Time's Running Out
There are only a few hours left to help out families affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Gifts made today will be matched.
#GivingTuesdayNow is almost over. Only a few hours left to help our families affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Gifts made today will be matched up to $50,000 thanks to the generosity of a dedicated group of employees at William Blair and its matching gifts program.
Coworker Corner: Sarah Juarez
Sarah Juarez’s job is unlike any other job at Mercy Home. As the nurse, Sarah looks after our kids’ medical needs and well being in a way that no other coworker can.
Being a nurse is a lifelong dream for Sarah.
“I knew I was going to be a nurse at a young age,” Sarah said. “My aunt was a nurse … [and] just seeing what she did, I think that helped to instill the foundation of knowing that I wanted to be in healthcare.”
Sarah remembers being 4 or 5 years old and coloring in her aunt’s anatomy book, trying to memorize the names of muscles and bones. Her interest grew throughout high school, and she decided to go to nursing school. She got a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Xavier University while working as a nursing assistant at Palos Community Hospital.
I knew I was going to be a nurse at a young age.
However, as she progressed through school and continued working, she realized that she didn’t want to be a bedside nurse for a career.
“I think there’s a lot of rewarding bedside care positions,” Sarah said. “But I knew [that] I wanted to intervene before they got to the hospital. So it was really like, how do I do that? What do I go into?”
After talking with her professors and mentors, Sarah discovered that they all had master’s degrees in public health. She knew that she wanted to work in the community at a “grassroots” level of care, while still being affiliated with a university or healthcare system, and this seemed like a great fit. After finishing nursing school, Sarah also earned a master’s degree in public health.
Sarah worked as a school nurse for a while, but wanting something more challenging, and began to look into new jobs. It was then she came across a job positing at Rush for a community health nurse. She was immediately interested in the job, and discovered Rush was working to create partnerships with community organizations like Mercy Home.
This was not the first time Sarah had ever heard of Mercy Home, either. Her cousin was a resident at Mercy Home in the late ‘90s, so she had some familiarity with our Home already. Though she was offered a job with different healthcare operations, she held out for something she was more interested in—working with a pediatric population. The position at Mercy Home was a perfect fit.
“It [was] just meant to be, I guess,” she said. “Things kind of just fell into place when they were supposed to fall into place, so I’m grateful for that.”
As the nurse at Mercy Home, Sarah’s job, which is now part of the Organizational Development department, includes managing the entire medication system at our Home and does all of the medication audits, basically “overseeing all those [to] make sure that everything’s safe for our kids.” She also serves as a liaison between our therapists and the contract psychiatrist, acting as an advocated for our kids along with the therapists.
“[We’re] trying to keep it as holistic as possible, because that’s the Mercy way, you know, keeping everything holistic and giving the kids as much autonomy as possible when it comes to choosing how they want to therapeutically better themselves, whether it’s medication, whether it’s coping skills, behavior modifications, things like that,” she said.
She is also working with clinical students from Rush to develop health education curriculum’s that will come out after the pandemic has passed. Additionally, she consults with youth who have any chronic issues or acute injuries or illnesses.
We’re trying to keep it as holistic as possible, because that’s the Mercy way, you know, keeping everything holistic and giving the kids as much autonomy as possible when it comes to choosing how they want to therapeutically better themselves.
Sarah said that she really enjoys working with the kids at Mercy Home and getting to know them. She added that educating kids around their age is a great way to intervene at the point that can make a big impact in their lives.
“I really wanted to work for Mercy because what Mercy stands for really aligned with my morals and my goals and how I want to raise my kids,” she said. “You know, like bringing them up in creating a positive culture and self-love. And I think Mercy does a great job with instilling that in their kids [and] it makes me really proud to be a part of that.”
Working at Mercy Home has also shown Sarah a different side of healthcare, and she is grateful for that.
“There’s a lot of great people that work at Mercy, in all different roles, and I’m really glad [I’m] able to build those professional relationships and see a different side of mental healthcare,” she said. “I see more of a clinical side from my background but being with the [counselors] and clinicians and social workers, therapists, it really helped expand what I could offer to the youth as well.
“It’s different than your typical nursing role. … Being able to learn a whole different side of mental health and a more positive side … I think this is just great. I’m really happy to be part of the organization and I’m glad that everything’s worked out as it has.”