While labor and delivery is one of the most recognizable nursing specialties, and one that many aspiring nurses wish to pursue, my nursing career took a bit of turn into a field of nursing that is often forgotten. After 10 years of working as a labor and delivery nurse, I experienced personal losses which led me to explore changing career paths into hospice nursing.
Hospice is the one area of medicine that still bases our care on patients and their goals. We bring the human touch back to medicine where simple gestures, like time spent educating, listening, and even holding a patient’s hand, can be the best medicine for the body and soul. We have the opportunity to make a true difference every day for our patients and their families. We change the world one family at a time. As families experience the heartbreak of losing a loved one, they are also empowered by the memory of being the advocate for their loved ones and meeting the goals of a peaceful death with dignity.
In my personal life experiences, I was able to see how the death and dying journey was underserved. Honest informed consent for aggressive life prolonging treatment versus compassionate care at the end of life was not explored by the medical teams that cared for my loved ones. If we had the opportunity to choose between life prolonging measures and hospice care, we would have chosen differently.
As a hospice nurse, I’m able to help others with this very issue by bringing some normalcy to end of life care. I am empowering patients and families to choose how their last days are spent with comfort and respect, while celebrating their life.
I spent 10 years as a labor and delivery nurse, birthing bodies into this world, and for the past 10 years I’ve been helping to birth souls out of this world. I could not imagine another career opportunity with as much job satisfaction as I have experienced since joining the Halifax Health – Hospice team over 10 years ago.
If you’re interested in a life changing career with Halifax Health – Hospice, please visit halifaxhealth.org/careers.
Written by Darlene Bunting, RN, BSN
Darlene has been with Halifax Health for 20 years, and currently works as a Case Manager for Halifax Health – Hospice.