Here at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, we are proud to have nurses on our team like Savanna, who share our mission to never give up on our patients, no matter where they are in their life’s journey. Savanna, like all of our staff, understands the challenges our resilient patients face every day—and embraces her own challenge to deliver on our mission caring for our unhoused neighbors.
Savanna joined BHCHP as a nurse in our primary care clinic in 2018, and she thrives on the supportive leaving environment and the daily “little wins” achieved by her patients.
“I love the patients I serve,” she said. “This role allows me to provide quality medical care to an underserved population. I love that I learn something new every day and that I work with a group of coworkers who share the same passion for the work that we do. I also love being able to celebrate all the little wins in my patients’ lives.”
Those victories come in many forms. Sometimes, it’s simply seeing a patient walk into the clinic waiting room after a long absence. Or it could be a patient opening up about their health conditions and asking for help. Most of our patients live with serious, continuous trauma, oftentimes starting in childhood, making it difficult to trust others. Savanna and her fellow BHCHP nurses understand the foundational importance of developing a trusting relationship with their patients, and how rewarding it can be once that relationship is built.
“There are countless examples of people who have come in with their walls up or very resistant to care,” she said. “Over time, they get to know the staff and realize that we’re always here for them, and they start coming back time and time again.”
A key to achieving little wins, according to Savanna, is making sure patients experience and feel BHCHP’s shared principle that everyone is deserving of the highest quality health care, compassion, and sense of community, regardless of their housing status.
“BHCHP strives to treat all people with respect and see everyone as human beings with value,” said Savanna, who is also a part of BHCHP’s Hepatitis C treatment team. “The world sometimes tells us certain people or populations have less value or don’t matter. We do everything we can to show our patients that they do matter, that they are loved and that they deserve to be healthy.”
Witnessing the strength, courage, and gratitude of our patients, and our staff’s strong commitment to them, has made an indelible impact on her.
“We all have value, we’re all the same, we’re all human,” Savanna said. “You get a sense of that pretty quickly around here. The more you work with people from different backgrounds or different living situations, you understand that life’s just too short to not work doing something you love and that feels fulfilling to you. And, for me, this is very fulfilling work.
“I was just talking to a coworker the other day who was saying, ‘I cry when I get a blister on my foot, and this guy’s walking around outside with all of these seeping wounds,’” she continued. “It puts into perspective how incredibly resilient people can be. And it makes you feel so good when you see that people realize when they come here, it’s a safe environment, where they’re treated as a human being and a person with value and gifts to give the world, and a person who deserves love.” When that happens, we all win.