By Caitlyn Gudmundsen, Senior Manager of Program Development and Outreach
Today’s Front Line Hero is St. John’s United, which is recognizing its direct care staff as superheroes and supporting the next generation of nurses.
Located in Billings, Montana, St. John’s United provides a wide array of services to seniors, families, and children. It’s firmly rooted in Lutheran identity, and owned by 23 congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), but St. John’s is committed to serving the whole community with no regard to religious preference, race, gender, age, diagnosis, or disability.
St. John’s United recognizes that its staff has been working hard and under great stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. It refers to the direct care staff as “superheroes,” and aims to hire more of those heroes to support the community. Even before the pandemic hit, there was a significant shortage of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) in Montana. Instead of lamenting that shortage, St. John’s took action and started the St. John’s United Nursing Apprentice/Fellowship in partnership with Billings Public School and Miley Community College. The program provides students experience in nursing as early as their junior year in high school, while offering credits to be applied to college tuition up to $8,000 per year. The hope is that apprentices can graduate from college without debt and have first class healthcare experience under their belts.
Thank you to St. John’s United for supporting current direct care staff and nurturing the next generation!