‘Couldn’t be anybody more deserving’: CountryHouse Executive Director wins North Dakota Legendary Nurse Award

Local News

Tessa Johnson and the residents at CountryHouse are like family.

“We laugh together, we cry together, we’ve gotten through this pandemic together,” Johnson said.

It’s the only assisted living residence in Dickinson dedicated to memory care.

For the family members of those who live there, like Buck Haas, it’s the best place for his wife, who has Alzheimer’s.

“When you have a loved one with this condition and you find a place like CountryHouse, it’s such a blessing,” Haas said.

The staff loves it, too, and credits much of the culture to Executive Director, Tessa.

“Tessa from the top down makes this building what it is,” Building Services Manager Brandon Locker said.

Her leadership as a nurse, not only at CountryHouse, but as president of both the North Dakota Nurses Association and the ND Center for Nursing Board of Directors, has earned her the legendary nurse award.

“You truly get to make a difference every day,” Johnson said. “I get to impact all of their lives, and that’s the best part about being a leader.”

Just 19 nurses across the state received the award, given out every year by the North Dakota Center for Nursing.

“There couldn’t be anybody more deserving. She’s a remarkable woman and does remarkable things with the staff and residents and with the families,” Haas said.

Johnson has been a nurse since 2006 and says leadership in the field has always been a passion, but is especially important now.

“Work from your heart, always do right by your people, lead by example, always have good integrity, and pour yourself into what you’re doing because then it becomes passion and not work,” Johnson said.

And that passion shows at CountryHouse.

“They’re the most caring, loving and considerate people I have ever met,” Haas said.

The North Dakota Center for Nursing has given out the awards since 2015.

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