New CEO at CMH, Karen Sjurseth, joins Redfield community
By Shiloh Appel
On January 4th, Karen Sjurseth took her place as the new CEO at Community Memorial Hospital in Redfield. Sjurseth, originally from Crookston, Minnesota, began her journey in healthcare as an X-Ray technologist, and worked her way up to CEO over a 20 year process. With a passion for critical access hospitals and rural health, Sjurseth became interested in Redfield after seeing a job posting for CMH.
“It was exactly what I have seen before [in critical access hospitals]. It was definitely one that stood out to me and I was very interested in looking into it,” said Sjurseth. “So I relocated to Redfield with my husband and two children. Everyone has been super welcoming with us since we’ve been here. It has been fantastic.”
In early 2000, Sjurseth attended school at Mayo Clinic, completing all of her education and clinical rotations there before ultimately working for Mayo as well. After working as an X-ray technician her first year, Sjurseth moved into a travel liaison for Mayo and traveled in Arizona, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“I then started working in mammography and eventually MRI. So I got certified in all those,” said Sjurseth. “Then I took a radiology supervisor position in central Minnesota, moved and went to a [Catholic Health Initiative] critical access hospital very, very, very similar to Redfield. And I spent about nine years there.”
After that, Sjurseth went back to school to get her Bachelor of Arts degree in Healthcare Management, and, later, her Master of Science degree in Healthcare Administration and Population Health. During that time, she took a Director of Imaging position in Grand Rapids, Minnesota at Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital. She also set out to pursue her Doctorate in Health Administration. She became a Regional Director and worked for Grand Itasca and Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing, Minnesota for a year and a half before coming to Redfield.
“So, my story is I started on the front lines working on the floor with patients and spent a lot of time really learning the pieces and learning the importance of patient care,” said Sjurseth. “Bringing in the education component, for me, has really given me a lot of skills and knowledge in the technical aspects of it. A lot of background in managerial aspects and leadership in general.”
Sjurseth said she is passionate about critical access hospitals such as Redfield’s CMH because of the community aspect that makes them unique.
“You are part of the community. You know everybody in the community and everybody in the community knows you. When someone comes in the door, it is not a patient in a number. It is a person. Whether you know them, their family member, their children, their grandparents. Whoever it may be, there is a connection,” said Sjurseth. “And when you work in a facility where everybody knows everybody, the compassion towards patients is incredible because it is like taking care of your own family member every single time.”
During her first week in Redfield, Sjurseth said she was very impressed.
“the support for the community in this facility is incredible. Everybody loves their jobs. They love working in the facility and they love being a part of the community. That is something that has stood out in my previous visits preparing to come here. It is all community here,” said Sjurseth.
Going forward, Sjurseth said she would like to continue to focus on the community of Redfield first and foremost.
“How do we continue to support the community? What does the community need from us? How can we improve more? That is going to be the big focus for months and months going forward,” said Sjurseth.
While not on the job, Sjurseth enjoys traveling, hunting and being outdoors. She said she and her family also look forward to participating in activities in Redfield both in town and at school.