Hospice nurses carry weight of life and death
Typically nurses save lives. Then, there are those who don’t save lives. These exceptional human beings deserve to be acknowledged.
These nurses are experts on death. They do not thrive on an adrenaline-filled emergency code, but they anticipate death and help navigate the unique and often tumultuous journey toward end of life for millions of people.
These nurses are an integral part of someone’s last days, hours, minutes and seconds on this earth. Their actual job is to witness last breaths. They ease the suffering of people who struggle with knowing they won’t be here this time next year.
These are the nurses who listen to someone’s chest knowing that all they will hear is absolute silence. The same nurses who look up from that quiet chest to hopeful families to confirm that their loved one is gone.
These brave nurses are a different breed of compassion, honesty and strength that fall in love with people who are in their most raw and vulnerable states of themselves. These nurses know how to holistically acknowledge the mind, body and soul of an individual and not just their diagnosis. They cry, laugh, sing and dance with their patients knowing that time is limited.
These nurse carry the weight of life and death in their heart every day.
So, no. Hospice nurses do not save lives, but they save the lives that people have left to live by optimizing their quality and giving them hope for peace and dignity.
Alyssa Kaczmarek, MSN, R.N.