Health care heroes step up to strengthen staff in Kansas

Good Samaritan Society workers bolster six other locations facing COVID-19

A Good Samaritan Society staff member in face mask stops at the front desk.

When the team at Good Samaritan Society – Hays started hearing about fellow nursing homes in the area going through COVID-19 outbreaks, they stepped up to help in an incredible way.

In a month, they pulled together and picked up over 100 shifts at other Good Samaritan Society locations so that those centers could continue to serve residents.

The Hays, Kansas, center had been one of the first in its region to experience a surge in COVID-19 cases, so staff members knew what to expect as they entered the doors at other locations.

“We’d already been through it and the fear of COVID had come and gone in a sense,” says Noe Gillespie, administrator at Hays.

When he first started hearing how other centers were experiencing outbreaks, he spoke to his team about it.

“They wanted to step up to support others,” Gillespie says.

Extra shifts for some nurses, relief for others

Everyone from CNAs to LPNs and RNs jumped in to help at Society locations in Atwood, Ellis, Ellsworth, Hutchinson, Lyons and Oberlin, Kansas.

Gillespie says that his team covered shifts from the beginning of November through the beginning of December. Some shifts required staff members to stay overnight, so lodging was arranged by the respective centers.

In just a week, Gillespie says his team had built relationships with residents in the other locations and didn’t want to leave them.

Meanwhile, those who continued to work at Hays made sure things ran smoothly there and for those serving at other locations.

Sara Hughes, an LPN and nurse manager/scheduler for the Hays campus, was the leader who helped communicate with staff members at other locations.

“Sara is our glue that helped ensure that shifts were covered,” says Gillespie. “This support could not have happened without her.”

The team who traveled to support other locations included: Kaitlyn Christen, Melanie Esposti, Jordan Gabel, Brittany Hillery, Jasmine Lohrmeyer, Jeremiah Lopez, Shayla Palmer, Bramalette Perryman, Cheyenne Shelton, Paula Stewart, Emmerae Svaty, Jaylee Straub, Kaitlin Tyler, David Wooten and Tara Wu.

“Jordan Gabel was one of our team nurses who went above and beyond,” says Gillespie. “Within a short time, she already had that personable, joking relationship with residents.

“I’m thankful and honored to be working with my team. They truly are amazing at what they do.”

Home health team lends a hand

Staff members from Good Samaritan Society – Home Health in Hays also lent a hand to nearby locations.

“It’s been really awesome because it’s helped us develop stronger relationships with the facilities,” says Ashley Rohr, administrator of Home Health of Central Kansas.

She encouraged her team to help whenever there was a need since they had extra staff available. LPNs, RNs and aides helped at the Ellsworth, Hays and Lyons, Kansas, locations.

“They enjoyed it and felt really welcome,” says Rohr. “The administrators and everyone at the locations were very thankful.”

Throughout the entire pandemic, staff members have put others first and come together to support each other. Gillespie says it’s been one of the best things to watch in his more than nine years of experience in long-term care.

“It was just awesome to see our team come together,” he says. “It would not have happened if we hadn’t experienced COVID-19 like we did and getting over the fear and knowing what to expect. Our team had that empathy to say yes and we’re going to support people so they know they’re not alone.”

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Posted In Coronavirus, Nursing and Nursing Support, People & Culture, Sanford Stories, Senior Services

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