“If we had known how much we needed each other, I’d have been in Johnson City a long time ago!”
Cindy Leonard, RN, has just been hired as a Wesley Nurse by Methodist Healthcare Ministries, and will serve the county’s residents out of an office at the First United Methodist Church in Johnson City.
“I’ve done just about everything there is to do in nursing in my 23 years,” Leonard explained, “from cardiology to intensive care, but I was at a point where I really wanted to get out in the community, helping people stay healthy and enjoy their lives. “So one night I prayed about it, and the next day Methodist Healthcare called and asked me to go to Blanco County.” Leonard didn’t know it, but the Johnson City church had been trying to get a Wesley Nurse for more than a year. “It really fell together as though...um...Somebody was planning it,” said Pastor Lee Romero. “We were renewing our request just as she was looking for us, and it all just sort of fell together.” Leonard won’t do clinical nursing — like giving shots and dispensing pills — nor home health care, but she will do blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, refer people to medical care they need, and do a whole lot of education. “Teaching people how to get and stay healthy, or to manage their conditions, is going to be a big chunk of my job,” Leonard explained, “so I’ll be talking to any group that needs a speaker, teaching classes for kids, leading exercise groups, visiting people at home and whatever else we think of.”
Wesley Nurses define their own jobs based on their community’s needs, so no two of the 70 nurses working in South-Central Texas may do exactly the same things.
“Methodist Healthcare Ministries has so many programs, and I’m still learning what they all are, that we may have something already on the shelf to fill any need I may find.” Finding those needs is the first assignment Leonard has in her new job. From now until April, she’ll be meeting people and learning what’s missing in the county, and finding the right programs to fill some of the gaps. Leonard stresses that although she works for a Methodist organization and has an office in a Methodist church, she’s not a “Methodist nurse”. “My turf is the whole county,” Leonard explained. “I can and will go to any church, any club, any home...I don’t care if you’re from this church, another church or no church...I serve the whole community.” But that service doesn’t really start until April, as she finishes her survey. Before then, she says she’d like to hear from anyone with ideas about how she can help make Blanco County residents healthier.
If you have an idea, call Cindy Leonard directly at 830-385-5087, or reach her through the church office at 868-7414.