Working at Heart 'n Home From A CNA - Heart 'n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC

Working at Heart ‘n Home From A CNA

One of our Hospice CNAs shared what it is like to work with the Heart ‘n Home family …

First, I want you to know what an honor and privilege it is to work with the Heart ‘n Home team. I could not ask for a better work family! I learned a couple of things this week, but the thing that stuck with me the most is I have found my purpose and know that I am here to support and surround our patients families with love as their loved Hospice-CNAone leaves this world.

Additionally I learned how the power of presence is important to not only the family, but the patients who we get to serve every day. I have formed meaningful relationships with several of our patients and while they may not be aware, they have impacted the way I care for all of my patients. Each patient makes me better. One of these meaningful relationships was with a patient who recently passed. He was rough around the edges, but he grew to trust me and I was there to not only bathe him, but to be a listener. On one of my last visits he gave me a hug which was out of the norm as we always said goodbye with a good hand shake. Without even realizing it, he made quite an impact on me. And the funny thing is, all I really did was listen to him and his spouse.

I absolutely love what I do and even though I need to have a good cry when I lose these patients, I would not want to work any place else. So, with that all being said, I want to thank each and every one of you, as you have all made an impact on me as well!

 

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Trust and Boundaries with a Team

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“I am big and strong and hardly ever wrong.”

“I am borderline beautiful.” 

“I trust you infinitely more than my Marine comrades.”

These are just a couple quotes from patients that have found an everlasting place in my heart for one reason or another. I am still what you can call a “baby Nurse.” August was one year since my dream came true and I became an RN. I worked med-surg and always felt like something was missing, like I was not fulfilling my true potential as a Nurse. Then I became a Hospice Nurse, which has been life changing to say the least. At first it was a tough transition for me, I was not used to having an entire TEAM that stood beside me to help give a patient the BEST care ever. I was used to having to double and triple check that things were done because if they were not … the responsibility was the nurse’s to carry.

I write this with tears in my eyes because the hospice team is seriously the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I have called Hospice CNAs to ask questions that “any” good Nurse should already know and not once did they belittle me or treat me like the dummy I often felt like while transitioning into this new field. I have felt an abundance of joy when I can tell my team that I need them and know hands down they have my back as well as the rest of the team.

From the Office Manager correcting my mistakes to the Clinical Director taking time out of her already busy day to help me – they have all have taught me so much about trust. On my worst day here when I went home in tears thinking I had failed at my job, they were there calling me.  Then I went to bed KNOWING that I would never again work anywhere besides where I am.

Boundaries and trust – that is what Heart ‘n Home has taught me. By nature I am the person that upon meeting you, will do absolutely anything in the world to see your smile. My husband told me that I could make best friends with the homeless guy on the corner in less than five seconds. I have a heart that is 20 sizes too big, which I have learned can be both a blessing and a curse. This leads to trust. Trust in the team. There are things I don’t have the answer to, but thankfully I have a team that does.

To my team, I want you ALL to know that even if it didn’t come easy at first, I trust you and that you are all so very precious.  I cannot thank you enough for everything you do every single day. This job is such a precious gift. Knowing you guys is the greatest blessing.

Hospice-Nurse-in-IdahoNicole M., RN
Fruitland Case Manager

 

Feeling Thankful This Thanksgiving

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This time of year inevitably brings up the topic of gratitude and thankfulness.  Come November, we begin to hear buzz words affirming life. Perhaps through actions or being by emotional support or encouragement to others. Most likely, you will also frequently see what folks are thankful for on their social media feeds.  Whether you think in terms of blessings or privileges, I think we can all agree gratitude is healthy and should be the focus more often.

In hospice, we are reminded daily to count our blessings.  We see disease break down a tired body, cancer take a mother or father entirely too soon from a child, or a weeping spouse of 50 years wanting just one more moment with their loved one.  For those of us who work in hospice, our hearts and minds are reminded to live in the moment and be grateful for the presence of people. May it be your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or perhaps a complete stranger in line at the grocery store.  For some, this will be their last Thanksgiving together and others, their first without a loved one.

Some level of stress or tension is often a part of family get-togethers. Wherever you find yourself on Thanksgiving, try to put aside your differences and focus on the aspects of your family and friends for which you are grateful.  Savor the joyful moments. Take in the smell of the oven-roasted Turkey; take the time to really taste that sweet pumpkin pie smothered in whip cream; listen to the giggles of tiny bodies around you; and if you are lucky enough to have multiple generations present – ask them about the “good ole days” or traditions they enjoyed growing up.

This Thanksgiving season, we are also grateful for our children and grandchildren.  So much that we had a fall/harvest drawing contest for Heart ‘n Home children and grandchildren. We hope you enjoy seeing the creativity and joy from the children who participated.

We would like to give Daisy (daughter of Kevin, Audio and Visual Designer) a warm congratulations. Her drawing was voted as the winner and  has the privilege of gracing the cover of our 2016 Thanksgiving card.

 

Daisy “2016 WINNER!”

 

brecken

Brecken

 

darius

Darius

 

jenna

Jenna

 

josiah

Josiah

 

marley

Marley

 

nyah

Nyah

 

toryn

Toryn

 

Meet the Artists!

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Daisy, Toryn, Josiah

 

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Brecken

 

Thanksgiving-2016

Darius

 

Jenna

Jenna

 

Marley

Marley

 

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Nyah

Learning to be ‘Their’ Hospice Nurse

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In nursing, there are some patients that capture a piece of your heart.  When you are a Hospice Nurse you get to know most of your patients in a different way.  You really get to know them as a person.  One of my first hospice patients captured a piece of my heart.  I will call him “Bud.”  The first day I met him he was in the back of an ambulance, he was just discharged from about a month long stay in the hospital and I told him we would take it day by day.  He grinned when I told him he was the boss and this was his journey and I would be here to make sure he had the end-of-life journey he wanted.  Each visit he got a little stronger, still very frail, but soon we were planning a hunting trip.

Our Medical Director helped fill out the special hunting license.  Bud and I put together an oxygen system in his hunting truck and his grandson was going to be the driver.  They had a great time.  He talked about the quail they got, showing me feathers and pictures.  Oh how he loved to share recipes for the BBQ.  We had a routine.  He called me Friday around 11 in the morning to go over his medications and supplies so I could bring him everything he needed Monday afternoon.  During our visits he shared lots of stories, always making me laugh.  His wife was always telling me he was “elaborating” on his stories. He used to tease me about my yellow truck I drove. We always sat at the kitchen counter in our “assigned seats.”  Every time I would leave I would ask him, “Who do you call if you need help?” He would reply, “Not 911, that long number on the fridge.”  I would just smile.  Sometimes he would answer before I would ask.

He was my patient for a little over a year when his wife told me he was going to be 70.  His family and friends were going to throw him a party.  There are times nurses just know and sometimes we have no idea, but my gut told me Bud would be earning his angel wings soon.  His birthday party was on Saturday. His wife called the office Monday morning asking if I could come earlier.  I went over.  He had a fun birthday, but slept most of Sunday and was still sleeping on Monday.  Bud didn’t look good.  We tried a few things to see if he would rally, but after three days with no improvement, I knew it was his time.  I remember as I was walking out of his bedroom I had a little “panic.” For the first time I wanted to call 911 and rush Bud to the hospital.  I have never felt that way. I had to take a deep breath and be the Hospice Nurse he and his wife needed me to be.  I clearly knew his wishes and I needed to make sure his end-of-life journey was his way, not mine.

Bud’s wife and I sat at the kitchen counter with his chair empty and talked about what she could expect and we adjusted his Hospice Plan of Care to make sure he was comfortable.  I hugged her and told her I would be out the next day.  I cried on my way home.  On my way to see Bud the next day, I stopped at his favorite restaurant and got him a chocolate shake.  When I arrived he could barely talk, but he enjoyed a few sips of his shake.  His wife and I got him all comfortable in bed.  When I started to leave his room, he called out my name.  I turned around and he gave me the thumbs up and said, “You done good kid.”  It was Friday and I knew I would not see him on Monday.  Saturday morning I was headed out to do some grocery shopping and on my windshield of my yellow truck was a white feather.  I immediately thought, Bud earned his angel wings, tears came down my face.   A few minutes later, I received a text that Bud had passed away.  Bud will always be a special angel to me.  Bud will always remind me to be the Hospice Nurse my patients and their families need.

Hospice-Nurse-in-OregonDiana Hergenrader, RN
La Pine Executive Director

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