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Nurse of the Week Julie Wedan oversees the management of her brainchild, a respite care wing at Wichita’s Union Rescue Mission for homeless men, and the results have been impressive. Doug Nolte, CEO of Union Rescue Mission, said, “Julie saw a need for a safe, clean environment for men discharged from a care facility to heal. It caused her to research, advocate and solicit funds to get a respite wing opened.” The 18-bed wing provides rehabilitation care for homeless men recovering from illness, accidents, or surgery. Men in the respite wing also receive help with medication, insurance, and establishing primary care physicians.

For Wedan, who has worked full-time caring for the homeless community in Wichita since 1997, the respite wing is her “dream.” In an interview with the Wichita Business Journal, she said, “This is a dream that started with a walk-in medical clinic every Friday.” For many of the men, their time in the wing is the start of a journey toward a stable living situation. After they recover, Union Rescue helps them find “assisted living, sometimes an apartment, whatever is appropriate for the individual,” Wedan says. “We also help them set up house with a bed, furniture and necessities of life.” Mission CEO Nolte noted, “Many of our guests coming to recover end up asking how they can continue in our programs to end their homelessness.”

Wedan is yet another nurse who became drawn to the profession after experience as a patient. Her time in the hospital during a complicated childbirth inspired her to enter nursing school. Three years after her 1994 graduation, she became a nurse at Union Rescue, and has been fully committed to serving the homeless over the past 30 years: “I love my job. I see men helped every day, all day throughout the Mission. We share God’s love. We want the men to know that they are loved and that someone cares about them…”

For more details on Julie Wedan and the Union Rescue Mission for the homeless, see this article in the Wichita Business Journal.


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