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Why I Became A Hospice Nurse

by Mary Ann Didas, RN

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As a teenager, I watched my grandmother die in a manner I will never forget. My last memory of the woman I loved so dearly was her naked from the waist up, eyes wide open… terrified… fighting for every breath. The hospital staff spoke to her in a tone that could only be interpreted as rushed and irritated. They pushed our family out of her room and, just a few minutes later, casually and with little empathy informed us that she had died. My beautiful grandmother died terrified – suffocating, with no one to help calm her, hold her hand or say “I love you... you’re not alone.”

And so I entered the field of nursing. After working on med/surgical floors of hospitals for several years, I could no longer be at peace with not providing what my patients needed. Just as important as their medication and treatments, they needed someone to sit with them for a few minutes, make eye contact, listen to their fears and concerns, swab their mouths when they were dry and crust-filled, and be patient with them. I was constantly treading water, trying to stay afloat – giving the bulk of my time to the most critical of my patients, with little to no time for others. Read more>>

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