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Clairissa Arlt: Persevering during a global pandemic

From the 2022 Nurses Honorees series
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Clairissa Arlt

The director of nursing at Baptist Health & Rehab in Bismarck has earned the Readers' Choice Award in The Bismarck Tribune’s “Nurses: The Heart of Health Care” annual celebration. The Readers' Choice Award is given to the nominee who receives the most votes from the public.

The winner, registered nurse Clairissa Arlt, was nominated by Baptist Health & Rehab Marketing Director Shelle Aberle for her perseverance and career promotion during the pandemic.

Arlt, 33, has spent her entire eight-year career caring for the elderly. She discovered her love of geriatric nursing while working at a skilled nursing facility and attending classes at North Dakota State University.

“I was working as a dietary aide and realized that it frustrated me that I couldn’t help the people I served beyond their mealtimes. After learning about nursing school, I decided to pursue the licensed practical nursing degree at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton. During a clinical setting at a long-term care facility, I enjoyed getting to know the people that I cared for and found the individuals that I served to have a wealth of knowledge and a surprising amount of kindness and compassion.”

Arlt completed her LPN at NDSCS in 2014 and started her nursing career at Fargo Elim. In April 2017, she transferred to Baptist in Bismarck. She completed her registered nursing degree and Bachelor of Science in nursing in 2019 from Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She accepted the position of quality assurance and infection control nurse at Baptist Health & Rehab that same year. Arlt was promoted to director of nursing in January of 2022.

“Clairissa has done an amazing job leading us through the uncharted waters of this COVID journey while in her Quality Assurance/Infection Preventionist role,” said Deanna Berg, Baptist Health & Rehab administrator.

Berg continued to praise Arlt for her determination and ability to take on new challenges at the 140-bed skilled nursing care facility.

“She has worked tenaciously to assure our residents were well taken care of (during the pandemic),” Berg said. “Her leadership in infection control was obvious when Baptist was deficiency-free in the annual Medicare and Medicaid Recertification Survey with the state health department. This is a huge accomplishment for a facility the size of Baptist, especially in the middle of COVID.”

As a geriatric nurse, Arlt utilizes her skills as a nurse and advocates to meet the needs of the Baptist Health & Rehab residents and their families.

“The greatest reward for me always comes from a sense of accomplishment from serving others. At the end of a day whether you take care of a group of 28 residents, support a team of nurses, problem solve one family’s needs or work to keep up with the most recent regulations, the feeling of being part of a something that impacts people’s lives in a positive way is the greatest reward," Arlt said.

Arlt and her husband, Michael, have a daughter, Elise, 2. The family lives in Lincoln. In her free time, Arlt enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Arlt and 12 other outstanding nurses will be honored at a luncheon on May 11 in Bismarck.

“The greatest reward for me always comes from a sense of accomplishment from serving others. At the end of a day whether you take care of a group of 28 residents, support a team of nurses, problem solve one family’s needs or work to keep up with the most recent regulations, the feeling of being part of a something that impacts people’s lives in a positive way is the greatest reward.”

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