you don’t have to be a Monument Health employee, either,” Joanna said. “Applications are open one time a year — from January through the end of March.”


Providing the encouragement

Today, Jordan has earned her RN and is using her new experiences to serve her patients. “When I was an LPN, I obviously knew how to do IVs and wound care and all that, but going back and pursuing more education is just another way to serve our patients,” she said.
Jordan has also become a champion of the Build Dakota Scholarship, and actively cheers on her colleagues who are committing to take the next step in their nursing careers. “We have multiple people going back to school now in our clinic; one of whom is going to WDTC, so I’ve been helping her through the process of applying for Build Dakota,” Jordan said.
An encouraging environment can really change a life, as Jordan has discovered. And with opportunities like the Build Dakota Scholarship, Jordan and others are sure to keep advancing in the ways they can make a difference in the lives of others.


The Build Dakota Scholarship is a phenomenal opportunity for South Dakota residents to pursue more educational opportunities. To see a full list of qualifying programs and to learn more, scan the QR code or visit

Story By Stephen Simpson
Photos by Bob Slocum