Serving Leadership Key in Deaconess Nurse Ministry’s Work

Reta Kirk RN. Photo courtesy of Deaconess Nurse Ministry.

For the nurses at Deaconess Nurse Ministry (DNM) in St. Louis, serving others is a calling. Especially during the current pandemic, their role in providing support and care to families in need is critical. One recent story illustrates the need.

When the Rev. Donna Smith-Pupillo RN, executive director of Deaconess, read an email from Elizabeth George, director of community investment at the St. Louis Foundation, she knew Deaconess nurses had to help. George explained that she had received an email from someone pleading with her to help the person’s family, which includes a sister with diabetes, hypertension and a history of stroke; a daughter with mental health disabilities; two older children who had recently lost their jobs; and 5 younger children between toddler and high school age. Additionally, the person who reached out is receiving cancer treatment at Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis. George asked Deaconess Nurse Ministry to help the family.

Smith-Pupillo contacted Reta Kirk RN, who has been a nurse with DNM for 5 years. Kirk called the family and learned that they had just moved from a pest- and mold-infested home and had nothing. So she reached out to Trinity Food Pantry to get the family food, and went to the store to buy supplies for the family, which she delivered the next day (a Sunday).

Additionally, Kirk provided the person and her family a list of resources, including assistance for rent and utilities, and diapers. She helped them with their bills, contacted the Salvation Army for furnishings for the home, and helped them connect with the Gateway STEM High School website for Chromebook access for the high school-aged daughter.

“I am so grateful to be able to serve, and thankful for Deaconess Nurse Ministry, who allows me to do that,” Kirk says.

Kirk has made subsequent home visits to care for a diabetic ulcer on the sister’s toe, and provide supplies to the family. She will continue to monitor the sister’s wound until she can be seen by a podiatrist.

“Because the family is balancing so many balls in the air to keep their family together and needs supplied through minimal resources, Reta has been providing them with emotional and spiritual support resources as well,” says Smith-Pupillo. “Reta does great ministry.”

Even the landlord is helping out. “Their landlord is working with them to convert their house rental into a section 8 and, thus, more affordable for her. The paperwork is in process,” Smith-Pupillo says.Kirk is continuing to provide whatever support is needed that Deaconess Nurse Ministry can supply.

“We are so proud of Reta and all of our Deaconess Nurses, who provide this much-needed help to people who need it the most during this time,” Smith-Pupillo adds.

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