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a look at the gackle clinic

What is now the Gackle Clinic started through the initiative of the Gackle community, and has since developed by their support.   After MeritCare closed its doors, the Gackle Care Center approached the Wishek Hospital and Clinics with their desire to keep medical services alive and well for Gackle residents.   In 1994, the WHC agreed to rent some of their office space for one to two hours a week.  The location was a good fit for ten years before the community voted to make the Gackle Clinic of Rural Health Clinic status, and it was moved to its current location on Main Street in a complex that is shared with the Tri-County News, the Country Rose Beauty Salon, and the Gackle Laundromat.  

Rosemary Hauff, PA-C, has been providing medical care to patients in the Gackle Clinic off and on since it has been managed by the WHC.  The staff has seen some additions since it opened. Originally, only one nurse and medical provider was on staff.  Currently, two nurses, two receptionists, and Rosemary are employed.   Nurse Carrie Giesler is a phlebotomy technician and a certified EMT who volunteers her time with the local ambulance.  In May, she will be a Licensed Practical Nurse.  Nurse Shirley Schlecht has returned to rural North Dakota after her work as an LPN in Jamestown and has also been a nurse at the Wishek Hospital.  Judy Janke, who works at the Kulm Clinic, and Samantha Graber, who also works at the Wishek Clinic, rotates as the Gackle Clinic Receptionist.  For years, the Gackle Clinic was a walk-in clinic where they offered immediate service.  Rosemary says that mentality is still very much a part of the community and it makes the numbers fluctuate, but she generally sees 12 to 20 patients per day.

As well as providing standard clinic services for patients of all ages, the Gackle Clinic offers lab services, allergy and flu shots, EKGs (electrocardiogram – a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart) and records everything via Electronic Medical Records (EMRs).  “Even though EMRs have been a challenge, they have definitely made patient management much easier in a small town like this because you can access all of their meds, labs, and everything prior to their visit,” comments Rosemary.  “Our Gackle ambulance service is also phenomenal,” she says.   The volunteer team is known to be at the doorstep within minutes of a call.  “Even though Gackle is out there isolated from everything, it’s reassuring to me as a provider because, while we don’t have excess staff, the community has those extra resources available.”

Loyalty of those in the surrounding towns is one unique feature of the Gackle Clinic.  Since Streeter’s clinic closed in 1993, residents have sought their medical services in Gackle.  Others come from Jud, Alfred, Lehr, and Kulm.  “Consistency is my philosophy.  It’s so critical (in rural health care).  Being there consistently, I believe, has preserved the loyalty that is there today,” says Rosemary.

It’s obvious that the pride the community has in their services and buildings has greatly affected the Gackle Clinic.  Rosemary says, “It’s because people care.”  Even their 80-year-old housekeeper, Arlene Rudolph, dedicates time and precision to keep the three exam rooms, lab room, provider’s office, receptionist desk, and waiting room up to high standards.  Their office is stocked with cookies brought from the kitchens of patients and their lobby decorated from the funds donated by a local family.   “It’s almost like a piece of home,” says Rosemary.

Hours of operation of the Gackle Clinic are Wednesdays from 8:00am to 3:00pm.  Call (701) 485-3611 to schedule an appointment.

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