Viterbo Health Services navigates personnel changes


Carter Steger, Assistant Editor

Viterbo offers a variety of medical and health care through Health Services. Sue Danielson was an integral part of Health Services for over eighteen years, right up until her recent retirement. Filling the vacancy of Danielson’s long tenure in Health Services poses challenges for Viterbo.  

Registered nurse Kalene Ruehlow, a Viterbo graduate, assists part-time with Health Services. Her help keeps Health Services operational. During an interview with Ruehlow, she said that “many people are used to seeing Sue. When I was a student here, I even remember Sue. She wore a lot of different hats.”  

Stepping into Danielson’s position comes with a variety of responsibilities. Ruehlow notes, “We’re just kind of missing a lot of different pieces. Sue didn’t just attend to students that walked in the office. There is the administrative part, organizing all the inventory, knowing what the office needs, making sure that she was budgeting everything.” Ruehlow also noted about Danielson being responsible for “organizing all the flu shots, and then we add the COVID-19 pandemic in there and she had to deal with this whole new realm.”  

Aside from the typical offerings of Health Services there are also programs for which Health Services is responsible. CPR and First Aid training opportunities have occasionally been offered through Health Services. Ruehlow says, “We don’t have anyone who’s educating right now on those subjects.”  

Viterbo is working to keep Health Services open as much as possible for the students. With Ruehlow assisting part-time and undertaking a large list of responsibilities, she says that “It’s hard to make an adjustment and transition essentially in the middle of the semester.” Ruehlow understands and emphasizes that Danielson “has done a lot in her almost twenty years here.”  

Searching for a permanent replacement comes with another set of difficulties. On the current general climate of nursing and medical professions, Ruehlow states, “You already have a high demand in the typical fields. There have been a lot of pay increases across the board. But also, the cost of living has increased matched with high demand. There is a lot of competition.” Currently, Viterbo has made its search for a full-time replacement known. 

This period of transition affects students too. Rules and processes will look a little different for Health Services. “We’re trying to move more towards the old guidelines for class absences and excused days,” said Ruehlow. Ruehlow discusses what that looks like. “If you just need a one-day absence, for example, you really have a bad headache, or stomach flu or something like that. Students should be reaching out to their professors directly and coordinating that absence excusal and make-up work.” Ruehlow notes, “I know that has not been the case for the past couple of years and because of COVID-19 so it’s kind of hard to go back.” 

This does not mean students cannot receive care from Health Services. In fact, Ruehlow shares the opposite message, stating “Of course we still want to make sure the students are feeling okay and see if they need anything. If they need something, even if it’s just Tylenol or migraine relief, we want to be able to get that to them.” 

On navigating this unique set of challenges for Health Services, Ruehlow says that “With the changing hours, and being new to the position, I appreciate everyone and their patience as we transition through this.” Health Services is still open to students. Hours are found on Viterbo’s website. Any closings or changes are typically posted in the daily communications email. Despite things looking a little different in Health Services, their goal of serving the Viterbo community has not changed.