A day in the life of Medical Services Supervisor Stephanie Hottman

Ask nearly anyone in the medical field and they’ll tell you a story of how they were called to help others. For Stephanie Hottman, nurse and medical services supervisor at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant, her story began wanting to be a veterinarian because of her love of animals. It wasn’t until she took a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a long-term care facility that she decided to pursue nursing.

“From the first time I started working there, I decided nursing was for me – I felt called to the profession,” Hottman says. “Years later, nursing is still ‘it’ for me.” 

Hottman joined Basin Electric in a part-time nursing position and took a full-time position in 2015. She says her current position is rewarding because of the impact she can make, whether that’s recommending new services to offer or finding ways to save Basin Electric money.

“Helping people is still first and foremost why I went into nursing,” she says. “I’m in a position now where I’m there to help out with blood draws or occupational injuries if needed, but I also get to give input regarding the direction of medical services. I’m still helping people through my suggestions and opinions, and I love that this position allows me to do that.”

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted everyone, but those who work in the medical industry experienced the pandemic up close and personal. Hottman says the ever-changing restrictions added to her team’s workload.

“For us in medical services, it’s added 100-times more work. We are still doing all of our normal stuff and also took on providing input for what to do in pandemic situations,” Hottman says. “Basin Electric looked to us for guidelines on what to do, and we stepped up to the game to look at the guidelines from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and Department of Health, which changed frequently. We tried to take even more caution than what was recommended to keep positive numbers down in the workforce, like asking essential workers who tested positive to quarantine for 14 days instead of the recommended seven.”

She added that the Basin Electric medical team serves five different states, so they tried to be consistent with their recommendations across the co-op.

Although they’ve had to limit patients coming into medical services, Hottman and her team have been seeing patients virtually. 

“The co-op had been doing FaceTime visits since before I started seven years ago, but there wasn’t a solution for people on other phones. We got Skype set up for our other patients and it’s been a good addition,” Hottman says.

She adds that people have been receptive to virtual appointments, and it’s helped the team be able to treat patients in remote locations. Unfortunately, though, not everything can be done by telemedicine, so Hottman is anxious to start traveling again.

“We’re used to being on the go all the time – traveling to see patients in Wyoming and other sites – and that’s part of my job that I miss. Our patients need us, so I know they’re looking forward to seeing us as much as we are looking forward to seeing them,” Hottman says.

Like all of us, Hottman is looking forward to some normalcy once pandemic restrictions have been lifted. 

“I’m looking forward to not having to worry about coronavirus, but that may be a long ways out. I think we truly will have a new normal to adjust to,” Hottman says. 

Whether it’s dealing with the worst disease outbreak in a century or responding to a work injury, there’s never a shortage of activity happening in medical services. 

“Having a medical team on staff is the best of both worlds,” Hottman says. “The cooperative is so good. They are great to their employees and have kept everyone’s safety their priority.”