Society nurse volunteers to vaccinate others at Mall of America

COVID-19 vaccine event in home state is a mission for Good Samaritan Society RN

Society nurse volunteers to vaccinate others at Mall of America

Caring for others is a calling for Good Samaritan Society nursing and clinical services consultant Karis Gust, R.N.

“That’s what nurses do, man,” Gust says.

It’s also why, bright and early, Gust is opening the door to yet another opportunity to make her life count.

“I want to try and do my part to help vaccinate in my home state,” Gust says.

Drive to serve

A Luverne, Minnesota, resident who works in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Gust is taking a day off, driving almost four hours to the Mall of America and giving it her best shot.

“It’s crazy here. We have nurses from every single health system probably in the state of Minnesota,” Gust says.

All here to boost the COVID-19 vaccination efforts at this Minnesota Department of Health site run by Homeland Health Specialists.

“They’re very efficient. So, it’s a very easy, simple experience,” Sam Kepner, a local lacrosse coach, says after getting his second dose. “Better safe than sorry.”

In one day, 2,400 people will come through this huge space near the Twin Cities that used to house one floor of Bloomingdales.

God’s hands

Sacrificing two days of her Easter weekend, Gust is right where she wants to be.

“I grew up on the mission field, I was a missionary kid. I grew up with parents who were in a life of service,” Gust says.

Her father is a Lutheran minister.

“Nursing is a calling but more than that we’re really God’s hands and we have a chance to make a difference in people’s lives,” Gust says.

It’s incredible work that’s not going unnoticed by patients and leaders during the pandemic.

“A huge amount of thanks not just for her but for everybody that’s on the front lines working miracles and doing an amazing job going above and beyond every single day,” Sam says.

Society vice president of nursing and clinical services Rochelle Rindels, MSN, RN, admires Gust’s spirit.

“I think it’s outstanding. I know that Karis has a servant heart,” Rochelle says. “I’ve heard of other nurses in Good Sam that have dedicated their evenings and weekends to being out in the community and offering their service of nursing care or vaccine administration because they are a nurse and they feel compelled to serve or they feel that dedication to serve.”

Back to the field

After years in the field at Sanford Health and the Society, Gust is finding ways back to fulfill the mission.

“We’re kind of all hands-on deck to just really get this done. As soon as we can get shots in arms, we’re going to be on the other side of this,” Gust says.

Until then, she’s preaching gratitude for her colleagues.

“I would say to my fellow nurses, well done thou good and faithful servant because this year has been one that nurses will not ever forget. Thank you to all those nurses who have served on the front lines at Sanford and at Good Samaritan Society,” Gust says. “I’m so thankful for them. I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do out there. We need you and we appreciate you.”

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Posted In COVID-19, Luverne, Sanford Stories, Senior Services, Sioux Falls