At Reliable Hospice, we’re so appreciative of the incredible nursing staff who make care for our patients their top priority. May 6th -12th is National Nurses Week! It will feature a host of events across the U.S. to honor nurses for the work they do, and educates the public about nurses’ role in health care. The first National Nurses Week was celebrated in 1954 – the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s famous mission to the Crimea. On May 7th, we celebrated our own wonderful nurses, and are thrilled to feature a few of them on this web page in honor of this important week.”
Meet Michelle Lugar, RN Case Manager
1. What brought you to select nursing as a profession? How did you come to choose hospice nursing, specifically?
The ideal answer would be that I grew up dreaming to be a nurse. That was not the case. My mother was a nurse, but even with her example, I had never considered it. I had gone to university with a completely different career goal in mind, and long story short, things changed & circumstances happened, and years later I ended up with a nursing degree. Truthfully, in the end I think nursing was the better career fit than what I had originally planned.
Similarly, I did not start out wanting to work in hospice. Most new graduates aim to work in a hospital, and most new grads will also tell you that that is a difficult first job to land. I had a friend who was working in a hospice which had an opening & was accepting new nurses, so I went for it. And as before, it ended up being a great fit for me. Four years later, I’m still in hospice.
You plan things one way, and they may not pan out exactly that way, but sometimes where you end up is where you are meant to be.
2. What has been the most rewarding part of your job thus far?
I think the most rewarding thing in this field, no matter what type of nurse you are, is seeing the impact that your work has on your patients and on their families.
We have a huge decal of a Maya Angelou quite on our office wall that kind of looms over us as we work, but I think it sums up my point: “They may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
3. What is one fond memory you have with a patient, family, or at Reliable Hospice in general?
Working at Reliable Hospice is definitely an experience, but what is great about this small -but constantly growing – company is that it is such a tightly knit team. You work with this team, and you know there’s always someone that you can depend on & have your back when things get a little crazy, as they tend to do.
One memory that happened fairly recently, I had a patient who was feeling very despondent & depressed about her illness & her situation. She asked me how is it in this line of work that I can keep smiling. I replied, “So that you can keep smiling too.” It was a knee jerk response, but in hindsight it was true in that as the hospice team we work together to not just keep our patients comfortable & try to improve their quality of life, but we should also be a point of stability in a time that can be physically & emotionally disheartening.
4. To anyone considering the field of hospice nursing, what advice or recommendations might you give?
I would say that it is a very different mindset from other nursing fields. It seems an obvious thing, but especially coming from an acute setting, you need to adjust & shift your focus from healing to comfort. It’s difficult for a lot of nurses, but it’s important to learn this because it is even more difficult for our patients & their families. We need to really understand the hospice philosophy to help guide & advocate for our patients as they also shift their focus from getting better to accepting this new step in their journey.
Thank you, Michelle, for your commitment to Reliable Hospice, your patients, and their families. You make an impact every single day!