Even though I am almost 3,000 miles away, I’ve never felt more at home. Moving across the country to a new city where I didn’t know anyone was daunting, to say the least. I second-guessed my decision to leave many times, but ultimately decided that it was time to take a leap of faith. And I couldn’t be happier! The Sisters of the Redeemer, Holy Redeemer Health System and the entire Greater Philadelphia area have welcomed me with open arms and I’ve never felt so blessed.
My heart is full of inspiration. In the past few months, I’ve met patients who are fighting for their lives, nurses who work long nights, employees who are deeply committed to living out the Holy Redeemer mission and Sisters who truly are a healing presence to everyone they meet. It has been an eye-opening experience to be surrounded by such passionate people and inspires me to channel my energy and efforts into meaningful work.
My heart is full of respect. I’ve witnessed employees from many different parts of the Holy Redeemer Health System work tirelessly to improve lives of patients on many levels. Some are on the forefront of implementing a new bundle payment system in the hospital, others ensure cleanliness in patient rooms for a comfortable stay and even more are providing personalized direct patient care. These individuals pour their hearts and souls into their work and deserve the utmost respect. It takes a special group of people to provide high quality healthcare and I feel lucky to work alongside such dedicated employees.
My heart is full of a new sense of belonging. Living in community with the Sisters of Redeemer has made my transition a lot smoother than expected. Not only have I learned a lot about myself and how I interact with others, but I’ve also learned about the precision needed to make homemade soap, how to shop for a winter coat, and the progression of the Lymphedema Treatment Act. A wise Sister once told me “Community living is the greatest gift and the biggest challenge”. While I have been showered with all the joys of community living, I have also struggled at times to find my place and understand how to be a supportive community member to others.
My heart is full of challenges. As a Patient Care Assistant in the ICU department and a Community Health Worker with the Care Coordination team, I have been challenged in ways I never imagined. The ICU requires me to be physically, mentally and emotionally available to patients who need a listening ear in their most vulnerable state. While the Care Coordination team tackles new ways to collaborate across different departments, ensuring a safe and enjoyable transition of care after leaving the hospital. With the support of coworkers, I have been able to eagerly take on new challenges with an open mind. Sometimes the outcome is great and other times it’s full of frustration and distress. I’ve made adjustments and continue to take advantage of all the learning opportunities these two positions have to offer.
My heart is full of hope. I have loved my time in Philadelphia and my time as a Redeemer Ministry Corps volunteer. I’ve made new, meaningful friendships with people from all walks of life and I’m beyond excited to see what is in store for the rest of the year. I hope to continue travelling to new cities on the East Coast, continue investing myself in my ministries and continue to grow personally and professionally.
Lastly and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, my heart is full of gratitude. I want to thank my supportive friends and family in California who encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and say yes to this new journey. I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to be a Redeemer Ministry Corps volunteer this year, surrounded by a loving and understanding community that continues to challenge me to be the very best version of myself.
-Jackie serves as a PCA in the ICU and as a Community Health Worker.