Posted tagged ‘nursing’

Happy Nurses Week

May 9, 2016

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

keep calm hug a nurseBet you didn’t know that we are smack dab in the middle of a whole week recognizing nurses in our country. It begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Very fitting, indeed, to end the week recognizing the founder of modern nursing.

I often use this “stage” to to declare how awesome our nurses are. And this week I’m going to do it again. Because their hearts are made of gold; pure sunshine runs through their veins. Their patience is legendary and their expertise extraordinary. They are selfless, tireless, and fearless.

Hospice nurses are veritable jacks of all trades. They are independent, they think on their feet, and their knowledge is amazingly comprehensive. And on top of that, they are kind, empathetic, and soothing. They are the total package.

Hospice nurses are often likened to angels, an appropriate comparison in my opinion.  They intervene when our patients and families are at their most vulnerable, right when they think they will drown in obligation and pain. Then nurses lift them up, cradle them in their arms, and restore their fragile faith in humanity.

So a heartfelt thank you to nurses everywhere. And to our HPCCR nurses, we want you to know that your dedication has helped make us who we are. You are so often the face of HPCCR.  And because of you, it’s shining bright.

An unexpected gift

February 12, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

The quilt square lovingly made in honor of Shannon's mom, Yvonne.

The quilt square lovingly made in honor of Shannon’s mom, Yvonne.

I do a lot of writing for my job.  And because I do, I typically try to avoid clichés.  It’s not that clichés are bad, it’s just that I feel like I can come up with something on my own to express what I’m trying to say. But today, I’m resorting to a cliché because, well, sometimes a cliché perfectly conveys what it needs to.  So here it is:

Hospice is a gift that keeps on giving.

Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase a million times about a million other things, but when it comes to hospice care, it’s really true.  And I’ve got a story to prove it.

Shannon Armstrong has been a nurse since 2002; she is currently working toward her Masters in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Through the course of earning this degree she has been meeting with a Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region nurse practitioner in our Medical Services department.  Well, at one of these meetings, Shannon looked up at the wall of our boardroom and was shocked to see something that she recognized.

It was a quilt square.  Made by her stepfather’s mother to honor the memory of Shannon’s own mother.

Shannon’s mother died in 1993 when Shannon was only 22 years old.  Her mom, Yvonne, was under the care of HPCCR (then called Hospice at Charlotte).  After Yvonne had passed away peacefully, Shannon’s step grandmother made the quilt square and, along with Yvonne’s name, included Shannon’s name and those of her stepfather and siblings.  Shannon had heard that the quilt square had gone to hospice, but she never saw it again.  Until November.  And that’s when she saw it hanging on the wall at the HPCCR office.

Shannon was shocked to see it but, at the same time, incredibly pleased.  She took a picture of the quilt square to send to her family members and she called her stepfather to let him know what she had seen.  Needless to say, he was just as thrilled.

When I talked to Shannon, I asked about her hospice experience with her mother all those years ago.  She had nothing but praise for the nurses who cared for her mom.  She said that the care team members helped her family know what to expect and were completely supportive throughout her mother’s illness.  When she saw the quilt square on the wall, she said that it made her feel like she was in the right place in her life.

You see why the cliché I picked is so appropriate?  The end-of-life care Shannon’s mom received in 1993 was certainly the original gift.  Seeing that quilt square on the wall of the hospice that cared for her mother over twenty years later?  Gift number two.  Being able to see, remember, and take pictures of the meaningful memento lovingly made in honor of Yvonne?  Gift number three.  Being able to share that picture with other family members who also loved Yvonne?  Another one. Seriously, I could go on and on.

Suffice it to say that hospice is a beautiful gift.  A gift that, without a doubt, keeps on giving.  Which is exactly what the cliché says.  And I honestly couldn’t say it any better.

Becoming her own audience

September 27, 2012

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

Front row (l-r): Kathy Journigan-Douglas, Myra Clark, Donna Shronce
Back row (l to r): Cyndi Jo Brady, Earlynne Bartley, Kelli Honeycutt, Susan Sain

One of the tenets of marketing is the belief that “you are not your own audience”.  It’s a concept that encourages us to keep our minds open, to remember that we can’t make decisions based solely on what we like or on the experiences we’ve had.  Because there is a whole world of diverse people out there.  And they have varying opinions that have been shaped by unique life circumstances.  No two people are exactly alike, right?

Absolutely true.  But sometimes we are our own audience.  And that’s when learning happens.

Case in point: Myra Clark.  Myra  is a registered nurse with Hospice & Palliative Care Lincoln County (HPCLC).  She has cared for countless patients at end of life, offering a blend of nursing expertise and quiet compassion.  She has helped her patients die with dignity, keeping them comfortable and calm until the end.

Myra assumed that her role of hospice RN would prepare her for when her parents needed end of life care.  But when her mother, Betty, started declining from a terminal illness, she knew that she could not wear two hats.  She could not be her mother’s nurse and her daughter.  In other words, she became her own audience.

That’s when Myra turned to her fellow Hospice & Palliative Care Lincoln County staff members.  The phenomenal team of Cindy Jo Brady (RN), Susan Sain (RN), Kelli Honeycutt (NP), and Donna Shronce (NA), jumped into action to care for Betty.  Initially Betty was uncomfortable with anyone but her daughter looking after her, but she received such quality care from the HPCLC team that she soon began looking forward to their visits.  They eased Betty’s pain and reassured her when she had worries.  And they supported Myra too; they let her devote herself 100 percent to the role of daughter.

So Myra found herself on the receiving end of the care that she usually provides.  And in that way, she gained a unique and valuable perspective.

Myra knows that what she does for a living is a gift to others.  She can see it on the faces of her patients, hear it in the voices of the families and loved ones.  And she’s always considered it a privilege to serve her community.  But this time it was personal — it was her own mother who was dying and it was unlike any of her previous experiences. 

As her team members lovingly care for her mom, their actions and words gained new significance.  She watched them and heard them with the eyes and ears of a daughter, rather than a nurse.  From the other side of the stethoscope, she could appreciate the incredible comfort the care team offers to patients and their families.   

After Betty passed away, Myra and her family continued to benefit from hospice care.  Chaplain Earlynne Bartley and Grief Counselor Kathy Douglas, also team members of Myra’s, offered grief support and helped them cope with the loss.  They helped Myra begin the long healing process. 

You would never think that watching your own mother die would make you a better nurse.  But that’s exactly what happened to Myra Clark.  She had a deeply personal experience within her own profession.  She experienced the range of emotions felt by family members losing a loved one.  She gained knowledge; a profound understanding of grief, fear, and loss.  And through her co-workers, Myra experienced the grace and love of hospice in a completely new way.  She experienced something that she herself offers on a daily basis but had never had the opportunity to fully appreciate.   Because she’d never been the audience before.

But now she has.  And she’s a better nurse because of it.

Why I am not a nurse

May 8, 2012

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

I don’t. And that’s probably a good thing!

I have to admit it: I rather like my desk job.  I can sit here and get work done and if I’m feeling particularly cranky (yes, it happens), I can close my door and kind of block out the rest of the world.  If I don’t feel particularly talkative, I can sit in front of my computer and gaze very thoughtfully and seriously at my monitor.  Most people hesitate to disturb someone who looks like they’re concentrating as hard as I am.  Seriously, you should try it.  It works. 

And that, my friends, is why I am not a nurse.  I simply don’t have the chops for it.  You know why?  Because nurses have to be “on” all the time.  They have patients who depend on them, who desperately need them.  If a nurse is having a bad day, she can’t take it out on a patient.  She puts a smile on her face and gives her best.  If a nurse gets frustrated with a patient, he doesn’t show it.  With the patience of Job, he answers questions, offers assistance, and exudes calm.

And hospice nurses?  Wow, I am totally in awe of what they do and the challenges they face.  They care not only for patients, but entire families.  Their job is to enter the lives of individuals in unimaginable physical pain and bring relief.  And at the same time, they support families suffering from crushing emotional and spiritual pain.  And you know what they do?  They step in, take control, and make things better.  They are bedrocks of comfort, oceans of calm, and fortresses of love.   

This week is National Nurses Week, a time when we honor the unquenchable spirit and compassionate nature of nurses everywhere.  It’s the time when we try to show appreciation for the undeniably tough job they have.  (You know, they say that motherhood is the toughest job you’ll ever love.  Well, if that’s true, then nursing comes in a close second.)   It’s a time to thank them for following their hearts and acknowledging their calling.   

Nurses, you make the world a better place.  You represent the pinnacle of morality and kindness.  You embody the fundamental rule we should all live by — to love our neighbors as ourselves.  On behalf of the billions of people in this great big world, I thank you. 

So nurses,  here’s my gift to you.  Any time you feel cranky and need to get some frustration out, you are more than welcome to come by our office and kick the tires on my car.  Seriously.  I totally get it.  And I won’t judge.  I probably won’t even notice.  You know, because of all that serious concentrating I’ll be doing. . . .