Hospice and the Importance of
Getting It Right the First Time
by: Megan Curtis, RN
I frequently get asked how I can handle working in hospice. In all honestly, I can’t see myself doing anything else for the rest of my career. There are several reasons I love working in hospice, and I do have new experiences constantly which strengthen my love for working with this population.
Hospice can be emotionally, mentally and spiritually challenging
I was first exposed to hospice during my second capstone in nursing school. My plan throughout nursing school was to work in labor and delivery. I had a job offer waiting and couldn’t wait to start working to help bring new life into the world. All of this changed when I met my first hospice patients. Meeting them and their families was career and life-changing. I knew I couldn’t do anything else. Hospice can be emotionally, mentally and spiritually challenging. It is easy to start to feel overwhelmed in the face of loss, however, as soon as these feelings come on, it has been inevitable that my cup and soul are soon overfilled.
One of the reasons I love hospice is that I can help alleviate fear of the unknown. This knowledge can help turn something scary into a situation where families can come together and gain peace during this unavoidable step in life.
Because the end is something that comes for everyone eventually, I feel it is an honor and a great responsibility to “get it right” for my patients. We only get one chance and this is a moment that can live on in the memories of those left behind. I feel the gravity of this part of life with all of our patients and I strive to do the best I can to help make this step the best that it can be. A step of unity, love and comfort.
- Death is such a spiritual, pivotal, memorable moment in our lives. It is something many of us think about and wonder how it will be for us personally. When the time is here, I want to help make it what the person wants.
- I love that my patients and their family are in charge. I feel like in so many aspects of the healthcare system we can feel as if we lose control and our voices. In hospice, my patient gets to tell me what they want, and I do my best to fulfill that.
Hospice is not about “The End”:
Hospice frequently is not “the end”. It is a way of living with comfort and dignity. I love how my job, and the job of our team, is to fulfill our patients’ wishes; whether it be to sleep better, have little to no pain, reduce nausea, to provide a relaxing massage, pet therapy, music therapy, or have a beautiful manicure, have their hair done, or just to have more visitors and increased connection, and reduce anxiety by knowing that we are only a phone call away, 24-hours a day. With hospice, we work as a team to provide these benefits to our patients and it is rewarding beyond words to be part of this great work.