Almost 20 years ago, Jackie Reed started caring for patients at what is now called Heart of Kansas Family Health Care. Now she is reluctantly saying good-bye.
A come-and-go open house is scheduled for 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Heart of Kansas, 1905 19th. Reed’s patients and the public are welcome to stop in and wish her well in the new chapter of her life.
Reed, advanced practice registered nurse, said “it is very, very difficult to leave here; it was not an easy decision to make. Not one day has gone by that I wasn’t happy here. I have loved every day.
“What really triggered this decision is my husband’s recent open-heart surgery. I have been commuting from Wichita and thought I needed to be at home all week instead of being two hours away.”
She has lived in Wichita for more than two years.
Nevertheless, Reed cared for about 30 Heart of Kansas patients a day from Tuesday through Friday each week; she stayed with family while here. November 15 is her last day.
When Reed was hired in 2000, the name of the medical practice was We Care Clinic, which the Dominican Sisters started.
“Initially, we focused on caring for the medically underserved and the un-insured,” Reed recalled. “We started growing by adding more patients and more health-care providers.
“We were fortunate to become a Federally Qualified Health Center, which was a big step in terms of federal funding and incentives. Our mission is to take care of anybody and everybody, whether or not they can pay. That is my passion and it touches my heart.”
In some cases, Reed has cared for up to four generations in a family. Which is another reason leaving is so difficult.
“We have built these relationships and I am sad to say good-bye to my patients and co-workers,” she said. “This is the best staff you could ever ask for. They are passionate about what we do and give their heart and soul to it.
“They will find the resources to help our patients with any problems they have,” Reed continued. “There is nothing we won’t do to help; this is what we do and who we are. I am proud to have been a part of this team and will miss them terribly.”
Brett Middleton, Heart of Kansas chief executive officer, said he and everyone else at the clinic are sad to see Reed leave.
“Jackie has been here from the beginning,” Middleton said. “We will not only miss her as a person. We also will miss her as a professional, compassionate health-care provider. This is a real loss for all of us at Heart of Kansas; it is a real loss for the whole community.”