20 Years of Lifeline: Warriors in Scrubs

What happens when you cross a medical professional, a mom, a counselor, and a superhero? You get a Lifeline Nurse. These ladies serve on the frontlines everyday, walking alongside our clients as they make life-changing decisions. They run the pregnancy tests and ultrasounds that deliver the news of life, they check in every week with expectant and new parents to make sure they have all the answers and supplies they need, and they do it all with strength and compassion. Lifeline would not be able to provide families with the care they need without these warriors in scrubs.

Meet Patty Jorden, RN (left) and Kris Polovich, BSN (right). Neither knew their work would lead them to a place like Lifeline, but nothing is a surprise to the God who orchestrates it all. Kris spent most of her years as a nurse in surgery, first in Hannibal and then at Mizzou’s University Hospital in the level one trauma center. “I worked the weekend night shifts, where I saw everything,” she said. “I took five years off and played mom and stayed home, which was hard. I was ready to go back to work, and fell into this position by chance.” Lifeline needed a temporary nurse to fill in while Nicole, the nurse at the time, was on maternity leave, and it morphed into a permanent job as both nurses decided to work part-time. And Kris is still here, now our fearless clinic manager. She’s a combination of boldness, compassion, and wisdom that is so needed in a mission like Lifeline’s.

Patty was far from the nursing field at first; originally earning her degree in English, she took an interest test at a career center that pointed her to nursing, and she returned to school to get her associates in nursing. She then worked in oncology and outpatient surgery as well as on the general floor that handles everything, still the 4th floor at Northeast Regional Medical Center today. She joined the Lifeline team two years ago, and her heart for encouraging women has been a great asset to the clinic. “I like working with young girls and helping them; I just see them as very needy in our society,” she explains. “Society tells them they have to be prettier, they have to be this or that in order to be loved. I don’t know, I just have a heart for them. I had mentored some young ladies and I enjoyed being with them and trying to build into their lives.”

So what are the key components required of a Lifeline Nurse? Kris would tell you one is “to be a good listener. Most of these girls just want someone they can talk to. They can vent all their frustrations, fears or whatever, just someone that can listen, because they don’t get a lot of that at home. It also involves just playing kind of the role of mom. I’m to that age where I could be their mothers, I have kids their age.”

“I like to do ultrasounds,” says Patty “but I also really like getting to know girls over a period of time and developing a close relationship with trust. That’s sometimes the hardest thing too: listening to heartbreaking things and not knowing how to help them. It’s sort of the best and the worst.”

Kris and Patty said it right: sometimes our clients just need a maternal ear to listen. Because of their investment in the lives of these young families, the nurses have seen the work of God transpire first-hand. They’ve witnessed spiritual growth, the development and birth of new life, moms and dads growing stronger in their relationships as they embark on the parenting journey. “I’ve seen God help girls in a material way but also help them to be excited about being mothers and help them through that process,” says Patty. “It’s exciting to be part of that.” Likewise, Kris remarks on the growth she’s seen God do in Lifeline itself over the years. “When I first came on we had a little bitty building, now we have this beautiful place with plenty of room, and it seems like generous donations come in from the community. Whenever you have an issue or need, it’s always fulfilled, it’s always taken care of.”

That’s the character of our Father, always giving in ways we could never imagine or deserve. He takes simple people like you and me and adorns us with power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). He might not grant you a superhero cape, but He may just fit you with some scrubs when you’re not looking.

By Kathryn Farmer

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