Fulfillment in what they do has been a common thread in the stories we’ve told about Saint Therese nurses during National Nurses Month. Joan Nistler, RN, at Saint Therese at Oxbow Lake in Brooklyn Park is no exception.
Joan has worked for Saint Therese for more than 30 years and a RN since 1995. She spent most of her career at Saint Therese of New Hope working in a variety of roles – she worked the floor, was a case manager, night house supervisor (for 14 years) and nurse manager.
But working through the height of the pandemic took a toll on her and she took some time off. She has now returned, reinvigorated, to Oxbow Lake in a non-management role.
“I’m back to doing hands-on care on the floor, and I love it,” said Joan. “I got into nursing because I found it gratifying to work with the elderly and to be able to do something to make their day. I really enjoy working with them. I missed it. And, I’ve been told I have a calming influence on the residents, which makes it even more rewarding.”
Joan naturally embodies the Saint Therese mission of “doing ordinary things with extraordinary love.” She talked about how when she was on the night shift, she enjoyed getting residents ready for bed by giving them a backrub and putting lotion on their back.
And sometimes she did “extraordinary things” with extraordinary love, such as the day she took a resident to Grand Casino Hinckley (with family’s consent), because the resident really wanted to go. Afterwards, the woman wanted to shop and then have pizza, so Joan and her mom (who had joined them on this adventure), did that as well. The resident returned to Saint Therese happy and thankful for the day.
She is inspired by Barb Rode, our soon to be retired President & CEO. “I’ve seen her out on the floor feeding people and toileting people. This was our CEO doing hands-on care. That always stayed with me. No one is above taking care of residents.”
“I have the utmost respect for nurses; they are the lifeblood of our community,” said Deb Reitmeier, executive director and campus administrator at Saint Therese at Oxbow Lake. “I’m reminded of a well-known quote that pretty much says it all – nurses dispense comfort, compassion, and caring without even a prescription.”
Yet, despite the reverence that people have for nurses and the satisfaction they themselves feel in their jobs, there is still a shortage of nurses in the U.S.
To those people thinking about entering the nursing field, Joan said “There are so many opportunities in so many different fields and so many different positions that their opportunities are endless. It is a great learning experience, and that is important.”