When I first nominated Irene, it was for the work she had done with an ALS patient who had wanted to remain intubated and on a vent until her grandchild was born and she had spent some time with the new grandchild. The client chose the date to discontinue the vent and even though that was not her weekend to work, Irene was there. She arranged her schedule to be with the patient and family, keeping the patient comfortable and supporting the family until the end.
Since that time, Irene has continued to grow in her role as a hospice nurse. She recently had not one, but two complicated patients – both with ALS. Irene worked with the patients and their families to provide maximum comfort, education, and support for the patient and family. She demonstrates an amazing level of compassion and genuinely cares about those she cares for.
Early one morning, Irene got a call from one of the spouses. When she arrived at the home, the patient told her that he had made the decision to start palliative sedation that day. This was Irene's first time managing palliative sedation in the home setting. She worked with the doctors to obtain the orders and medications needed on such short notice. Irene sat in the home, administering the medications, monitoring, and managing the symptoms until sedation was achieved. Throughout this time, she was also explaining what was going on and supporting the family. The patient's wife commented in a 'thank you' note on the care and compassion they had experienced from Irene and the entire hospice team. Irene told me that she felt it was a gift to walk the journey with them.
A couple of weeks ago Irene's second ALS patient made the decision to plan for palliative sedation. With time on her side, Irene led a virtual care conference, where the hospice team the doctors, patient, and family talked about palliative sedation and allowed the patients to express their wishes. The date was set two weeks out. Irene again worked with the doctors to plan for medications. She made the arrangements for a PIIC line insertion and IV medication delivery. Once again, she was not scheduled to work on the weekend chosen but cleared her schedule to walk with this patient and family on their journey. Once again, she was there to manage the symptoms and make the patient comfortable.
This compassion and genuine caring shine through with every patient Irene sees. She has a calm and gentle demeanor even as she provides fierce advocacy for patients. Irene is also a team player – always willing to help other nurses. In hospice, we never know when a patient will be in an EOL crisis. Irene is always willing to rearrange her schedule to go to a patient in crisis or take an admission.
Irene is a Hospice Nurse filled with compassion, ready to change her schedule, always there to help her team. In the midst of all the hospice business, Irene also finds the time and energy to genuinely care for her hospice team. Thank you, Irene, for being the incredible Hospice Nurse you have become.