Employee Spotlights

Generations of care: Nurse orchestrates heartfelt surprise for resident



June with Nurse Katie and guest pianistThe dedication and compassion of our nurses shine through in the amazing care they provide, day and night. On National Nurses Day, we share a heartwarming story celebrating our nurses who go above and beyond, making wishes come true and caring for the whole person. 

Meet Nurse Katie Kiminski, who has served residents for almost 45 years — making her the longest-serving nurse at Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS).

In her teens, Katie was hired as a nursing assistant at Bethany Convent which, in partnership with the Sisters of St. Joseph, became Carondelet Village, a PHS community in St. Paul.

“I love to provide moments of joy, moments of happiness!” Nurse Katie says, reflecting on a meaningful career.

Not only is Katie a fantastic nurse, but she’s also a mom of eight — just like June. June lives in the assisted living community where Katie provides care. “June and I are kindred spirits,” Katie reveals. “We’re both nurses, and we both have eight children.”

Little did they know, a surprising twist of fate would reveal another unexpected connection between them.

Keys to connection

image of June's beloved baby grand pianoNeeding a little extra support, June recently transitioned from independent living to assisted living. One cherished belonging made the move with her: a weighty reminder of her independent spirit — a baby grand piano.

“It was utmost importance that her piano come with her,” Katie recalls.

Years ago, the piano was a surprise gift from June’s husband. June played beautifully and made sure all eight children learned how too.

Lately, arthritis has made playing the piano a challenge, but June’s passion for music remains undimmed. One day during a visit from Katie, June asked: “Do you play?”

Katie replied, “Nope, I never wanted to, but I have a son who has the gift.”

June listened with rapt attention as Katie recounted her son Matthew’s musical journey, a path seemingly marked by destiny from his childhood. After recently graduating from St. John’s University with a degree in choral music education, Matthew is pursuing a master’s degree at St. Thomas University. He is the director of marketing and outreach/associate artistic director for the St. John’s Boys’ Choir. Living and breathing music, he also enjoys performing solo and accompanying choirs, at church services, weddings, funerals and special events.

Hearing about Matthew’s latest musical endeavors sparked a memory in June’s mind. A specific detail — a newspaper article about a particular conductor — surfaced, and she wondered aloud if it might be useful to Matthew’s studies.

Though June couldn’t remember the exact details, Katie promised her to search for the article. So, after visiting June, she turned to Google, but no luck.

Returning a short time later, Katie spotted a handwritten note on June’s kitchen table with the words: Matt Kiminski.

“June, why do you have that name here?” Katie asked.

“I dialed information and asked for St. John’s music department. That’s when I talked to the nicest man, who said he’s going to help me find that article,” June replied.

“June, that’s my son,” Katie said, astonished.

A divine gift rekindles joy

Katie swells with pride watching her son use his musical talent to bring joy to so many. “It’s a gift from God. I just say to people, he can look at the black dots on a page and make them come out of his fingers.”

Determined to make June’s piano sing again (and brighten her day!), Katie and Matthew hatched a plan.

Watch Matthew perform a mini piano concert for June:

“Hearing her piano produce such beautiful music just brought her immense joy. Her toes were tapping!” Katie reflects.

“You have made my day,” June cried. “No, you made my week!”

This National Nurses Day, we celebrate 700-plus registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who provide the highest level of quality care — and create special moments through the power of connection and compassion.

Interested in a PHS nursing career?

Like Katie, you could also help enrich the lives of older adults, working at a PHS community near you. We always have positions open in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, for a variety of careers. Whether you’re starting out, at mid-career level or looking for a post-retirement career, we encourage you to apply to join our team and follow our blog.



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