This was before I wanted to become a nurse. I learned the goals and philosophy of care, emergency procedures and what to expect during the stages of death. After the workshop and training, I completed all of my tests and screening and started the following week. The first day, I was nervous but excited at the same time. Being a part of the hospice team, my job was to try to keep patients as pain free and comfortable as possible while providing support for them and their families during the dying process.
I provided all kinds of support for patients and their families, including visiting, reading, watching T. V. , taking walks, playing music or bringing over pets. I also helped with shopping, errands, household chores, babysitting and transportation. I also helped facilitate bereavement support groups, get involved in fundraising or provide administrative support for the hospice by filing or sending out mailings. When someone is dying, friends and family sometimes pull away, afraid of what is happening and at a loss for what to say.
My job was to help fill that gap by being a companion who understands the process of dying and provides compassion, comic relief and conversation. I worked an average of three hours each week and the hospice I volunteered at require a commitment of at least one year. It was a great experience because I always wanted to be around the medical workplace. Being a volunteer, I worked with a clinical team of doctors, nurses and social workers. I believe that the kind of experience that I had with hospice care helped prepare me to work with underserved populations. “