Jason Odhner and Laura Ankeny: Nursing as a Work of Mercy and Justice

Jason Odhner and Laura Ankeny: Nursing as a Work of Mercy and Justice 

Season 1. Episode 8 of Messy Jesus Business, hosted by Sister Julia Walsh



In episode eight, Sister Julia speaks with two nurses who are serving during the coronavirus pandemic. Jason Odhner is nursing on a COVID ICU and thinks about the medical system through the lens of the marginalized and oppressed. Laura Ankeny was diagnosed as a presumed case of COVID at the start of the pandemic. She works in a hospital in Minnesota. 

In the interviews you’ll hear their personal stories and how they connect Scripture to the ministry of nursing. Jason outlines why he believes the four major problems with the health care system are commodification, decontextualization, compartmentalization and a lack of imagination. Both nurses describe the reality of COVID19 and how the ordinary (non-medical) person can offer care and support during this pandemic.  


Jason A Odhner is a Registered Nurse, a Radical Quaker, and health-justice activist from Phoenix, Arizona. He is co-founder and president of Phoenix Allies for Community Health: a volunteer-driven nonprofit community whose flagship project is a free clinic serving about a thousand undocumented families in the Phoenix area. He’s also a co-founder of the Phoenix Urban Health Collective, a street-medic collective that has helped train protest-medics in more than 15 cities. Jason is currently working in a COVID ICU. He is joyfully married to the amazing and beautiful Elizabeth Clara, and is the proud father of five month old Baby Levi.

Laura Ankeny grew up on a farm in Northwest Iowa and was formed in the Catholic faith through her childhood. She attended Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and then graduated from the University of Iowa’s college of nursing. Now she works as a nurse in a hospital in Minneapolis, and lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her cats. She is an affiliate of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, a loving Christian, a proud godmother to her niece, and an aunt to her nephews. 

At the date of release of this interview (July 31, 2020) the World Health Organization reports 17,106,007 coronavirus cases and 668,910 deaths in 216 countries or territories worldwide. According to the CDC, there have been 4,405,932 cases in the United States and 150,283 deaths. 

Jason and Julia also discussed No More Deaths. You can learn more about No More Deaths who offers humanitarian relief on the USA / Mexico border at NoMoreDeaths.org

The Scripture passages referred to in episode are Mark 2:1-12 (the healing of the paralytic) and Matthew 25: 35-40 (the works of mercy and the parable of the final judgement).

MESSY JESUS BUSINESS is produced, hosted and edited by Sister Julia Walsh.

Email us at messyjesusbusiness@gmail.com







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