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Smith County Memorial Hospital Takes A Unique Approach to Rural Recruitment

Despite the challenges facing rural communities today, we remain optimistic and confident that the potential and opportunity for rural is better than ever.

When working with clients on recruitment efforts, we often say everything boils down to two concepts at its most basic level.

  • Recognizing the assets of your community (organization, business, etc) is the first step.

  • The second step is being able to tell your story and connect with people who are searching for what you have. This is the key to unlocking your full potential.

And although there's a lot of work that goes on during and between that process, we truly believe at its most basic form communities who do these two things well, knowing what they have and telling that story, will see better success, community engagement, pride, and overall will do a better job compelling others to want to be a part of it.

Shannon Rogers, Director of Communications, Marketing & Development at Smith County Memorial Hospital understands these two concepts completely and was an absolute dream to work with!

When she contacted the studio she had a vision of putting together video marketing pieces centered around workforce recruitment however she wanted to focus more on the quality of life and overall opportunity rather than the standard list of job openings, benefits, etc. We were thrilled! As you will read below Shannon's inspiration came from her love of what she does and where she lives. She wanted to showcase the stories of their employees who prove that you can live in a rural, wholesome community and at the same time have an exciting, impactful, and successful career.

It has been a few months since the campaign dropped and we thought now would be the perfect time to sit down with Shannon to talk a little about SCMH, rural marketing, and the success they've seen. Enjoy!

father and daughter holding hands in the foreground while a mom rides past on a horse

Interview with Shannon Rogers, Director of Communications, Marketing & Development at Smith County Memorial Hospital

Q: Can you tell us a little about SCMH?

A: We're a critical access hospital with an attached rural health clinic in Smith Center, KS. Our Hometown Cafe serves healthy, from-scratch lunches and a fantastic fresh salad bar. We take pride in our connection to the community and strive to serve our area with excellence and the spirit of hospitality. A statistic that points to who we are as a community-minded organization is the 7,380 fresh Meals on Wheels we prepared and donated in 2023 for people who were either homebound or recovering at home from a health crisis.

Q: What are you most proud of in working with SCMH?

A: The people. It's absolutely the people. Our people are kind, caring, and welcoming. I am blessed to work on their behalf.

Q: What challenges do rural healthcare facilities face today?

A: The complexities of providing healthcare are challenging. I remember the first time I walked into my then-CEO's office, where he sat behind a large L-shaped desk with papers stacked so high I could only see the top of his head. Some updated regulations are a thousand pages long. The economic pressures against providing services such as OB Labor & Delivery are extreme and evident in the sobering reality that we are the only hospital still providing Labor & Delivery care within a sixty-mile radius.

Q: How is SCMH tackling these issues and rising above to provide a positive

environment for their patients and employees alike?

A: Navigating those complexities while delivering excellent patient care takes people passionate about serving the community. I always come back to talented people with hearts to serve when I think about how to overcome challenges. Our providers and staff make SCMH a positive and innovative regional leader with the tenacity to overcome all obstacles.

screen shot of a facebook post featuring a recruitment video for a rural hospital showing a huband and wife walking side by side with horses

Q: What are some of the challenges that rural healthcare organizations face when it comes to marketing and workforce recruitment? What are some of the opportunities?

A: Besides the time challenge of being a communications department of one person, the biggest obstacle to recruiting talent is the perception that there aren't diverse and outstanding career opportunities within rural communities. I love what I do and where I live, so I get excited by the opportunity to showcase the stories that prove you can live in a rural, safe, wholesome community and have an exciting, impactful, and successful career.

Q: What advice would you give to fellow rural businesses/marketing professionals in navigating these challenges and opportunities?

A: To never forget that people are your biggest creative asset. And to seek help from professionals with portfolios that richly and vividly evoke the value of the rural lifestyle. We were fortunate to receive a Kansas Department of Commerce Delivering Residents and Workforce (DRAW) grant to help our recruitment efforts. Our best use of those marketing grant funds was the three-part video series produced by Eberle Studios. Those videos increased traffic to our careers web page by 545%.

Q: What do you think sets SCMH apart from other rural healthcare facilities?

A: In learning about SCMH's history, I was struck by its earliest beginnings in an 1893 Victorian house called Ingleboro Mansion. Ingleboro Mansion's steam heating system was a milestone in its time for providing patients with the highest quality of care. Here we are now in a leading-edge facility built in 2018, and the spirit of SCMH continues to be forward-thinking in its vision to use the most advanced technologies and education to enhance healthcare services for the community. SCMH takes pride in its rich legacy of medical providers, nursing staff, and support personnel dedicated to setting the standard of excellence in healthcare for North Central Kansas.

Q: You had great vision going into this project. Can you tell us a little about your process and what it was like working with Eberle Studios?

A: My process starts with observation. I am a shy, nerdy person, but God gave me the gift of awareness. I see people's talents, love to learn more about them, and recognize quality content creation. I knew some neat things about our staff that were special, visual, and representative of the opportunities at SCMH, and I have been a huge fan of Eberle Studios since becoming aware of your engaging and visual style of work in a video you created for Mitchell County a few years ago. I connected some of our special staff stories with Eberle Studios and let you work the magic together. I trusted your quality of professionalism and I couldn't be more pleased with the stories you produced. Working with Eberle Studios was easy and made me look good!

Q: Can you tell us a little about each of the featured subject? How do they reflect the culture of SCMH and/or Smith County or rural communities in general?

A: Whitney Winder is a registered nurse and our OB Supervisor. She is also one of three 2023 Kansas Healthcare Worker of the Year award recipients. She is a high achiever who excels in her work but also lives a whole, exciting family life outside the hospital. Whitney's combination of being articulate, engaging, and an active roping mother with small children shows youth the rural quality of life doesn't compromise career success in any way, shape, or form.

Chef Steve Smith exemplifies innovation and the spirit of hospitality. His story counters the misconception that rural organizations aren't groundbreaking. It also showcases SCMH's visionary tenacity to always strive to provide the best for our patients and their families.

Kai Wolfe is an excellent nurse and cook. His grandmother inspired him to become a nurse and he’s taken advantage of SCMH’s Grow Our Own scholarships to continue his nursing education. That family tradition of gathering together to BBQ and watch football we see through his story captures the best intangibles about small-town living. I love the stories you created on their own merit and together as an overall picture of SCMH as a place that encourages people to grow in their passions and thrive while enjoying their families and community.

Q: Anything else you'd like people to know about SCMH?

A: I recently read a comment from one of our patient surveys: "The dedication, thorough care, and patient-centered care are beyond amazing." Comments like that are all thanks to our amazing providers and staff. SCMH invests in the best people in order to take the best care of people. That’s what I want people to know about Smith County Memorial Hospital.


If you're interested in learning more about Eberle Studios or how video marketing, commercial photography, or graphic & web design can enhance your business, be sure to check out a couple of our featured projects. And don't forget to join our list to stay up-to-date on client features and B2B offerings!


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