What Makes a Hospice Nurse Great?
In a Word: Dedication
Tanya had a bachelor’s degree in business management and a retail job at the mall when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. When Tanya discovered that caring for her mother made a difference—something she couldn’t say about her work in retail—she became an RN. For 15 years, in between periods of caring for her mother, Tanya worked in long term care, moved into management, switched to hospital telemetry and moved to management again.
A year ago, influenced by her mother’s illness and her positive hospice experience in long term care, Tanya applied for a hospice nursing position at VITAS Healthcare. She says touching and teaching are the heart of nursing, and hospice gives her the time to do both.
“There’s a lot to learn in hospice,” Tanya says. “When the patient and family are comfortable, when they don’t fear death, it can be a peaceful and beautiful thing. I spent the last year of my mother’s life learning and teaching that.”
Along with her fulltime job, she attends school to get a master’s degree in nursing administration. She plans to take the nurse practitioner exam, qualifying her for a position in management, as a medical director and other options. “There are so many opportunities,” she says.
“But hospice is what I do best. This is where I belong, and my mother led me to it. My mother knew that. She was so proud of what I was doing. I will never do any other kind of nursing if I can help it.”