On Monday evening, we celebrated Jackie’s year of service with a Mass of Thanksgiving and had the opportunity to hear from Jackie as she shared her reflection on her experience with us:
First, I want to thank everyone for coming after what I imagine was a long work day. It means the world to me to see so many familiar faces from ICU, St. Josephs Manor, Drueding Center, The Reilly House, Care Management, the Corporate Office, Redeemer Village, the Redeemer Associates, Province Center staff and volunteers.
In December, I was asked to talk at a “Managers and Supervisors” meeting about the Redeemer Ministry Corps program. Some of you here today may have been at that meeting. I babbled on about moving here from California, buying my first winter coat and the fulfilling work that I get to do. One thing I wanted to convey in that talk was that there is something different about Holy Redeemer. Something, at that point, that I couldn’t quite explain. It’s a special place and it took me an entire year to figure out what makes this place so extraordinary. Today I want to tell you why Holy Redeemer now holds a special place in my heart.
- Please stand and stay standing if you are a Sister of the Redeemer
- Please stand and stay standing if you have been with Holy Redeemer for more than 10 years
- Please stand and stay standing if you have personally experienced compassion and hospitality from the Sisters of the Redeemer
- Please stand and stay standing if you have directed a lost visitor, made small talk on the elevator or said hello to a stranger in the hallway at any Holy Redeemer location
- Please stand and stay standing if you are committed to investing in “Every patient, resident or client, every single time”
Look around; everyone is standing. These are things that set Holy Redeemer apart and each one of you contributes to that each day, making Holy Redeemer the special place that it is. It’s the kind-hearted people who work here, the intentionality at every Holy Redeemer location and the desire to live out a mission that the Sisters started almost 100 years ago. That’s special and something that is not found in every health system. You all can be seated, thank you.
During my year, I spent 3 days a week as a Patient Care Assistant in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital and 2 days a week working with the Care Management department. These 2 different positions have given me the opportunity to see different aspects of healthcare – the patient interaction during the hospital stay and the transitions of care that follow. My time in the ICU has not only taught me how to perform an EKG test and monitor blood sugar levels, but I have also deepened my empathy and learned how to connect with patients who are in a vulnerable place. I will miss the nurses reminding me to empty their patients foley bags, asking for a hand to pull up patients in bed and giving me advice about working in healthcare. These nurses have become like family to me and I want to thank Annette, my candle carrier and nurse manager of the ICU, for welcoming me into her unit this year. A quick story about Annette – each month she has to sign my time sheet. After my first month, I stopped by her office to get her signature and she said “Is there anything I can do to make your experience more meaningful?” That is a moment that I will never forget and I’m very grateful to have such a caring and intentional supervisor like her.
With the Care Management department, I witnessed firsthand the power of insurance companies and the importance of appealing hospital stays that are denied by these insurance companies. I learned how to use a tickler to organize cases that need to be appealed and learned how the new Medicare Bundled Payments program is benefiting patients as well as Holy Redeemer Hospital. The hard work and dedication that these care managers demonstrate inspires me each day, some even need a reminder when it is time to go home. I want to thank Laurene, my other candle carrier and Director of Care Coordination, for allowing me to explore different projects this year and pursue the ones that peaked my interest. Laurene also took me on my first ever trip to New York and I’m thankful for all the time I got to spend with her outside of Holy Redeemer.
This year I also had the opportunity to live in community with the Sisters of the Redeemer. I was scared of my mind when I first moved here – I didn’t know anyone, everything was new, different and I was WAY out of my comfort zone. Turns out that these 17 Sisters plus Mary Dolan, have become some of my best friends. We share meals together, pray together, clean the laundry room together, go on day trips together, serve meals at St. Francis Inn together, make March Madness brackets together, play mini golf together, dance the Cupid Shuffle together, complete Mad Libs together, hunt for Easter Eggs together, play pinochle together and more. This year was full of unexpected joy-filled moments. The Sisters have challenged me to develop my skills in leading prayers, cooking for a group, living with others and being intentional with my time. Being surrounded by women who are grounded in their faith has inspired me to invest more time and energy in to my own faith life. I can truthfully say that this year has allowed me to become a better version of myself – one that is now confident to take on the world with courage, trust and understanding.
My experience this year made me realize that I want to pursue a career where I can interact with patients on a collaborative interdisciplinary team. In the ICU, I found so much joy in being part of a patient’s journey to recovery – watching them get out of bed for the first time or walk a lap around the unit always fills my heart with happiness. Working with the Care Management team, I now understand the importance of safe transitions of care and the tremendous need for rehab before returning home. So I’m excited to announce that July 1st I will be starting a new job as a Rehab Therapy Assistant with Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Center City. This position will allow me to continue to accompany patients on their road to recovery. There is no way I could have gotten this new position without having the experience I did with Holy Redeemer. And I am forever grateful for that.
I will leave you with an analogy that perfectly embodies my volunteer year with Holy Redeemer and is something I got to experience for the first time here – riding a sled down a hill in a fresh snow. Two of my lovely friends I met here bought me a beautiful red circular sled, maybe called a saucer. Fresh out of the box, it was a pristine and untouched – vibrant color with a smooth bottom and small white handles on each side. I took it to Lorimer Park after a snow and decided to give it a try with my college roommate who was visiting at the time, and alongside a group of 10-year-old boys. I was standing at the top of the hill and started to feel the same feelings I had when I first moved out here – scared, nervous, excited and WAY outside my comfort zone. I sat in my sled at the top of the hill, trying to muster up the courage to pick up my feet. One of the 10 year old boys watching say, “Well, Miss, are you going to go?” In an attempt to look like I knew that I was doing, I picked up my feet and held on to the white handles for dear life. I felt like I had no control – it was exhilarating and one of the most life-giving things I have ever done. We went over a few unexpected bumps in the hill but it didn’t stop me, rather redirected me in a slightly different direction. I finally made it to the bottom, with a huge smile on my face, ready to do it all again. My sled now has a few dents in the bottom, but they give it character, showing that it has a wealth of experience – which is exactly what I gained this year. A wealth of experience in healthcare, in life and in sledding.
Lastly, I would like to thank Lisa for guiding me through this year and always supporting me in everything I do. I appreciate that more than you know, so thank you. And again, I want to thank each and every one of you for coming this evening. It means more than words can describe. My heart breaks as I get ready to leave, but I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a Redeemer Ministry Corps volunteer this year. Everyone here has made an impact on my year with Holy Redeemer and this has been unforgettable, thank you!
-Jackie served as a PCA in the ICU and as a Community Health Worker with the Care Management Department. She will be moving to Center City, Philadelphia to work as a Rehab Therapy Assistant with Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.