Notable Heroes in Health Care: Critical Staffing Travel Program

Ascension Wisconsin

To support the provision of safe, comprehensive care, hundreds of Ascension front-line nurses and respiratory therapists have traveled to other Ascension hospitals or taken on new roles to help during this crisis.

The teams are part of the Ascension Critical Staffing Travel Program, designed to mobilize associates not currently experiencing surges to areas of the country most in need as a r

To support the provision of safe, comprehensive care, hundreds of Ascension front-line nurses and respiratory therapists have traveled to other Ascension hospitals or taken on new roles to help during this crisis.

The teams are part of the Ascension Critical Staffing Travel Program, designed to mobilize associates not currently experiencing surges to areas of the country most in need as a result of the COVID-19 health emergency. Ascension caregivers share deep connections with each other across the country.

When Florida and Texas were experiencing unprecedented surges of COVID-19 in July and August, 14 Ascension Wisconsin nurses and respiratory therapists from Milwaukee headed south to help patients and colleagues at Ascension Texas and Ascension Florida facilities. Caregivers traveled in three teams on July 5, July 19 and August 8 for two-week sprints. Some chose to extend their stay up to a month.

Ascension Wisconsin’s traveling caregivers are: Barbara Tong, RN; Christine Kulas, RN; Colleen Henley, RN; Clara Weltrowski, RN; P.J. Lane, RT; Kelly Andrysczyk, RT; Lisa Knigge, RT; Sandy Maurer, RT; Terri Clawson, RN; Alexis Olive, RN; Dave Kumprey, RN; Michelle Pinkert, RN; Matt Rynes, RN; and Megan Eckes, RN.

The traveling team members are able to share their valuable learnings from earlier surges they experienced while also gaining knowledge that may help them when they return to their home hospitals.

When Wisconsin began experiencing elevated COVID-19 inpatient volumes in October, the Ascension Critical Staffing Program deployed nurses and respiratory therapists to the communities most in need. An RN from Ascension Alabama spent more than a month serving patients and assisting colleagues at Ascension Mercy Hospital in Oshkosh.

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