Rachel Peterson, a vascular access nurse at Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center, recently got out of her shell on a medical mission trip to Uganda! The trip was something she had been invited to participate in for years but declined, until last year.
“I always found a reason why I could not go,” Rachel shares. “When asked again in the fall of 2022, I felt God nudging me this time and I couldn’t come up with a reason or an excuse not to go.”
Rachel had financially contributed to the mission trip’s host organization, Held by Him, for several years. In fact, the Held by Him founder, Tricia Blessing, was a nurse at Springfield Regional Medical Center and had worked on the same unit as Rachel.
Rachel hopes her experience – which included visits and needs assessments at multiple schools and orphanages, hosting a dinner and social event for hundreds of widows and orphans, sharing the Gospel and two days of medical clinics – inspires others to follow their inner voice to serve others.
In the end, she recognizes she learned and received more than she offered during the experience. It was also an experience that has reinvigorated her lifelong passion for caregiving.
Faith and service are lifelong themes for Rachel.
“I think I always knew I was a caregiver by nature,” she says.
Rachel grew up on a farm in Darke County, about a mile away from the county’s home for the aged. Her mother worked there on the afternoon shift as a nurse’s aide. So, Rachel would bike there almost daily. The residents became her friends since there were few children near her rural home, and she learned how to be present and even entertain.
Those early years as well as her faith have spilled into Rachel’s work with our ministry.
“The heart of what I do in this specialty is to provide encouragement to patients,” Rachel explains. “I spend anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes performing a procedure, so I really get to connect with patients and find out who they are and what their non-physiological needs might be as well.”
Rachel prays each day that she can be an encourager to each person she comes in contact with at work, including patients as well as her team members.
“I don’t take the job of being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ lightly,” Rachel says. “I still make many mistakes, but I hope that my actions reflect the values of our ministry no matter what troubles I may encounter at work. My hope is that Christ will be glorified in all that I do, whether seen or unseen.”
Rachel has been married to her husband, Kyle, for 24 years. The couple share two boys, ages 20 and 17. They are also beekeepers, managing a handful of hives per year on their property!
Not only is National Nurses Month in May, but National Nurses Week is May 6 to May 12.
To all our nurses, we thank you for the excellent care you provide our patients every day! Read more of our nurses’ stories to celebrate.
Also, if you’re a nurse or a health care professional, we invite you to explore and pursue a career with us.