Sherra Stewart-Rego, BSN, CHPN, MPH
Director of the Norma F. Pfriem Nursing Fellowship
Many of our patients at The Connecticut Hospice transition back and forth between home care and our inpatient hospital. This “to-ing and fro-ing” allows our patients and families to benefit from optimal symptom management with the goal of living more fully and comfortably. To deepen nursing understanding and appreciation of the privileges and challenges inherent in providing hospice and palliative care in these different environments of care, on July 10, 2013 Nurse Fellows from the Norma F. Pfriem International Fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Nursing took to the road to make home visits to patients of our hospice home care program.
Each inpatient nurse fellow paired with a home care nurse fellow to walk a day in the shoes of a hospice home care nurse. Familiarity with different environments of care better prepares nurses to anticipate patient and family needs and allows them to ready patients and families to move between levels of care. Of the experience, one fellow remarked, “I think at inpatient we tend to see the patients and families in a limited fashion – in the moment, at the facility - but experiencing them in their homes helped inform me, as a nurse, to their entire and encompassing journey and experience as hospice patients.”
Another fellow pointed out that the experience reminded her of how resourceful nurses must be. “Sometimes you have to get creative and make-do with what you have available at the time! Thinking ‘outside the box’ is definitely a necessity in homecare - and as a nurse, in general.” The fellows described the experience as inspiring, and one said that it was clear both inpatient and home care hospice nurses share the same commitment to the mission of caring for persons with advanced and chronic illness.
The Norma F. Pfriem International Fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Nursing was started in 2005 with a generous grant from the Norma F. Pfriem Foundation. Norma Pfriem’s legacy allows us to offer a 15-month program of both didactic and experiential learning to newly hired RN’s to build upon basic knowledge acquired in the orientation period. Among its goals are to ensure the highest quality of nursing, founded on evidence-based practice in the eight domains of hospice and palliative care identified by the National Consensus Project, and to prepare RNs to become certified in the specialty of hospice and palliative nursing. To date, more than 150 nurses from The Connecticut Hospice have participated in the Fellowship.
For more information, call Sherra Stewart-Rego at 203-315-7515 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.