6 Sanford nurses will go overseas for global mentorship

They’ll work with local providers at Sanford World Clinic to learn from each other

A blue tower stands behind a stone wall along a dirt road. The sign on the tower says "Sanford World Clinic."

Sanford Health’s World Clinic Global Nursing Mentor Program started as a conversation about ways of tapping into a talented, knowledgeable and dedicated workforce.

It has since evolved into an effort to integrate nurses at Sanford with a selection of World Clinics.

This fall, six Sanford nurses who had applied to be part of the program were chosen to become mentors over the next year. The process involved pairing them with specific needs within the network of World Clinics and will include regular collaborations and in-person visits for the nurses.

“What’s exciting about this program is that it’s our opportunity to really lead from a different perspective,” said Erica DeBoer, Sanford Health’s chief nursing officer. “When you stop to think about it, this is a mentor program that doesn’t only benefit those who are in the program. It is also about looking outside our communities into our World Clinics to help show the knowledge and the expertise that we can continue to share.”

Importantly, local providers working at the World Clinics will also be sharing their knowledge. The partnership promises mutual benefits via a collaboration that will contribute to the advance of nursing within Sanford.

“It’s amazing that we were able to bring this to fruition,” DeBoer said. “I think it goes to show how resilient our teams are and how important it is for us to focus forward.”

More nurses applied than expected

In November, Sanford announced the six who would be participating in this effort. This is twice as many as selectors expected to appoint. They were expecting approximately 25 to be interested. Instead they interviewed 80. The quantity of quality applicants caused a re-assessment of how many they could use.

Clearly, while the rigors of nursing have increased dramatically during the pandemic, it did not diminish caregivers’ regard for getting involved with the World Clinics.

“It’s been really cool to meet them all face-to-face and see their passion,” said Tracy Bieber, director of clinical services for Sanford World Clinic.

Bieber, who sat in on all 80 candidate interviews, said she was “extremely humbled” by the experience.

“I wanted to hear what the nurses had to say,” she said. “Some of the interviews were emotional for the nurses. It was my pleasure to be able to sit and talk with each and every one of them. The fact that they had even more to give on top of what they’ve already given is incredible. I think it says a lot about our nursing culture here at Sanford and how strong it is and how resilient our nurses are.”

The group is already looking into needs for future mentorships, energized at the quality of candidates they’ll have to choose from.

“Just because someone wasn’t selected this year doesn’t mean they interviewed poorly or that they weren’t a good applicant,” Bieber added. “It just means that their skill set didn’t meet the project needs that we have for this year. Next year it could be different countries and completely different projects.”

During the program, nurses will commit 10 hours a month to join World Clinic partners virtually and visit their partnering World Clinic at least once.

“They’re highly committed and really excited about digging in and figuring out how we can learn from one another – and learning about what projects we might choose over the next year,” DeBoer said. “I think it’s really important that we highlight the need for them to travel and be in that space with those health care teams and their patients to understand the environment. For many of the projects we’re considering, we have to experience them to help better solve and use some of the expertise that we have to help them grow and improve.”

Meet the global nurse mentors

The World Clinic mentors for 2022:

Kelsey Stoltenberg, LPN

  • Sanford Health Clinic – Brookings, South Dakota
  • World Clinic New Zealand

Stoltenberg will be working with clinics in New Zealand that are not functioning under the direction of a health care system. She will be helping in adopting standardized education and processes in their nursing practices, targeting efficiency and competency.

Morgan Hand, flight RN

  • Sanford Health Fargo, North Dakota
  • World Clinic Costa Rica

Hand will be working to enhance the inpatient nursing staff. She will be helping nurses in Costa Rica to see and understand what a nursing culture is like when the staff works as patient advocates. She will be helping develop workflows and educational processes that empower nurses in their roles as caregivers.

Jackie Gibbons, RN clinical educator

  • Sanford Health Bemidji, Minnesota
  • World Clinic Costa Rica

Gibbons will be helping build a sustainable nurse education program at Sanford’s Costa Rica clinics. That will include establishing orientation pathways and skill fairs for nurses. She will also focus on development of patient education materials.

Kami Lindberg, RN breast cancer navigator

  • Sanford Health Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • World Clinic Ghana

Lindberg has worked in maternity at Sanford and is now working with cancer patients. She’ll be helping with both in Ghana, addressing needs in labor and delivery services while also assessing needs in women’s preventive care and breast cancer and cervical screening.

Tiffany Johnson, research supervisor

  • Sanford Health Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • World Clinic Ghana and Costa Rica

Johnson will help with population health and research with clinics in Ghana and Costa Rica. She will assist in identifying opportunities to gather research and assessing how to use that data to enhance patient care.

Wanda Hanson, manager clinical informatics

  • Sanford Health Fargo
  • World Clinic Costa Rica

Hanson, who served in the Peace Corps, has extensive experience in ambulatory electronic medical records (EMR). She will be working closely with Costa Rica partners in implementing and using EMR as a clinical tool in improving patient care.

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Posted In Nursing and Nursing Support, World Clinic