For more than 20 years, Suzanne Gillette worked with homeless women to establish health and wellbeing in their lives. "As a volunteer at the Compass Center's women's shelter, I learned about the challenges women living on the streets encounter when it comes to staying healthy," says Gillette. "It inspired me to pursue a career in nursing and to use those skills to help these women."
After six years of dedicated service, Gillette recently retired from her position as parish nurse at Mary's Place, a safe and welcoming community center for homeless women and children. "The most important part of providing treatment to the women was listening," she says. "Getting to know their life experiences and earning their trust is part of the care we offer."
Gillette often saw up to 14 patients a day and conducted weekly health and nutrition classes. Despite the long hours and sometimes excruciatingly sad situations, Gillette reflects fondly on her career. "Even though I was the one charged with counseling and teaching, I never stopped learning from the women I met."