Skilled nursing and assisted living homes across Minnesota are facing critical staffing shortages due to impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Minnesota and these long-term care facilities needed help quickly from individuals who could rapidly train and deploy to these sites across the state. In response to a Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) request to fill shortages for trained health care volunteers, Saint Paul College quickly put together a specialized 12-hour training program where volunteers could learn critical nursing skills to meet these urgent demands.
Sharon Blomgren of Saint Paul College assembled a specialized training program tailored to the unique needs of the vulnerable adults and elderly living in a COVID-sensitive environment. This training included nursing-related sessions in infection control, safe patient handling, and managing activities for daily living. Sharon is passionate about meeting the urgent needs in the community and is grateful for the 48 volunteers who answered the call to service, as well as the nursing staff who flexed their schedules to accommodate this urgent need.
Since this call from MDH, Saint Paul College has provided specialized training to many volunteers at the first two training sessions. The college anticipates this challenging situation to continue into the Spring as it prepares to respond to additional needs in the months ahead. In addition to Saint Paul College, three other Minnesota colleges offered similar training, including Century College, Anoka Ramsey Community College, and Riverland Community College.