Barb - Hospice Nurse
(Manawa, WI USA)
Barb - Hospice Nurse and Hero
I have a hero…my niece Barb.
Barb is a hospice nurse in an inpatient hospice facility. I think it truly takes a special person to be able to work in that environment on a daily basis and not lose their compassion and love for people; not become jaded.
One day several months ago, one of my good friends came under Barb’s care. While I was talking with Barb, I was crying (sobbing, actually), feeling sorry for myself because I would be losing a dear friend and would miss him a lot. I remember asking her how could she possibly do this job, how could she keep her sanity?
Her reply to me was, “Aunt Ginny, my job is to make these beautiful souls comfortable in their last days and hours of life, to see that their transition is as pain free as I can possibly make it. This is an honor I don’t take lightly.”
I had never looked at it quite like that. I had always approached hospice care from a friend or family member’s perspective - that of losing a loved one; never from the patient’s perspective.
I realized I was being selfish and was focusing on MY thoughts and feelings (as if I was the one who was suffering terribly) and not my friend’s, who was ultimately the one suffering. I watched her care for not just my friend, but the many other needy patients who were resting just a little easier because she was on duty.
When her 8 hour shift was done, her job wasn't over. She visits those who don't have close family or friends. These patients may only have days or even hours left and Barb takes her patients' care and feelings to heart. I would hope if I were ever in their situation that I would have a kind and caring person like Barb to watch over me!
It’s a humbling day when your niece can teach you a lesson on selfishness by showing you with actions and not words, how to act like a “grown-up”.
Barb is truly an inspiration to me and I am proud to call her family!