NEWTON, N.C. - Being a nurse is not easy, but it is one of the most rewarding careers out there. During Nurses Week, we want to recognize our outstanding team of hospice and palliative care nurses who go above and beyond and make an impact in big and small ways. Here are a few of the stories we heard from them:
Lisa Bumgarner, RN, spent hours with a sweet patient, curling her hair and getting her dolled up. Every single visit Lisa had made to this lady’s home, it seemed that what she most wanted was to get her hair done. So, Lisa and Traci, CNA, formulated a plan to make it happen. Traci washed and dried her hair, and Lisa arrived with a curling iron. The patient was nervous at first, but afterwards she was so grateful and had a smile from ear to ear. “This truly made her day,” says Lisa. “And her family was so thankful we took the extra time to make her feel better and put such a big smile on her face.”
Brittany Gettys, RN, loves hearing her patients’ stories. Her daughter asked her once what she wanted to be when she grew up, and her truthful answer was “a Disney princess,” but God had other plans. Brittany became the next best thing — a hospice nurse. Every day, she listens attentively to life legacies and love stories, and she considers it a privilege to see a different time through her patient's eyes. “It is an honor to work in Heaven’s waiting room,” she says. “I couldn’t imagine using my education or experience in a better way than to serve all of our wonderful patients and their families.”
Sarah Parks, RN, made keep sake jars for family members to take on their last beach trip together. One of her patients recently had a group of 17 planning a beach vacation, and it was a big deal for them. Knowing it might be her patient’s last trip, she made keepsake jars for the family to collect sand and seashells in. Sarah knows her patients are going to pass, but believes that her job is to help them and their families make the most of whatever time they have left together. “This is likely the most difficult time these families face, and to have something to remind them of a loved one makes my heart happy and fills my cup,” says Sarah. “It’s the reason I do what I do. I am a nurse to help people and maybe brighten their day in a dark time.”
“There are things we do for these families daily without even thinking, and with no expectation of a ‘thank you,’ because it’s in our nature. Whether it be buying a princess crown at the Dollar Tree, a sweet little valentine, delivering a prayer shawl, or even just a little card on their birthday,” adds Sarah. “It’s those little things that make life less lonely for them and my heart swell up to see them.”
Dana Walker, RN, dresses up and decorates on holidays to bring patients joy. Shehasworked for Carolina Caring for many years, but it didn’t take Dana long to realize our patients and families needed a reason to smile, to laugh, and just enjoy life’s fun moments. That was when she had the idea to bring the fun to them. “It all started with reindeer ears at Christmas, bunny ears at Easter, and flocking yards with plastic flamingos during the summer,” says Dana. “To see the smiles and hear the laughter truly is the best medicine.”
Marguerite Watkins, RN, treats her patients like family. She says she is blessed to care for every one of her patients — getting to know them and hearing their stories that make them who they are. She wants to know every one of her patients for the unique individuals they are because they are so much more than the disease that brought them to hospice. “People deserve the same care at the end of their lives as they do during the best years of their lives,” says Marguerite. “I feel privileged to be able to provide that care and support to my patients and their families.”
These are just a few examples of the stories we hear every day from our RNs, and the people they care for. To all our incredible nurses, thank you for sharing your gifts, and providing comfort and peace of mind to those who need them most.
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