RN Case Manager
Brighton Hospice Indiana
“I truly believe that you should try to live like today might be the last day; dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, and know that you can do anything you set your mind and heart to.
“I believe that God never gives you more than you can handle and if you truly want to be happy, you have to let go of what’s gone, be grateful for what remains, and look forward to what is coming.”
What is something about you that would surprise most people?
At one time I was the only female underwater rescue diver in the state. I also love home decorating and singing really loudly and badly in my car. Although, if you know me, that last one might not surprise most.
What is your favorite book or movie from your childhood?
I loved the movie Savannah Smiles. It was a low-budget, silly movie about two kidnappers who fall in love with the little girl that they kidnapped. It was just so cute and touching; I cry every time.
If you could spend a day with any person, living or deceased, who would it be?
I would love to talk to Mother Teresa, to know what it feels like to have true selflessness. To derive joy only from giving and true altruism feels like the way to true happiness and contentment. Living right now would be my Dad–I miss hanging out with him, but for safety we have only had some driveway and window chit chats. I miss goofing around with him and hugging him.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
My occasional Dr. Pepper–it’s my one vice–and my family. They are the best support system and have always encouraged me and all my crazy endeavors. They are the biggest cheerleaders.
What is your favorite place you’ve ever visited?
I love Hawaii, but Kauai is my favorite. It is beautiful, warm, clean, quiet, and has not been spoiled by commercialism. It’s a great place to dive, hike, and relax.
Where is your hometown?
Indianapolis, Indiana born and raised.
Tell us about your family / friends / pets / hobbies / passion projects:
My family is amazing. I have the greatest kids: a son, 17, who has special needs but is the most loving, hard-working, amazing boy; my daughter, 13, is a super sweet, positive, and helpful little sister and daughter.
We have two kitty cats and are still on a waiting list for a trained companion dog for my son for his epilepsy and autism.
My super fun guy has two amazing kids and we have lots of amazing adventures together.
My parents live close by and are the best Mamaw and Papaw. My sister and her family are also super close and we used to see each other a lot and have so much fun together. I deeply miss that and can’t wait for everyone to be healthy and together.
I have a great group of old friends who are spread around but stay in touch. My fire department family is the best group of adopted uncles and brothers who I get to live with every third day. And I have a great group of new friends, thanks to the caring people who work here at Brighton–we are truly like family.
When I’m not working, I enjoy slalom water skiing, traveling, sports, and fighting for inclusion/special needs housing, so my son will have a bright future.
Team Member Spotlights
Our mission at Brighton Hospice is to provide the best physical, emotional, and spiritual care for our patients and their families.
Achieving this important mission would be impossible without our Brighton team members. We take pride in hiring the most compassionate and skilled people in the industry who deliver clinical expertise and exceed our patients’ expectations.
Our Team Member Spotlight series is our way of highlighting those dedicated individuals who go above and beyond in their commitment to excellence.
Wendy Utzig, RN Case Manager
From left to right: Kini, David, Kawika, Wendy, Alexis, and Gavin.
Wendy was awarded the Flanner Buchanan Caregiver of the Month award for November 2020.
“Wendy is an outstanding asset to the Brighton team. While our Director of Clinical Services has been on leave, Wendy has really stepped up in the trainer role and blossomed during a time of need. She continually goes above and beyond for her patients and was nominated the Indianapolis Area Caregiver of the Month by Flanner Buchanan. We are so fortunate to have her on our team!”
– Wendy’s Brighton Team Leaders
What inspired you to pursue a career in hospice care?
I love my job as a firefighter and paramedic, but always felt like I wanted to do more. I feel drawn to bring any amount of comfort, compassion, and some joy and levity to patients and families who find themselves in need of hospice. It brings some personal fulfillment and comfort to me after dealing with so much tragedy and loss in traumatic situations to be able to assist my patients and families in helping them live out their best lives to the end.
How did you first learn about Brighton Hospice?
I learned about Brighton from friends in the hospice industry, past coworkers, people I admired and enjoyed working with.
How long have you been with Brighton?
I have been with Brighton for 4 months.
What is your proudest moment at Brighton Hospice?
I love being given the opportunity to be able to assist nurses new to hospice with training that goes way beyond charting and skills. It takes a certain strength combined with vulnerability and compassion to be a great hospice nurse. I feel proud every time a new patient or family laughs or smiles when I’m with them. I’m grateful they allow us in and trust us with their most intimate moments.
What are the challenges of working in hospice care that you’ve faced or would like to shed light on?
For me, it is just trying to remember that everyone is unique, everyone is human, and to stay as humble as I possibly can. I don’t want to lose my compassion and I remind myself that these people are counting on us at the most challenging time in their lives. We can’t understand what each patient and family is going through, so I try not to take things personally or become numb to the pain. What has become normal to us is devastating for them, so patience and listening benefits all.
What are your hopes for the hospice care / healthcare industry?
I truly wish everyone could receive the kind of love and care we strive for here at Brighton. It is a very challenging career with a high emotional and physical toll on healthcare providers. Having a place to work with leadership and a team that acknowledges this and continually shows appreciation for the work that the team is doing daily will go a long way.
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?
I have been so blessed to truly “do what I love and love what I do” in my career choices. To have fallen into a wonderful place with a true family in both of my life careers has blessed me beyond measure. I wish that good fortune to everyone.