Hospice Nursing: A Work of Heart

“For the sick, it’s important to have the best.”—Florence Nightingale

May is National Nurses Month, which seems insufficient time to celebrate the skill, compassion, and hard work of nurses all over the world. Although all nurses deserve to be recognized, it takes a special heart to become a hospice nurse and we at Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions are very grateful for our amazing nurses. They take on myriad roles, from caring for patients and families in their own homes or in our Hospice Homes, to providing answers, education, and leadership.

Hospice nurses are special because they are invited into a person’s life at one of their most vulnerable points. No matter the age, a terminal diagnosis typically comes as unexpected. At CWHT, we too often receive referrals for patients that went to the hospital for something that was thought to be benign and ended up being terminal, according to Michael Steele RN, CWHT Community Nurse Manager.  “Patients and loved ones are attempting to process the news they have been delivered, and the CWHT nurses are there to help direct the medical care and navigate the family through the approaching unknown. The unknown of how this recently diagnosed disease will affect their physical health and possibly mental well-being,” he says. “It’s a vulnerable time for the family, where the nurse isn’t tasked with ‘fixing’ or ‘helping heal’ the patient but rather managing the patient’s symptoms and helping heal the hearts of those who are left behind.”

“Every single nurse who works here at Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions has made the choice to work here,” Steele points out. “This is not a job, but rather a calling. They all have received extensive and ongoing training in end-of-life care and exemplify what it means to be a nurse at the end of life. Our nurses work hard to build personal relationships, founded in trust, with their patients and their patient’s families so when the nurse is needed, the family knows they are receiving the best care possible.”

The nurses at Central Wyoming Hospice care not only for the patient, but for the whole family, says Steele. “We view the family as important as the patient. We make sure their needs are being met, encouraging them to care for themselves, so they can care for their loved ones.”

We are honored that our CWHT nurses share so much of themselves. It truly is a work of heart.