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Worthington nurse selected for mentorship partnership in Ghana

“I’m so excited for this experience,” Carrie Henning said. “I’ve had so much support … with the nurses who participated last year, I’ve heard you’re just really forming a lifelong connection.”

Global Nurse Mentorship
Carrie Henning, with Sanford Worthington, was selected for the 2023 Global Nurse Mentorship Program.
Photo courtesy Carrie Henning

WORTHINGTON — When Carrie Henning, a nurse at Sanford Worthington Medical Center, was chosen to participate in the Global Nurse Mentorship Program through Sanford World Clinic, she was “beyond excited”.

She had waited months to hear if she would be selected for the program, having submitted her application back in February. The Global Nurse Mentorship allows her to work with one of Sanford’s partnering clinics worldwide, with locations like Ghana, New Zealand and Costa Rica, among others.

“I kept waiting for that email — the ‘thanks, but no thanks,’” said Henning.

Then, in April, she was called into the lobby at Sanford Worthington, where members of the Sanford World Clinic board, along with regional and local administration, were waiting with congratulations and flowers. Henning was chosen to work with a clinic in Ghana, first in a virtual capacity, before visiting the clinic in person.

For the next six to nine months, Henning will work 10 hours a month virtually with the Ghana clinics in the areas of women’s health and maternity care. She will work closely with midwives employed through the clinics to address areas of educational need and mentorship during the program.

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“It’s very individualized, we’re really looking to develop the program they need,” said Henning. “I don’t want to teach them something that they already know or they don’t need to know.”

Between the four Sanford-partnered clinics in Ghana, there are 29 midwives. During 2022, they had nearly 10,000 prenatal care visits and 675 deliveries within the clinic. The midwives also conduct obstetrical ultrasounds, cervical screenings and breast exams, and offer a pregnancy school where expecting parents can learn more about topics like nutrition, family planning and what to expect during labor.

“Our 2022 Ghana nurse mentor also had a maternity focus,” said Kim Martens, clinical operations manager with Sanford Health. While last year’s mentor presented on educational topics, this year the program is taking a slightly different approach. “Instead of presenting education each month, the midwives will be doing some research on their own, looking at those standard treatment guidelines and then having Carrie kind of present and guide them with her education expertise.”

Henning has over 32 years of experience as a nurse, 16 of which were spent in the area of women’s health. After obtaining her degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, she began work at a small hospital in Canby, where she got to experience a variety of areas of care. She moved to Sioux Falls and to Adrian before settling in Worthington as a women’s health nurse, where she has remained.

“Carrie’s background is really what set her apart,” said Johna Kern, with Sanford World Clinic, who was part of the selection process for the mentorship program. “She's had 30-plus years of experience at Sanford and has been with the OB clinic for 16 years. Really her (experience with) pre- and post-maternity care gives her the opportunity to be able to share information and really educate as an expert to our midwives and staff in Ghana.”

Additionally, Kern said the “tremendous” support they’d seen given to Henning at the Worthington clinic, and from the city in general, could provide her a great opportunity to further share knowledge brought back from her time in Ghana. This aspect was also what helped Henning stand out from the many other applicants.

This is the Global Nurse Mentorship Program's second year, and while six nurses were selected last year, Henning was one of two nurses chosen for 2023.

“I’m so excited for this experience,” Henning said. “I’ve had so much support … with the nurses who participated last year, I’ve heard you’re just really forming a lifelong connection.”

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While Henning's visit to Ghana has yet to be determined, Martens noted that mentors typically stay a week working on location with their clinics.

“The global nurse mentor program is a unique opportunity for personal and professional development,” said Kern. “It really gives the nurses a chance to work side by side with our international partners to help change lives and in those partner's communities for generations to come.”

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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