Christ House prides itself on providing 24-hour clinical care for men experiencing homelessness with acute medical needs in DC. This care would not be possible without our dedicated nursing staff. Nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and nurse assistants work in tandem to support our patients’ recovery process. Services provided by our nursing staff include support in activities of daily living, medication management, wound care, pre- and post-operative care, health promotion, facilitating referrals to specialists, performing tests, and providing immunizations. The compassionate hands-on care that our nurses provide is critical to the healing environment of Christ House.
May 6-12 is Nurse Appreciation Week, and we couldn’t think of a better time to highlight our incredible nursing staff. The following notes have been provided by Christ House’s nursing staff and patients.
Nursing is an embodied profession. It requires one to use their eyes to assess patients, ears to listen closely, intuition and intellect to respond to needs before they become problems, hands to tend to patient care, and feet to be ready to jump in response to an emergency. I love working as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner at Christ House because the model of care celebrates this embodiment, creating space for healing even when not all ails can be cured.
– Mari Lowe, Nurse Practitioner
When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to “do when I grew up” there was something that kept jumping out at me from my Bible. Over and over, I read that Jesus would teach and preach and heal. I figured that if those were the things that Jesus found important, then maybe they would be good ways for me to spend my time also. I’m not much of a teacher or preacher, but healing has always been a beautiful idea to me. As a nurse I get to see patients experiencing physical, emotional, social, and spiritual healing here at Christ House. Jesus performed instantaneous miracles of healing, but I believe that the slow and steady healing that takes place here is just as miraculous.
–Melissa Jantzi, Nurse
My father rode an ambulance as a volunteer EMT and still worked Mon-Fri for 38 years. I saw him hear the radio and get up and leave for the Squad House at any time: dinner, 2 AM or 5 AM. My mother was doing community helping work: running the WIC program, board of health. Both did many other things also. When I was forty my town Fire Department was asking for EMT volunteers and I joined. After awhile I found out the county Community College has a 2 year RN program and that got me started on the best path in life I can imagine. My parents are the guidepost of my life.
–John McCarthy, NP
I graduated from Boston College’s Connell School of Nursing in May of 2021. Then it was time to choose what I wanted to do with my degree, how I wanted to use my new powers of healing. I stumbled upon an advertisement in a newsletter looking for new nurses interested in a year of service at a medical respite facility for people experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC. At the time, I had never considered working outside of a hospital setting or doing a year of service. I was compelled to click on the ad and reach out for more information. Soon after that I was moving from Boston to DC, nervously anticipating my transition to medical respite care and working with people experiencing homelessness, wondering if I would regret swaying from the big Boston hospital path chosen by most of my peers.
Christ House quickly revealed itself as a gift from the universe, a facility where the staff treat each other like family and the patients are given a safe place to heal after times of hardship. I was immediately embraced by the other nursing staff and encouraged to ask questions and express myself when I needed help, an attitude not always welcomed in the healthcare setting. I was able to make connections with patients who had completely different life experiences than me, teaching me just as much (if not more) than I was able to teach them. Working at Christ House has led to immense personal growth in knowledge and spirit, something greater than I could have ever imagined for my first year of nursing.
–Holly Halperin, RN (YLV)