Committed to Caring for Kids



It takes a special type of person to work with kids every day. And Sarah Prenger, clinical supervisor at Sanford Children’s Specialty Clinics, is just that type.

Sarah didn’t start in health care, but realized she needed to shift gears to find a more fulfilling career.

“I was a corrections officer before I was a nurse,” Sarah says. “I wanted to help people in a different way, and it seemed like becoming a nurse was the way to go.”

Making a difference

Sarah started with Sanford seven years ago and since then has encountered numerous children. She can still remember one little girl in particular.

“I was walking a child – about 4 years old – to the exam room,” Sarah says. “She looked up at me and said ‘I’m scared.’ I didn’t have any words to say to her, but she reached up and grabbed my hand. That has stuck with me.”

This is just one of the many stories Sarah and the pediatric staff experience every day at Sanford. While she no longer has the hands-on interaction with patients, Sarah gets to see the impact her nursing staff makes and knows they are improving care for children.

“There is something about pediatric care that you don’t see anywhere else,” Sarah says. “In our clinic, you’ll see staff standing on tables, blowing bubbles and dancing and singing. The clinic is a noisy, fun place to be. I love it.”

Sarah also sees the difference Sanford makes on a larger scale. The partnership Sanford has with the Children’s Miracle Network is helping local kids receive treatment for diseases and injuries of all kinds.

“I am really proud of this partnership,” Sarah says. “Some of our kids wouldn’t be able to get the care they need without this support.”

Always evolving

What is the most challenging, yet rewarding, for Sarah is the continuous change and growth at Sanford. She saw the clinic move from the traditional setting to the Castle of Care and also the shift to electronic medical records. Both were huge undertakings, and these are just a few examples of how Sanford is evolving.

“The move was scary and exciting,” Sarah says. “But we're in such a better place now because of it, and I love that I got to be part of it. There's always something new happening at Sanford.”

The growth employees can have within the Sanford system is another positive. Sarah joined Sanford 7 years ago as a new graduate nurse. Now she gets to supervise and support a clinic full of those same nurses.

“I’ve been given opportunities to advance here at Sanford that I might not have received somewhere else,” Sarah says. “And there are plenty of opportunities for nurses in all fields.”

Sanford supports staff and wants them to be successful in their roles. Sarah was prepared to take on her supervisory position because of specific training she received with Sanford’s help.

“Because I work at Sanford, I was able to attend a leadership academy,” Sarah says. “It was a six-month program, and it really helped develop me as a leader.”

Feels like home

What keeps Sarah at Sanford is the people. The connections created with her team are unmatched.

“This is my home…my family,” Sarah says. “I have worked a lot of other places and I’ve never felt this type of connection. I love walking into the cafeteria and seeing people I know, and to know those people are really here to support me.”

The multidisciplinary approach to caring for kids is vital to the quality care Sanford delivers.

“I get to work with other nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, phlebotomists – all kinds of staff,” Sarah says. “Having that input and being able to partner with other people is amazing.”

The feeling of family also extends to the leadership team. The positive influences offered at Sanford are comforting for Sarah.

“I have very good working relationships with my director and even the vice president of Sanford Children’s,” Sarah says. “I feel support from the entire organization.”

Sarah’s passion for her work remains constant, something that is easy to do at Sanford.

“I love working at Sanford because it’s not just a job,” she says. “It’s more than clocking in and out. You get the chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Posted Date: August 2013

Committed to Caring for Kids

Sarah Prenger, Clinical Supervisor at Children's Specialty Clinics in Sioux Falls “I love working at Sanford because it’s not just a job. It’s more than clocking in and out. You get the chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”