For the past four years, Reta Kirk, RN, has been working to make life better for people throughout the St. Louis region. As a community faith nurse at Deaconess Nurse Ministry, Reta splits her time between five locations: Trinity Episcopal Food Pantry, Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Bridge of Hope Ministries, Peace Pantry at Cedar Hill and Carolina Mission House, a daycare.
Ranging from six months old to 99 years old, Reta’s clients come from all walks of life. Her work at the food pantries and community centers include offering health screenings, speaking with people about their health and connecting them to vital resources. At the daycare, Reta assumes the role of a consultant and facilitator, reviewing health records, facilitating workshops for staff and parents, making rounds in the classrooms and addressing any
health-related questions and concerns, among many other things.
While her work varies greatly on a daily basis, Reta always takes the same compassionate approach to delivering care.
“I listen to their hearts — and their struggles. God brought my skills, knowledge and heart together to both care and minister to people. It’s a good combination to reach people where they are, being a source of strength and encouragement while also providing the tools they need to live healthier lives,” says Reta.
With the end of the year quickly approaching, Reta, along with other Deaconess Nurse Ministry staff, will be providing flu vaccines to the community free of charge. In the 2018-19 flu season, the team administered 700 flu shots across the St. Louis region, and will likely administer even more this upcoming season. Most of the clients served in ministries are uninsured and could not afford to pay for the vaccine; this program makes them much more accessible.
In addition to offering flu shots, Reta helps keep her clients well and free of cold and flu by educating them on healthy habits such as washing hands properly, drinking fluids, eating better and getting adequate rest.
By empowering people in their health and providing the necessities of life, Reta is making the community healthier throughout every season.