Jayne Kendle is like a proud parent when it comes to showing off her office. “It is kind of like the refrigerator door of my home - filled with the best efforts of those that I have the responsibility and pleasure of nurturing,” says Kendle, associate professor in nursing . Kendle’s office is filled with dioramas, dolls, puzzles, paintings, and other colorful representations her nursing students crafted to depict the impact an illness has on patients they care for. “Their work makes me very proud.”
Not only does Kendle teach, she stays connected to nursing in the field as a pediatric unit staff nurse on an as needed basis, at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. But teaching is at the heart of how she reaches young patients. “When I am at the hospital, I can only care for three to four sick children at a time. Teaching allows me to indirectly care for thousands.”
Kendle, whose mother was a nurse, says she considered nursing as a response to limited opportunities for women in the ’70s.“During the first two years of my nursing education, I often pondered the question, ‘What in the heck am I doing here?’” She stuck it out, and in her junior year was exposed to obstetric nursing, followed by pediatrics. “It was great,” says Kendle. During her senior year she worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “It was then that I knew why I was a nurse.”
Kendle has been teaching at Saint Mary’s since 1997, and she manages the ten year-old Time Out Pediatric Respite Care Program , which is part of the N326 Child Health Nursing course. Nursing students provide 16 hours of respite care to a child of an assigned family. “The student learning that comes from it is tremendous,” says Kendle. “It builds the empathy into nursing.”
One of Kendle’s best experiences is built out of that empathy. In 2006 the Student Nurses Association (SNA) gave a Christmas party for the families enrolled in the Time Out program. Student nurses secured a donation of food from the local Olive Garden restaurant, and then provided care at the party for the children of the families.
“Seeing the parents sharing their stories and getting to know each other was great, but what really touched me was seeing the students provide "seamless" care for these special children. Some of the children required tube feedings, some required suctioning, some required diaper changes...and all required loving care. I have never been so proud of a group of students as I was that night.”