Sanford Worthington gets 2 nurses to help battle COVID-19, as part of a statewide deployment

The two extra nurses, who will be contracted for up to 60 hours of work per week for 60 days, will allow staff who have been working a lot of extra hours to get a reprieve.

Sanford Worthington Medical Center
Sanford Worthington Medical Center

WORTHINGTON — Of the five hospital providers Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz deployed to southwest Minnesota to combat the COVID-19 surge, two registered nurses were sent to Sanford Worthington Medical Center.

There, they will help relieve existing staff, allowing them to take time off or simply filling in for other nurses who are ill or caring for a family member sickened by COVID-19.

“We thought it was going to be a sprint, and it became a marathon for us,” said Kaitlin Bullerman, manager, nursing inpatient at Sanford Worthington Medical Center.

For the past two years of the pandemic and the resulting increase in patient numbers, her team has remained committed, Bullerman said, which has allowed Sanford to keep patients close to home. The two extra nurses, who will be contracted for up to 60 hours of work per week for 60 days, will allow staff who have been working a lot of extra hours to get a reprieve.

Walz announced the $40 million initiative on Jan. 12, and while each hospital could advocate for their own needs within the region, the state ultimately determined where the staffing support would be deployed.


In order to avoid competing with Minnesota hospitals for their own staff, all the state-hired nurses are coming from outside of the state.

“I know that they were very eager to come and be flexible, and relieve any staffing burden that they can,” Bullerman said.

As of Friday afternoon, both nurses have arrived in Worthington but had not yet been cleared to start. Both will require an orientation, but the extent and specifics of that orientation will vary based on previous experience. One of the nurses will start next week, and the other will either start next week or the following week.

‘It’s real’

Local COVID-19 patients are still being cared for at Sanford Worthington Medical Center, Bullerman warned, noting that vaccination is the best way to prevent the need for a coronavirus-induced hospital stay.

“It’s real,” Bullerman said. “... we are still in the thick of it every single day.”

Sanford Worthington COVID-19 patients have largely been grateful for the care they receive, and relieved to see health care workers, she added.

“People in health care chose to be in health care because they have a calling for service, and they continue to do that even through the roughest of times,” said Bullerman, emphasizing how proud she is of her staff.

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

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