Honoring the Hospice Nurse

November is Hospice and Palliative Care month in the U.S.  It is a month to recognize those caring for dying patients and their families.  I have such admiration for hospice nurses.  I have heard many times it takes a special kind of nurse to work with babies, but I think the same can be said of a hospice nurse.

In this month’s nurse feature, I interviewed Patty, a native New Yorker.  She, like many New Yorkers (including my family), migrated to Florida many years ago.  I worked with Patty when I was a new grad.  I looked up to her and her skill-she was smart, organized, and confident-all the qualities I admired and wanted to emulate as a nurse.

Where are you from?

I am from Colonie, NY. It is a suburb of Albany, NY.

In what area of nursing do you work?

Presently I am a Hospice Nurse (for 6 years)

What inspired you to become a nurse?

My great Aunt was an RN back in the 50’s and my mother would take me to visit her at the hospital. She was a very professional RN, in Charge of a whole floor. Her appearance was impeccable.  She had a starched white cap on her neatly pinned up hair, a starched white uniform with 3/4 sleeves and the hem below her knees, white hose and polished white clinic shoes with a small heel.  She always stood very straight with her shoulders back and when she walked, she walked with a purpose in mind.  Back then there were “wards.”  These were multi-bed large rooms with curtains dividing the beds for privacy. I remember watching her walk into the room.  All the patients were so glad to see her. She would attend to each one with kindness and skill and when she was finished, the patients were so grateful and felt so much better. I knew at a very young age that was what I wanted to do, care for people and become an Registered Nurse like her.

What advice would you give to a new nurse?

Always remember that you are taking care of someone’s loved one and you must do your very best always. Also, realize that your patients and their family are scared, hurting and worried. Don’t take unpleasant actions or words from them personally.

What advice would you give to a tired (burned out) nurse?

Change to another area of nursing. Sometimes a fresh new transfer can do wonders. Nursing is a wonderful profession and you can bring knowledge and expertise to another area that needs you. Seriously, try this you may like your new area!

What do you do in your spare time?

I make belly bands, diapers, toys, chew toys and blankets for animal rescues. I belong to .  We are all over the world but very active in the USA.  Each adoptive pet gets a homemade blanket before they get adopted so when they adopt their human, the transition to their new home is smoother and less stressful.  I also make name cards for newborn cribs when I’m not too busy with WIL.

Thanks for sharing, Patty!!  You are a shining example of a nurse ❤  For those of you contemplating hospice nursing, check out my interview with Patty for Mighty nurse……

Coffee Talk with a Mighty Nurse: Hospice Nursing

Dinner With a Nurse

img_0348My boyfriend is an engineer which means he knows about as much about the medical profession as I do convolutional codes.  Over dinner the conversation often starts with, “how was your day?”  Most of you can probably relate here.  The non-medical partner talks about the meeting that never ended or the inundation with emails.  When the conversation is then turned to the nurse, an unfiltered play by play is given of the previous shift or memory.  It is a raw recollection that is sometimes neither welcomed nor stomached entirely.  Sometimes it borders on too much information, but it is all in a day’s work for a nurse…..

Dinner With a Nurse

4 Reasons Why Every Nurse Should Vote


The election is exactly 3 weeks away and while it feels like one of the most absurd campaigns in our country’s history, it is our civic duty to vote. Every single vote matters. I am not writing this to try to sway those of you who have already decided on a candidate. While I certainly have my opinions, I have learned that this a pointless battle that can divide families, friends, and coworkers. This post is for those of you who do not exercise your right to be heard or believe it is futile.  In my latest for Mighty Nurse, I give a few reasons why every nurse should vote.  Thanks for reading ❤

4 Reasons Why Every Nurse Should Vote

4Ways to Be a More Mindful Nurse

FullSizeRender-47In this week’s post for Mighty Nurse, I offer a few simple steps to practicing mindfulness.  Mindfulness teaches us to be more conscious of our thoughts, feelings, environment, and sensations.  We have all heard the phrase, you are your own worst enemy.  Learning to tame the monkey mind by simple observations and detachment can lead to a happier, less stressed you.  All it takes is practice ❤

4 Ways to Be a More Mindful Nurse 

6 Ingredients for a Succesful Shift


“It is a simple fact that working with your tribe of people can sometimes make all the difference in the world. You know that no matter what, you have one another’s backs unconditionally. No matter how difficult the day, you have a second pair of eyes, ears, and another trustworthy opinion. Somewhere, in the calmer moments, you can have a laugh.”

A shout out to the amazing nurses, nursing assistants, and docs in the NICU at Queen Silvia’s Hospital for Children in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Here is my latest for Mighty Nurse…

6 Ingredients for a Succesful Shift

August Nurse Feature: The Journey of a Lifetime


This month’s feature is more a dedication or tribute to one of the best nurses I have ever worked with.  I think nurses can do a better job of lifting each other up and supporting one another, so here goes…..

Anders, a Swedish nurse I have had the pleasure to work with for the past two years, is the chupacabra of nurses-he is a rare gem of a nurse.  He has every quality a nurse should strive for.  He is experienced, knowledgeable, pedagogic, calm, kind, and always helpful.  He anticipates others’ needs sometimes before they anticipate them themselves.

He, his wife, and five children recently made the big move from Sweden to the U.S. where they will settle in Colorado and start a new life together.  Before he left, we had a few moments at the end of one of our last shifts together where I was able to pick his brain over fika, Sweden’s sacred coffee break.

Where are you from?


In what area of nursing do you work?

I  specialized in pediatric nursing  and am currently working in a highly specialized Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

What inspired you to be a nurse?

I  worked in ambulance care as a nursing assistant for a total of 17 years.  I realized that with more knowledge I could do more for the patients and that always inspired me.  I enrolled in nursing school and got my license to work as a nurse 2003.  When I got my license, I quit working in ambulance care and took a job in a pediatric unit in a hospital.

What advice would you give to a new nurse?

 First of all “hang in there.”  It will get better when you have more experience and you know more what to do.  Second, and this goes for all nurses, don`t be afraid to ask someone else for advice if you are uncertain what to do (or think that you know enough not to).  In sweden we have a mentality that alows us to ask for a second opinion-either we want to ask for advice on some matter or we would like to confirm that we are doing the right thing, before we start doing it.
When I was new to the nursing profession, I was surprised that my fellow nurses that worked for many years asked me for advice or wanted me to check their med calculations. It was not until later that I realized that this was a good way of learning things. I had their trust to help them at the same time that they trained/educated me.
A few times when I practiced I would meet some “grumpy” nurse that would tell me that I should already know the answer.  In those cases I turned to another nurse and got an answer that made me certain I was doing the best for the patient (which is our mission).
What advice would you give to a tired nurse?
Don`t ever forget that it is not the core nursing (probably the reason why you became a nurse) that burned you out. It is most certainly external circumstances (lack of staff, high work load, etc.) that got you there. I have talked to some colleagues that were really tired of their work, but we all agreed that we love our profession, just not how we sometimes are supposed to perform it.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love working with my hands and with my head. When I was in high school, I took a vocational course in carpenty. I have never worked professional as one, but it has helped my during my life. I have a large family and during these years we have owned two houses that I renovated from top to bottom during my spare time. It is satisfying to create something with my hands that would last and that  I had to use my head figuring out how to do it and calculating what I would need.
Thanks for sharing, Anders!!  Wishing you and your family all the best in your new home!  To read more about his big move to the U.S. and get some tips if you are contemplating international travel, check out my interview with him for Mighty Nurse.  Be kind to one another ❤
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