Hospice RN Case Manager
Hometown: Norwalk, CT
Tell us a bit about yourself: I was born and raised in Haiti before moving to the United States. I moved from Massachusetts to Norwalk more than 20 years ago. I have three adult sons. I love walking on the beach in Norwalk. I do not like the cold. I love to do 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzles. Not that I have much spare time for that!
When and why did you become a nurse? My father always said I would be a lawyer – or a nurse! I have worked as a nurse in many different places and settings. I worked in a jail in Massachusetts, in a hospital, in a nursing home, with the State department of mental health. There was sometimes too much paperwork and just not enough people. Many years ago, a friend visiting a nursing home where I worked said, “You should work in hospice.” She was correct. With hospice, you are a part of helping someone wrap up their life. Helping them see what they’re good at and what their signature in this life has really been.
Where do you see patients? Norwalk, Wilton, Westport, Redding, Ridgefield, New Fairfield
What is a favorite moment/time from your career as a nurse? I’m grateful to that person who introduced me to hospice nursing. I had been in acute care, where everyone is on an IV. In hospice care, patients sometimes appreciate just having us with them, to have a talk, or look at pictures from their younger years. They often appreciate this more even than pain medication.
What are some things that might surprise people about being a nurse?
Nursing is a broad spectrum. When I, as a nurse, ask ‘how are you doing?’, I’m not necessarily asking how you’re doing with physical pain. I’m also asking also how you’re doing psychologically and emotionally… how you’re doing as a person, in a very broad, holistic way. Hospice patients tend to be older, they might be in their 80s and 90s, and if they never had children, they might not have anyone. Things that might not seem significant to anyone else can become very important to the patient’s overall health. Like the comfort of a favorite recliner.
How has your job changed with COVID-19? It’s a very sad time for everyone. In hospice, you want the family to be one unit, with time for closure, time to bond, because this might be their last visit. They might want to talk about what happened 20 or 30 years ago. One of my first questions now is, “Do you want to see your daughter or son?” Because it won’t be easy. Early on in the pandemic, we were trying to connect a patient with her daughter on Facetime. The reception was terrible, so the daughter came to the patient’s window and talked to her mother on the phone. It was tearful. But it was all they had.