ST. CLOUD --The stay at home order to fight COVID-19 has been extended in Minnesota, adding a new layer of uncertainty to an already uncertain reality. Regardless, many local residents remain focused on taking care of others.

Kathy Schlueter of St. Cloud says her daughter Julie Karls is, without a doubt, one of those people.

Karls is a family medical clinic nurse in St. Cloud for CentraCare Health. Schlueter says her daughter became an RN about two years ago.

“She’s just a go-getter,” Schlueter said. “She was an LPN, studying at night with two kids at home. She worked hard and passed her boards. And she loves the work.”

Schlueter says her daughter continues to love her work, despite the long, 12 to 14-hour days and sweeping changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s very few people coming in right now,” Schlueter explained, referring to Karls’ clinic. “It’s a lot more about rescheduling, and answering phones, and lining up video visits with doctors for patients who don't need to be seen right away. She says a few people stay each night, taking care of this.”

“She says it’s different, and quite sad at times,” Schlueter added. “And endless; there are so many people – including me, asking her questions, like ‘when will this end? What is going on? Why can’t I come in? Why do I have to stay isolated?’ I’m sure it’s pretty nerve-wracking, but she loves it.”

Schlueter, who is battling lung disease, is isolated right now to prevent contracting COVID-19. She says Karls is a reassuring presence in her life as well, often stopping by at the end of a long workday to help her with things.

“She has a soft-spoken way about her, but she just loves people,” Schlueter said. “To do what she does – you have to be a very patient person, and also a very loving person.”

Schlueter says her daughter has a knack for empathizing with her patients.

“In that role, you can’t be short with people,” she said. “A lot of (patients) are scared. And even if you’re afraid, you have to find that patience and get beyond yourself in order to touch other people. You have to be able to sit with them, maybe cry, and show your humanness. And that’s just the way Julie is, always.”

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