Nurses, healthcare workers, mental health workers and community caregivers are essential and it is vital that they have support at JPH when feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. They are committed to meeting the needs of the community and they do so with compassion, care and competence. Our healthcare worker programs include monthly support group, outreach and access to programs for rejuvenation.
3rd Wednesday of the month 7pm-8pm
Facilitated by Kate Gardner-RN, BSN, TIPS
This group is a peer led support group for women in the Nurses, healthcare workers, mental heath workers and community caregivers . Facilitators Kate and Becki are life long friends who supported each other through difficult times during the pandemic and wanted to create a safe space for other women working in this caregiving field to receive the support and self-care that is so needed. This will be a topic driven group with time at the end for tea and community time.
JPH Healthcare Workers Support Group Founder’s Story
Kate Gardner, a nurse at South Shore Hospital was one of the first on her unit to volunteer in the ICU during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. She does not normally work in the ICU, but felt compelled to support her fellow nurses who were working tirelessly to provide critical and life-saving care. That split second decision put Kate directly where she was supposed to be in order to help a life-long friend and fellow nurse.
It was 5 a.m. on a January morning in 2021 when Kate received a panicked call from her friend Becki Scalia. Becki and Kate attended kindergarten through high school together. As adults, their friendship evolved as supportive fellow nurses. Becki worked at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and her mother, Suzanne (Suzie) Stevens, had a bad fall and was rushed to South Shore Hospital. Kate heard the panic in Becki’s voice and worked to calm her friend’s nerves. She told Becki she had just moved to the ICU at South Shore Hospital and would check in on her mother immediately.
Suzie’s fall came at a time when visiting was prohibited so Kate became Becki’s lifeline to her mother. The truth is nurses trust nurses. Nurses know what it takes to provide amazing care to patients and having Kate there with Suzie meant everything to Becky. Kate facilitated Facetime calls so Becki could see her mother and remain connected. Becki gave Kate permission to relay up-to-the-minute information to Becki and her family.
During the days Suzie spent in the ICU, Kate spent time talking with her and keeping her company, as her workload allowed. Suzie seemed to be turning a corner and talked with Kate about future plans with her family and things she would do when she recovered. Sadly, a couple of days after that conversation, Suzie’s health worsened. Becki and her family were called into the hospital to see Suzie one last time. Kate made sure to greet Becki and her family as they faced their hardest moment. After Suzie had passed, Kate brought her personal items to Becki’s dad. On the way to his house, with Suzie’s personal items in the car, Kate reflected on that last conversation with Suzie which felt so surreal now. She promised Suzie she would always take care of Becki.
A few months after Suzie passed, Becki was able to support Kate. Kate’s uncle was unexpected admitted to Beth Israel Deaconess and could not see visitors due to restrictions. Becki helped Kate in the same way that Kate had helped Becki, nurses and friends offering each other support during those difficult times. A few years later, Becki and Kate found themselves drawn to JPH at Ferry Hill. They had friends involved with the project and both came to visit the center on the same week. Both saw the invaluable support JPH was offering the community and agreed how badly healthcare workers needed help, in a similar way to how they had supported each other during the pandemic. They knew JPH at Ferry Hill was the place where they could find healing and share support. An idea was quickly put into action at JPH and the healthcare worker support program was launched.