– From left, the Mack sisters, Abbie, Lyndsey, Shaina and Mackenzie, all work in the nursing department at the Estelline Nursing and Care Center.
– ENCC nursing staff Abbie and Lyndsey Mack check the readiness of the medication cart last week.
• Four sisters serve Estelline nursing home residents
ESTELLINE – Abbie … Lyndsey … Shaina … Mackenzie?
If the residents of the Estelline Nursing and Care Center might sometimes wonder which one of these four members of the nursing staff is caring for them, that's understandable.
One of the quartet said, "They think we never leave." And an occasional question: "Are you one of those Mack sisters, too?"
The four Mack sisters do look like sisters – and they come from a family where the nursing profession is well established.
Senior sister Abbie, 23, is a registered nurse, a graduate of South Dakota State University College of Nursing program. She graduated in December 2011 and went to work in the emergency room at the Sanford Trauma Center in Sioux Falls. While she attended SDSU, she worked as a certified nurse assistant (CNA) at ENCC from 2007 to 2009.
She then started working at Sanford as a technician in the ER and stayed on as an RN when she graduated from SDSU. She came back to ENCC "a couple months ago and started working as a nurse as well, again."
Abbie explained, "Mike (Ward, ENCC administrator) said they were short of nurses and just wondered if I was interested in coming back. That's it."
Working around her three-days-a-week schedule at Sanford, she now fills in on a part-time basis as needed, usually once a week. A Brookings resident and a seasoned commuter, she added that she doesn't mind the round-trip drive to Estelline, about 55 miles.
Smiling, she said of ENCC, "I like it a lot. I like all the residents that are here. It's fun to listen to them talk about a long time ago when they were young, my age, and all the things that they used to do."
Lyndsey, 21, is also a resident of Brookings. She lives about eight blocks from Abbie, and her nursing career is proceeding in a fashion similar to that of her oldest sister.
Lyndsey, in her third semester in the SDSU nursing program, is pursuing an RN degree. She's on track to graduate in December 2013.
She started at ENCC in 2007 as a CNA; she also works at Sanford – in the ER with Abbie – as a technician. The two sisters try to coordinate their schedules at both Sanford and Estelline.
Laughing, Lyndsey said, "We try to save gas money."
She's hasn't decided what career path she might take once she is an RN; she likes working in the ER. But, she added, "I don't know what else is out there. I want to see everything else before I make a decision."
She likes the setting at ENCC, the staff and the 60 residents. That's full capacity, and there is a waiting list for moving in.
Shaina, 20, is a CNA and works four to five days a week during the summer. She's studying nursing at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, where she also lives; when classes are in session she works every other weekend at ENCC.
She will graduate in May 2013 as a licensed practical nurse (LPN); she will then move on to a college curriculum to earn a bachelor's degreee in nursing and become an RN.
Like Abbie and Lyndsey, she enjoys "working with the residents, meeting their families and getting to know everybody."
Finally, the Mack family is represented by 16-year-old Mackenzie, an incoming junior at Deuel High School. She's a nursing assistant, the youngest at ENCC and working on certification. She's undecided on a career choice following graduation in 2014.
The girls' parents, Mary and Darwin Mack, who live on a farm near rural Goodwin, have one more daughter at home: Courtney, 13. Might she one day work at ENCC?
One of her sisters responded, to the laughter of the other three, "I don't know. She's 13, and she's all over the place. We don't know what she's doing."
Another chimed in to the ENCC question, "I bet she will, to carry on a family tradition."
Abbie sees herself as having a positive influence on her sisters' decisions to consider careers in nursing; but she has never pushed them, respecting their decisions made on their own.
But as part of that family tradition, there are several nurses in the extended Mack family; all are working in South Dakota.
And while she attended SDSU, she received the Al and Mary Mack Scholarship, named after a great-uncle and great-aunt on her father's side.
And Darwin and Mary Mack's thoughts about their daughters' career choices?
A smiling Abbie said, "They couldn't be happier."
Contact John Kubal at jklubal@-brookingsregister.com.