Staffing shortage at Grand Marais hospital has top officials driving the ambulance
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Staffing shortage at Grand Marais hospital has top officials driving the ambulance

The hospital administrator is driving the ambulance.

That’s how critical the staffing shortage is at the hospital in Grand Marais.

“We all do what we need to do,” said North Shore Health Hospital Administrator Kimber Wraalstad of the situation that has her and other top officials at the local hospital doing vital tasks such as driving the ambulance in order to keep services running without interruption.

With Memorial Day weekend and the peak of tourist season quickly approaching, Wraalstad told WTIP May 23 that the staffing shortage at North Shore Health is widespread across the facility.

North Shore Health Ambulance has recently added six emergency medical responders, but they were already on staff in other roles, including the director of nursing, director of education, the clinical nurse manager and a housekeeper. These employees, as well as Wraalstad, are now all doing tasks such as driving the ambulance for the local hospital and responding to emergency situations.

“We all stepped up and said, ‘okay, this is how we can help,’” the hospital administrator said.

With that in mind, Wraalstad said hiring more staff is crucial.

As they look to address staffing shortages in both the short-term and long-term, Wraalstad said hospital officials are exploring opportunities to bring in employees through immigration.

Wraalstad said there are several workers at the hospital who have family members from other countries who might be interested in immigrating to Grand Marais and working for North Shore Health.

Meanwhile, anyone in the community willing to serve as an EMR or emergency medical technician can contact Tom Fleming, North Shore Health ambulance director, at 218-387-3262 or email him at [email protected] for more information.

To listen to the full interview with Wraalstad and WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs, listen to the audio below.