I have been a hospice nurse for over twenty years. Hospice nursing is a unique opportunity to come alongside patients and their families as they face a terminal illness. It is filled with a variety of challenges and rewards. It is important that the nurse and hospice team fulfill their duties with skill, sensitivity, and professionalism in order to make this journey easier to navigate. Those who have been successful have viewed their work as more of a calling than just another job for a nurse.
I have known a lot of nurses over the many years that have specialized in hospice that thought it would be easy nursing since they figured, “After all, the patients are dying.” Nothing could be further from the truth since our patients are in multi-system failure. It requires a lot of skilled assessments, interventions, and heading up the multi-system interdisciplinary team to manage these patients’ systems to keep them comfortable. It also requires dealing with the families and friends that are caring for these patients.
I remember meeting Susie Vincent when she came in for an interview. It was for an RN case manager position at the hospice I was working for at the time. I wondered if she would be joining us. I thought about what she might be asked in the interview. Hospice nursing is about the story of the patient’s journey, but the nurse also has his or her own story as part of their history. I knew Susie would be asked to tell her story about what had drawn her to working with patients that are facing a life-threatening illness.
Susie was hired and has shown exemplary compassion and skill in caring for clients. She feels it is a call from God and that gives her strength to carry out her responsibilities.
I am honored to endorse Susie Vincent and her book. I found it hard to put down once I started reading it. She has captured the heart of nursing and shares some important practical insights that will help both nurses and patients to experience grace at the bedside as they prepare for their final journey.
—Debbie Summers BSN, RN