For Britt Abernathy, being with a patient during their end-of-life journey is one of the most honorable things one can experience as a nurse.
“It’s the sense of dignity that you give to someone during this very difficult and vulnerable time in their lives,” said Abernathy, director of learning and engagement at AMOREM. “It is so fulfilling to be present in those precious moments with patients and their families.”
For nurses considering a switch to hospice and palliative care, AMOREM offers a comprehensive three-tiered orientation program that develops the skills they will need to provide end-of-life care.
Initially, new nurses learn to identify the various stages of care, and from there, nurses spend six weeks shadowing a mentor as part of the Watch, Try, Do, Fly program. This program allows a seasoned nurse to mentor the new nurse, providing hands-on learning and interactive feedback until the new nurse is comfortable providing care to the patient and family independently.
Once training is complete, each nurse is assigned to an interdisciplinary team of registered nurse care coordinators, medical social workers, chaplains and certified nursing assistants. AMOREM uses the team approach to provide care wherever the patient calls home and in each of their patient care units to meet the individual needs of each patient and family.
“Hospice nursing is very different from any other type of nursing,” she said. “It’s the end-of-life journey, so it is important to take a truly patient-centered approach with our care. The sense of encouragement that comes from educating patients and families, helping them through emotional challenges and focusing on their wishes is incomparable.”
When Abernathy first became a team leader at AMOREM two years ago, she thought it was only the job site and title that would change for her. She was in awe of what transpired next.
“I just figured it would be nursing as usual,” she said. “Never in a million years did I think something could touch me so deeply. It’s incredibly heartwarming, and at the end of the day, you just feel so grateful.”
For more information about careers in hospice and palliative care, please visit amoremsupport.org.