I am sensing a theme in my writing. The last time I posted I was interviewing my mentor and nursing hero, Dr. Joyce Nelson. Today (finally back in the writing saddle) I am sharing an interview I did with another Joyce, this time my forever friend and nursing colleague, Joyce Kaatz. Would just interviewing Joyces be a potential niche for me? Your comments and suggestions are welcomed on this idea! The title of this post is just one of Joyce’s pearls that she shared with me. Also, if you don’t know Joyce, in the photo she is wearing the white cowboy hat and surrounded by only a fraction of the nursing friends that have been impacted by her love, support, and commitment to nursing.

If you’ve been following my blog, I mentioned Joyce in my very first post you can read here. She is the “popcorn popper” to my “crockpot” and I am a better person because of it. Thank you, Joyce. We have worked together in Faith Community Nursing since my 17 year old was two years old. (I know, that’s 15 years, but pretty much how I measure time.) I wrote this interview for our Sanford Faith Community Nursing August newsletter on the occasion of Joyce’s retirement from Faith Community Nursing. I wanted to share it with a broader audience. She is one wise woman of faith. It is full of life lessons. Learn fromher words and share!


Quite a milestone for the Sanford Faith Community Nursing Center as our founder, mentor, encourager, and friend, Joyce Kaatz, retires from the profession of parish nursing. We wanted to take this chance to share some of Joyce’s wisdom and reflection on her nearly 20 years of caring for body, mind, and spirit. Enjoy!

Becky: Remind me of your story with Faith Community Nursing, how did it start?
Joyce: Sioux Valley Hospital wanted to start Parish Nursing. I want to thank early leaders like JoEllen Koerner, Val Putnam, Rich Jones and Diana Berkland who had the vision to get it started. I was in Portland for another conference and it worked out to stay and do the Core Curriculum for Parish Nursing. God had it all planned! I was Sanford’s first parish nurse and began the ministry at Our Savior’s Lutheran. Then you (Becky) came on board to work with me and Doreen Miller provided leadership. I truly believe that God always provides the next person that you need.

Becky: What were the challenges in those early years?

Joyce: Explaining over and over what a parish nurse does. (My first name tag was actually spelled wrong, it said “Perish Nurse”!) The beauty of no one knowing is that no one knew what I supposed to do so I could do anything!

Becky: You’ve started countless signature ministries. Which one pops into your head first as you look back over your career? Why?
Joyce: I think the Parish Cruiser was the most fun one to develop. (a transportation program). The most meaningful was the SIGH project (the foot care clinic downtown) which is still growing and going on its own.

Becky: Talk about the church as a place for health and healing.

Joyce: Christ came to teach, preach, and heal. It’s been wonderful to develop faith community nursing and to have the church be a place for health and healing like it was hundreds of years ago. I feel strongly that the church is really about healing. Christ always asked people, “Do you want to be healed?” . . If you feel poorly physically, it’s really hard to focus on your faith.

Becky: How has your definition of faith community nursing changed from when you started till now?

Joyce: It’s expanded. When I started, people thought it was just taking blood pressures. Now it’s moved outside the walls, you don’t have to be a member, you don’t have to come to church to be served. When Faith Community Nurses serve in their neighborhood, they can bring members into their churches.

Becky: What do you think the world needs now from Faith Community Nursing?

Joyce: Annette Stixrud, my faculty person in my first FCN course said,”Our number one health care problem is going to be violence.” That was 20 years ago. She was a wonderful mentor for me and a visionary. We need to be preparing our nurses for this by asking, “How are you going to address this? What is the root of violence? Start with some Doc Talks, do some programming. Violence starts at home, what do you watch on TV? How do we bring peace? How do we talk and treat each other?

Becky: How did you decide which health topics to address?

Joyce: Pray, listen to your gut, look at what’s going on around you, start the programs that your people need. Listen to what’s going on in the world . . .example, Zika virus. That is what will bring people in. It has to be relevant.

Becky: What’s your wisdom in engaging volunteers?

Joyce: Everyone is open to volunteering, you just have to find their passion. For example, “I like driving!” That person makes a great Parish Cruiser volunteer. Ask people what they like to do . . .

Becky: What’s your favorite scripture?

Joyce: Romans 8:38-39: “nothing can separate us from the love of God” and also Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Becky: Anything else you’d like to share?

Joyce: I’d like to quote Bob Hope who sang, (singing) “Thanks for the memories.” I really think faith community nursing is the job that all nurses at their core really want to do.

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