What’s everybody laughing about?
When people arrive at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital they are greeted by the sound of laughter coming down the hall from patients who just received the vaccine.
Mindy Grunst, RN, is the culprit. She’s just having fun with patients as they wait their 15 minutes of observation time after receiving the vaccine.
Grunst is part cheerleader, part game show host as she observes how patients are responding to the vaccine.
“Give me a V,” Mindy shouts out. “Give me an A.” She continues to spell out the word vaccine while making the letters YMCA style with her body. “What does it spell?”
“Vaccine!” the patients respond.
Next up is trivia.
The category is actresses.
The answer: “This Swedish star retired from the screen after the release of her 1941 film Two-Faced Woman,” Grunst says.
Patient Cathy Morgan shouted out the correct clue: “Who is Greta Garbo?”
Morgan, who came with her husband for their first dose of the vaccine, said she enjoyed the trivia.
“It gives you something to think about other than sitting here being bored,” she said.
Morgan was happy with how the process went.
“It went really smooth,” she said. “We were in and out in minutes.”
Grunst is a cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation nurse and lead therapist. She volunteered to help observe vaccination patients two times a week. She’s been with Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital 23 years and knows many community residents.
“I really enjoy doing this because I get to see my friends and my neighbors come through and hopefully encourage them to have other family members and friends get their vaccine, too,” she said. “It’s good to see people.”
Grunst said it’s also good for the patients to socialize.
“I’ve had great feedback,” Grunst said. “People really like it—they’re very engaging. It takes their mind off the shot. And a lot of people don’t get out—they haven’t been out for so long this is a way to get back into minimal socialization. It gives people a chance to experience something other than the four walls in their house.”
The feedback has gone beyond kind words at the clinics.
The hospital has received emails, letters and phone calls from vaccinated community members who want to share their sheer delight with the whole vaccine experience—a highlight of which is the trivia game.
Grunst said she loves trivia and is a big Jeopardy fan. She gets her questions from a 2002 Jeopardy calendar and Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader books.
“I’m always looking for more information,” she said.
Jenn Cobb, RN, a clinical lead for the vaccination clinic at the hospital, oversees the process that vaccinates about 500 patients each clinic. She says Grunst has been terrific with patients.
“Mindy does a great job,” Cobb said. “She makes it fun and lively and the patients enjoy her Jeopardy games and her skits she puts on, making them spell out vaccine. For some people who haven’t been out of their house in a while, they say it’s the most fun they’ve had in a really long time.”
So much fun, Evan Calderon felt hesitant to leave.
“It’s fun, light-hearted and keeps people in a positive mood,” he said. “She made it a lot of fun. I kind of wanted to stay longer to play more trivia.”
Not to worry, many of those who received their first dose of the vaccine on a recent Tuesday in Big Rapids will be back in a few weeks for the second dose.
“Take a squirt of hand sanitizer, that’s your parting gift,” Grunst says with a smile as they leave.