This article appears in Today’s Woman: March 2020 issue. Click here to read.
By: Carrie Vittitoe | Photo by Melissa Donald
Kirstie Jordan, RN, BSN
Caregiving has many components. It can be providing hands-on health care by delivering medication; it can be helping someone dress or eat; it can be educating families on the stages of disease or dying. For clinical supervisor Kirstie Jordan of Hosparus Health, her experience as a team hospice nurse is now helping her provide support to other Hosparus staff as they visit patients and educate families.
What caregiving responsibilities have you performed at Hosparus Health?
I was a home-team nurse on the hospice side providing hands-on care to the patients, [such as] medical needs, dressing changes, and helping them bathe and get dressed. I was educating and teaching the families how to care for their loved ones on a weekly basis or more. I was also helping families cope with the fact that their loved one was dying, as well as helping patients come to terms with the end-of-life portion that we all, sooner or later, go through. Now, to help my staff, I have to be knowledgeable in the job and the day-to-day activity of what they need. Sometimes, it’s being a person for them to come to and vent or discuss concerns they have about patients.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a caregiver?
When people find out you’re a hospice nurse, a lot of the responses you get are, “That must be hard” or “It takes a certain person to do your job.” My response is that it is a job that I love; I think being a hospice nurse is a calling. The biggest reward I got as a team nurse was knowing I made the last part of someone’s life better, that I was able to keep them at home if that was their wish and to keep that transition peaceful. In a management role, what I find rewarding is when I’m able to provide help and communication with my staff and give them positive feedback [from families].
“Beginning the end-of-life journey as a family member is hard. You’re not only taking care of your loved one, you’re grieving. You’re coping with everyday changes because some patients decline quicker than others. Find good in every day. Take in every memory that you can and be present in the moment.”