VIDEO: Traveling healthcare workers choose to call EPH home

Two healthcare professionals, one male and one female, wearing surgical scrubs and caps, pose together in a medical facility. Various medical equipment is visible in the background.
Brandon Letcher and Donna Eubank are surgical technologists at Estes Park Health. (Wendy Rigby/Estes Park Health)

What does it say about an organization when people sign up to be temporary employees, and then choose to become staff and stay? At Estes Park Health, we think it speaks volumes.

Take Angela Waldon who took a job as a traveling healthcare worker at Estes Park Health. She is a CT technologist, conducting important diagnostic imaging scans for patients.

“I started working as a traveler after COVID at the end of 2021,” Waldon said.

She is from Colorado, but had moved to Florida, traveling to seven different work locations trying to find the right fit for her. When she came to Estes Park Health, she started with a three-month contract, extended it to six, and then realized this is the place she wanted to work permanently. So, she took a full-time job at EPH and moved back to Colorado.

“I found my true home,” Walson emphasized. “I walked in, and I immediately knew that. We have time to spend with our patients. We are well staffed. We do have a good work/life balance. We’re treated well. Our equipment is some of the best I’ve ever worked on.”

Waldon always gets a great response from her patients when she tells them she is staying at Estes Park Health.

“Whenever I tell them that I’ve decided to stay they always say, ‘Welcome home and we’re so glad to have you.’” Waldon shared. “They’re very appreciative as we are of them.”

Brandon Letcher has also made the decision to stay at Estes Park Health as a surgical technologist. He said he can spot a good place when he finds one. He should know. Letcher has worked at 28 different hospitals as a traveler.

“I decided to come to Colorado,” he said. “And in my career, I always visited Estes Park. I’ve been coming here for vacations for the last 10 or 15 years, staying at The Stanley. I never even knew there was a hospital here. And then when I was looking at jobs for traveling, they had a travel assignment here. So, I decided to take it, fell in love, and here I am.”

Letcher calls Estes Park Health a little gem up in the mountains. He said he likes serving the Estes Valley by helping to provide excellent surgical care close to home.

“I know my skill, my surgeon,” he noted. “We get them in here and we get them out of here instead of having to send them down the mountain. We can do a lot of surgeries here.”

Letcher’s community of co-workers have made him feel right at home.

“If you need help, they’re there to help you,” he explained. “One day I was sick on call, and I was off the next day, and I was in a sleep room here. Everybody came and brought me stuff to get better. It was amazing. It was a tear-jerker for me. And I knew right then and there, these are my people. It’s just a blessing to be here.”

One of Letcher’s partners in the operating room is surgical technologist Donna Eubank, a traveler who is also planning on becoming a permanent part of the EPH staff. She has spent more than 24 years honing her surgical tech skills.

“I love knowing the surgery, knowing the steps, and having everything ready for the surgeon when they need it before they ask for it,” Eubank emphasized.

Estes Park Health surgeons perform total joint replacements, arthroscopies, colonoscopies, eye, and foot procedures to name a few. Eubank likes the variety.

“Since we’re such a small hospital, we all wear many hats and we do it all,” she said. “That’s fun.”

Eubank is considered a local traveler because she commutes to Estes Park from Windsor. She enjoys the small size and the sense of community she has found here.

“I worked at a very busy place before, and I do like the small community hospital,” she noted. “I come from a small town and that, for me, is the appeal. It’s nice to slow down but also be involved with the growth of the place, too. You walk down the halls and most of the people know your name.”

For dedicated staff with an eye toward the future of healthcare in the Estes Valley, think Estes Park Health.