The Rewards of Hospice Nursing

“Caring comes directly from her heart.”

“She has a gift. I am so fortunate to have her as my nurse.”

“Michelle is like a good friend that always knows what you need and cares deeply for your well-being.”

Most people enter nursing because it is considered a healing profession that focuses on promoting, protecting and optimizing the health and well-being of patients. The notion of healing others has inspired many people to enter the nursing field. While healing is vital and critical work, another field in nursing exists where the objective isn’t to heal but to comfort. It’s the work of a hospice nurse.

“Providing hospice care is a calling,” said Michelle McCall, RN, of Merrimack Valley Hospice. “Rather than viewing the end of life as sad,
I believe it’s an honor to help patients at this stage along their journey. I come from a family of nurses and growing up I knew that it was a highly respected field I was destined to enter. I’ve worked as a nurse in many different hospitals and private settings. But my work as a hospice nurse is so very rewarding. I ensure that patients have a quality end of life, preserving dignity and comfort.” 

Although it takes an especially compassionate person to become a hospice nurse, caring for patients at the end of life can be one of the most personally fulfilling specialties in the field. Hospice nurses develop strong relationships with their patients and walk with families through some of their most challenging moments. And providing care over many weeks or months allows nurses and others on the hospice team to develop a bond with patients and their families, which typically does not happen in a hospital or other facility. 

Michelle McCall, RN, caring for her patient. Photo by Lauren Brousseau.

If you’re thinking about becoming a hospice nurse, now is a very exciting time. In October 2018, Home Health Foundation (HHF), which includes Home Health VNA and Merrimack Valley Hospice, joined the Wellforce health system, whose other members consist of Tufts Medical Center, Circle Health and MelroseWakefield Healthcare (formerly Hallmark Healthcare). As a member of Wellforce, HHF is joining forces with Circle Home and Hallmark Health VNA to develop a new, regional, home health and hospice post-acute continuum for Wellforce. 

This past year, HHF began this process by strategically aligning Circle Home Hospice and Hallmark Hospice with Merrimack Valley Hospice, forming one, strength-based organization that will provide end-of-life care and services throughout the region. 

This combination of hospice expertise and care delivery is designed to build on each agency’s strengths, expand capacity for service, and increase their positive impact on our region’s health care needs. It also offers the ability to coordinate resources and develop a more effective hospice program that can compete effectively in the marketplace, benefiting patients, families, and Wellforce as a whole. 

“Transitioning to Merrimack Valley Hospice has been quite smooth,” continues McCall, who formerly worked at Hallmark Hospice. “My colleagues and I have been welcomed and supported by everyone at Merrimack Valley Hospice. I interact with many of the same nurses on my team and have the support of physicians and nurse practitioners for added clinical expertise as I care for patients throughout my day. I have been very impressed by the full range of services available to patients, including inpatient care at High Pointe House, the hospice and palliative care residence in Haverhill. And the collaboration and focus on the needs of patients and families amongst the team are truly remarkable. I’m also excited about the ongoing training and the many career opportunities available at Home Health Foundation and at Wellforce. Now is a great time to work in hospice care.” 

Are you passionate about home health and hospice care?
If you enjoy working independently while still being part of a team, there are a variety of positions at HHF that could be a great fit.
For more information, visit HomeHealthFoundation.org/careers or call (800) 933-5593.  

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