Nurse offers to help vaccinate others at Mall of America

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

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

It’s also why, bright and early, Karis 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,” Karis says.

Drive to serve

A Luverne, Minnesota, resident who works in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Karis 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,” Karis says.

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

Sam Kepner, a local lacrosse coach, attended the event to get his second dose.

“They’re very efficient. So, it’s a very easy, simple experience,” Sam says. "Better safe than sorry."

In one day, 2,400 people will come through this huge space in suburban Minneapolis that used to house one floor of Bloomingdales.

God's hands

Sacrificing two days of her Easter weekend, Karis 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,” Karis 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,” Karis says.

It’s incredible work that’s not going unnoticed by patients and leaders during the pandemic. Sam says they’re “working miracles.”

“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 Karis'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, Karis 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,” Karis 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,” Karis 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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