Mary Vincent’s 8-year-old son speaks highly of the new therapy gym and the staff. Some of his first steps came when walking to the therapist.
Isaac Vincent started receiving physical therapy from two small SSM Health Cardinal Glennon offices when he was 2 months old. Later, he began receiving occupational therapy, then speech therapy. He still works with the same speech therapist, Barb Smith, at the new SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital pediatric health care specialty center in south St. Louis County.
“Doctors said that he would not thrive, that he wouldn’t walk, they didn’t know if he’d be able to sit up or talk. But he’s a thriving 8-year-old boy. That facility has done wonders for him,” Mary said.
He has some delays, but he started walking when he was three-and-a-half and started talking about two years ago.
Katie Jercinovic is a nurse who helps run the place. She’s reminded of her purpose every time she comes to work.
She catches a glimpse of the hospital’s mission statement, “Through our exceptional health care services, we reveal the healing presence of God,” which is written on the wall of the lobby of the center where Katie is a charge nurse.
The Catholic-based mission provides the employees with a foundation, Katie said. “That’s the very first thing you see. That’s why we’re here. It’s good for the patients to see it, and it’s good for us to see it."
Katie started working as a nurse at Cardinal Glennon just after finishing nursing school at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
“My mom was a nurse. I always wanted to help people, and I knew I loved kids,” she said.
Knowing that Cardinal Glennon is based on a Catholic mission hit home, said Katie, who attended Assumption Parish School and Notre Dame High School, both in south St. Louis County, and now is a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Parish in Arnold. “I could tell that camaraderie was happening at Cardinal Glennon. I could tell I could relate to the employees right away,” she said.
Working at the new pediatric health care specialty center in South County, a 15,000-square-foot facility, just a short distance from the parish where Katie grew up, is ideal for her. Assumption School students took part in a ground-breaking for the building last year.
“It’s been nice forming a relationship with more patients and families here,” Katie said. “Being in patient care is something that I’ll never really get away from. But I like to be in charge and do a little bit of the business end of the nursing job but also do the part I wanted to do, which is work with kids and help people.”
The specialty services center offers increased access to communities in south St. Louis County, Jefferson County and beyond from SSM Health and SLUCare providers. The center offers X-ray, MRI and ultrasound; endocrinology, gastroenterology; nephrology; neurology; ophthalmology; optometry; orthopedics; ear, nose and throat; therapy services; psychology; rheumatology; and sports medicine.
Working at a Catholic-based setting is ideal, Katie said. Patients “can show their religion and feel that someone is going to understand, especially these chronically ill children we see. Their parents need that. They need to know that we support them in everything, everything that they believe in, and that we’re listening to them,” she said.
Scheduling surgeries or a diagnosis sometimes leads to prayer, conversation about God or information about the availability of pastoral care. “Child life and pastoral care can go hand-in-hand a lot,” Katie said. “Those are both available to them. If we send them away from here and they are going to the hospital for a surgery we scheduled, they feel comfortable knowing there are people there to support them.”
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Pediatrics Specialty Services in south St. Louis County is located off Tesson Ferry Road at 13000 Butler Crest Drive. It’s one way that Cardinal Glennon is reaching out beyond its hospital setting.
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital is the only free-standing, not-for-profit Catholic pediatric hospital in the United States. Located in St. Louis, it is designated as a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in both Missouri and Illinois. The 195-bed hospital is a member of SSM Health, one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the country. Pediatricians practicing at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Hospital are faculty of SLUCare Physician Group, the clinical arm of Saint Louis University School of Medicine.