Athletic trainers, coaches help screen clinic visitors

Need for assistants has POWER staff trading in weights for thermometers

Dean Chumley smiles and holds an electronic thermometer at the visitor screening station at Sanford Children's

It’s all hands on deck at Sanford Health in Bismarck, North Dakota. For some Sanford Health employees, that means stepping out of their job description.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many businesses shut their doors, including schools and Sanford POWER facilities. In Bismarck, Sanford POWER strength and conditioning coaches work with hundreds of young athletes every day at the POWER facility, while athletic trainers work with athletes in the public schools.

With school and POWER facilities closed, Sanford Health saw this as an opportunity to train those valuable employees to assist in areas where there was a need for additional workers.

Helping kids outside of school

“We stop patients as they come in and let them know that we’re doing mandatory screenings,” said Dean Chumley, an athletic trainer at Sanford Health in Bismarck. “We ask them a few questions and then we take their temperature to make sure they don’t have a fever.”

Strength and conditioning coaches, as well as many athletic trainers, are now scattered across the Bismarck-Mandan community at Sanford clinics — screening patients as they walk in the doors to make sure they aren’t symptomatic for COVID-19.

Dean Chumley normally works with athletes at Century High School in Bismarck. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s doing a much different kind of evaluation than he’s used to.

“I’m used to training 30 to 40 athletes a day and now I’m doing screenings,” Chumley said. “But I’m used to the evaluation type process, so that was an easy transition.”

‘Our squad is all on board’

Chris Rivinius, manager of Sanford POWER in Bismarck, says there was no hesitation from his team when they were approached about helping out in the clinics.

“Our squad is all on board,” said Chris Rivinius, manager of Sanford POWER in Bismarck. “All of the strength coaches just said, ‘Absolutely, where do we need to go?’ They’ve embraced it from the get-go.”

It might be a different job than this group of employees signed up for, but it’s certainly not out of their comfort zone.

“I never really thought that there would ever be a global pandemic like this,” said Chumley. “But there’s always things that athletic trainers can do to step in and help wherever necessary just because of how broad our scope is and the things that we do.”

“We traded in weights for thermometers, masks, gloves and hand sanitizer,” Rivinius said. “But we love to help out wherever we can.”

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Posted In Coronavirus, Health Care Heroes

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