Retired registered nurses working in community mental health Make a Difference through volunteering

Music Brings joy and purpose to the lives of so many - It is an important social activity.  On March 29th, the Vickar Centre in Melfort was the    scene for the “Joy of Jam’s” first “world tour”.  The “Joy of Jam” is a band composed of mental health clients who live in the community. They are encouraged to live life to the fullest and fill it with music and song.

The all-day event was planned and supported by Kelsey Trail Health Region and Saskatoon Health Region and could not have happened without the support of registered nurses.  Audrey Lipka, and Joanne Washington recently retired Community Mental Health Nurses for Saskatoon Health Region and Barbara Abele Clinical Coordinator for the Dube Centre (on a vacation day) stepped up as volunteers enabling the clients to “strut their stuff” on stage. The clients all enjoyed the opportunity to showcase their talents and had an extremely fun-filled and exciting day.

Activities consisted of a band workshop with high school students from Kelsey Trail and an afternoon performance for students, the public, mental health clients, families and health care professionals. Folks from Melfort, Tisdale, Nipawin, Hudson Bay, and Prince Albert attended the packed event. A highlight was a joint performance with area’s high school student swing choir. 

The “Joy of Jam” is supported in the community by a devoted interdisciplinary team composed of Marg Petty, Recreational Therapist, Mary Ross, Occupational Therapist, and Lindsay Walker, Senior Occupational Therapist, as well as registered nurses who encourage the clients in all of their endeavors.   They have performed at many events in Saskatoon such as the opening of the Dube Centre for Mental Health and Addictions and the SUN Annual Meeting in April 2011. SUN members generously supported the Joy of Jam at their annual meeting banquet, with their donations making this trip on the “Magic Bus” possible.

Nurses are caring and committed, to holistic patient care. They” Make a Difference” in the health and quality of life of their patients in many ways.  They volunteer their time and skills, to support and encourage their patients to live full and rich lives in their communities, and help them to build life skills and self-esteem.

Barb Abele RN, Base Hospital Representative, Saskatoon