Doctor makes Dickinson home: Sanford Health general surgeon Dr. Brook Nelson specializes in just about everything

Dr. Brook Nelson was looking for an opportunity to practice general surgery after residency when she learned about a position at the Sanford Health Dickinson Clinic.

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Press Photo by Linda Sailer Dr. Brook Nelson stands Thursday in one of the procedure rooms at Sanford Health Dickinson Clinic.

Dr. Brook Nelson was looking for an opportunity to practice general surgery after residency when she learned about a position at the Sanford Health Dickinson Clinic.
“My husband was looking to stay in the Midwest when I saw there was need of a general surgeon in the community,” she said. “I came up here in 2012 and fell in love with it. I love the people and I’ve been happy ever since.”
As a general surgeon, she treats more than 30 health-related conditions.
“I do anything and everything,” she said. “I operate on breast cancer and colon cancer. I repair hernias, I take out gallbladders. I remove skin lesions. I like to be able to figure out what’s wrong and often to fix it. On a day-to-day basis, it’s really rewarding.”
She is a minimally invasive specialist and serves as medical director of the ambulatory surgery center at Sanford Health.
“Minimal invasive surgery is the current surgical trend,” she said. “With small incisions, we see decreased recovery time and less pain.”
She appreciates Sanford’s three new operating rooms and described working there as a blessing.
“The facility is absolutely state-of-the-art with top-of-line equipment and an exemplary staff,” Nelson said.
Nelson was described as a great colleague by Dr. Audrey McMacken, a Sanford obstetrician/gynecologist.
“We’re lucky to have her here,” McMacken said. “She’s a really good fit. A good Midwestern girl.”
McMacken may ask Nelson for consult if a patient is having pain or to assist with a procedure, such as hernia repair.
“Her surgical skills are fabulous,” McMacken said. “She has a fabulous work ethic. She puts her patients first and will come in any day or any time for people. She takes fabulous care of people, yet she is laidback and easygoing. It’s lovely to have her here.”
Nelson is one of four general surgeons in Dickinson who are affiliated with Sanford and CHI St. Joseph’s Health. They see patients from as far away as Montana and South Dakota, and north to Williston. She appreciates the fixed-wing and helicopter transportation services available from Dickinson.
“Since before 2012, we’re seeming more trauma than previously,” she said. “We’re certainly seeing more burns, more explosions and an increase of violent crime.”
Nelson, 36, grew up in Kansas City, Mo., and graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. She completed a general surgery residency at the same school, serving as chief resident. She is certified by the American Board of Surgery.
“Medicine is always what I wanted to do ever since I was a child,” she said. “I learned I loved surgery when I was in medical school and it was very clear with a surgery rotation that it was what I wanted to do.”
In her free time, Nelson and her husband participate in community activities, such as the Chocolate Affair, Ladies Night at Lefor, or the Dorcas wine-tasting event.
“Those local activities are a lot of fun,” she said. “In our free time, we love to watch movies and get out to see the world.”
Calling Dickinson as their new home, Nelson has even enticed her parents to move here.
“I feel very fortunate to provide care here in Dickinson,” she said. “We feel very blessed to call this our home.”

Sailer is the lifestyles editor of The Dickinson Press. Call her at 701-456-1209.

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