The Monday Book: BETTER FOR BEING WITH YOU: A PHILOSOPHY OF CARE by Sister Bernie Kenny and Tauna Gulley, FNP
Tauna Gulley is the author of this review. BETTER FOR BEING WITH YOU is about one of SWVA’s most beloved heroes. Gulley is also a chapter author in the forthcoming book HIGH HOPES, McFarland Press (Appalachian prescribers and therapists responding to the opioid crisis) and a longstanding friend of Wendy’s.
Better for Being with You focuses on the life and work of Sister Bernie Kenny of the Medical Missionaries of Mary. The Medical Missionaries of Mary are a group of women religious who serve where the needs are the greatest. After being trained in Ireland as a nurse mid-wife, Sister Bernie traveled to Tanzania, Ethiopia and Oakland, California where she cared for diverse groups of people. Then, in 1978 Sister Bernie was called to the Appalachian area and settled in the small mining town of Clinchco, Virginia. Bernie’s specialty was women and children; she had delivered more than 2,000 babies while in Africa so immediately after arriving in Clinchco, Bernie recognized there was a need for these specialty services. In addition, there was no hospital in the county. When specialty care was needed, individuals had to travel for miles, sometimes up to 2 hours, to see a doctor.
After much thought and prayer, Bernie decided it would be best to take the care to the people who needed it so she traveled around the hollers and hills in a Volkswagon Beetle visiting people in their homes, taking their blood pressure, counting their heart rate and measuring their temperature or just listening to their stories. This was the beginning of the Health Wagon, a mobile health unit that is still operating today.
This book also provides the reader with suggestions about ways to maintain a busy schedule while taking the time to enjoy life. Daily meditation and prayer are suggested. Questions are placed at the end of each chapter to encourage the reader to develop their own philosophy related to self-care and the care of others. Students in the service related disciplines will find this book helpful as care for individuals in rural areas is unique and holistic care of the individual is imperative. Important concepts for providers to consider include respect, readiness to teach and learn and being resourceful. There are times when items or services are not available in rural areas but quality care must be delivered. This book helps us understand how we can maintain quality without compromising effective care.