What They Don’t Tell You About Hospice Work…

Submitted by Elise Stigum, Alive RN 

I am a proud member of the Sycamore Team. As a nurse, we anticipate the needs of others. We run trips to the supply room, make phone calls and referrals, troubleshoot complexities, and bear the weight of family needs. We do this day in and day out knowing that every day is different. There is a piece of this job that is not in the job description. A vital piece that brings us to the core of why we do what we do. 

Each time I walk into the room, they greet me with their looks. The chapter is easily read, their eyes a beacon of light, searching and yearning for a piece of tangible evidence that will bring comfort in some way. To be told that their loved one is comfortable, that the roar of end of life is normal, and that this is a time to gather and love at the bedside. To take joy in the fact that they have time to hold the warm hand for just a while longer. 

They seek to know that the medications are working, or what adjustments can be made to make things right. They share of things their loved one did that made them unique in life, how they sacrificed everything so that the family would thrive. They tell of war-torn paths they took on beaches far away, not knowing if they would make it home. What a privilege to hear the footsteps of the silent one.  

The hot seat is palpable when I go upstairs for paper supplies. Never knowing what is coming from the other end of the line, yet, they answer each call with respect, patience, love, and real help. God Bless them, the captains of our ship. 

They don’t tell you that the families greet you like a friend. They include you as a cherished jewel in this pocket of time. They don’t tell you that the team is present during every visit, not lip service but effectual support so you are never alone. They don’t tell you that the call center is a conduit of love, palliation, support, and expertise. They don’t tell you that your heart will expand with each visit. That the work you do will change day to day, and that you will be given the tools to fill the need. What they don’t tell you is you will see grace come where you never knew that grace would lie. It is a spiritual thing; it is what they don’t tell you that makes the difference. 



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