One of the more common themes that I’ve found within the time I’ve been writing these blogs is that a lot of nurses never actually expected to become a home health/hospice nurse or to even be a nurse at all. Sure, you have those people who were born to be in the healthcare field, but then you also have a lot of folks who have had previous jobs in unrelated fields, and then, as a result of various events, come to find their true passion.
CPA Hospice Nurse Amy Cooper falls into the latter. Having graduated with a degree in English and then working as a managing editor for a publishing company for many years, Amy hadn’t found her passion for healthcare until semi-recently.
As a change of pace, Amy returned to school to complete a degree in nursing. After graduating, she worked in a Cardiac Neuro unit in a hospital. Three years ago, she changed up the pace and took a hospice nursing position at Celtic. Now a self-proclaimed “Hospice nerd,” Amy fell in love with hospice nursing when she first started here.
“Before I started at Celtic, I hadn’t really thought about doing hospice,” Amy said “I knew I wanted to do something to help the community.”
Not just any community, however. The community in which Amy serves holds a place very close to her heart as she has lived there for the past 16 years.
Most of the folks Amy cares for can be found in Perry County, a largely rural area with large stretches of driving time. On average, Amy said she drives about 500 miles a week. She doesn’t mind making these treks, though, because she understands and has seen how hard it is to get quality care to these rural areas. Who Amy now refers to as her “Perry County Peeps,” these patients have provided her with her fondest memories on the job.
“People out are here are used to not having good care because of how far out they live,” Amy said. “A lot of those people are special. They are all unique and amazing if you take the time to meet them.”
In addition to actually visiting the home, Amy handles a lot of admissions. Admissions require you to put together all of the pieces. Why is this person on hospice? What has their history been? Amy says it’s all about figuring out where the patient is now and what the patient needs for the future.
“Being a hospice admission nurse, you have the opportunity to say, ‘here’s the best way to help you,’” Amy said. “You are really able to show the positives of hospice. A lot times, there’s a fear of pain and death, but you can alleviate that fear by assuring that will be no pain, no trouble breathing, or no burden on the family.”
It’s not easy entering a foreign home, getting to know a complete stranger at the end of their life, and making them feel completely comfortable. Not to mention leaving all of your own baggage at the door and acting completely on behalf of the patient. But that’s where Amy excels.
“In some way, every single person is remarkable,” Amy said. “It’s all about going into the home, finding what is remarkable and respecting that. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy, but for every patient and family, we only have one shot to get it right.”
Amy stressed that her team in CPA is what pushes her to do so well at her job. When you work with people you admire and respect, it becomes a lot easier to up your own game.
While some of our clinicians may not have started their careers in nursing or for Celtic, we sure are glad they are all here now. Amy is a great example of taking a desire to help a community for which she has a deep passion for and showing them what unfaltering responsiveness is all about. Thanks for your constant, excellent care.
Blog post by Troy Abbott – Assistant to Director of Strategic Projects for the CEO