Army nurse to Allina Health nurse; RN makes career out of caring for caregivers

[Allina Health Newsroom, November 30, 2023] From caring for United States service members to caring for employees at Allina Health, Sarah A. R. Schlichting’s eight-year tenure in the Army inspired her to passionately pursue a role that allows her to care for caregivers.


Her desire to care for others was ignited during her early career as a personal trainer, using her degree in kinesiology to help clients work toward better health.  She decided to return to college, intent on becoming a registered nurse, at the same time, she was serving in the Army as a transportation and logistics officer. After graduating from nursing school, she changed the scope of her Army career by providing medical care to service members as an Army Nurse Corps Officer before pursuing her master’s degree in nursing as a member of the National Guard. 

Sarah’s time as a nurse in the Army drove her to search for similar roles on the civilian side, leading her to an occupational health career at Allina Health. “It is such a privilege to take care of those who take care of others,” said Schlichting. “You're caring for bedside staff, floor staff, nurses, nursing assistants, physicians, maintenance staff, custodial staff and more. These are the people who are taking care of others and taking care of the hospital itself.” 

Six years later, Sarah spends her days caring for staff members as an occupational health nurse at four Allina Health metro hospitals – Abbott Northwestern, Unity, Mercy and United onsite, and assisting the Regional Allina Health Hospitals remotely. Despite being a large health system with nearly 28,000 employees and dozens of locations, Allina Health feels like home. “Everybody knows everybody. And part of that is there's a lot of longevity,” she explained.

One reason employees tend to stick around, according to Schlichting, is the supportive leadership at Allina Health. “Our leaders are so approachable and have done a wonderful job of eliminating the power distance,” she shared. “They prioritize leading with praise, making sure that we are aware of the good things that we are doing.” 

In her experience, when health care personnel are well cared for and supported, it results in better patient care, better patient outcomes and improved professional fulfillment. “I appreciate that Allina Health strives for excellence in everything they do. They strive for excellence in recruiting, excellence in patient care, and excellence in everything from how they construct a parking ramp to how they provide care for a very complex patient.” 

“Allina Health also strives for excellence in caring for employees,” Schlichting added. “Providing care and support to health care employees makes me feel like I am truly making a difference, and that by taking care of Allina Health staff members, I am contributing to the success of Allina Health’s mission.”

Sarah A. R. Schlichting is an occupational health nurse at Allina Health.

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