Shortly after program service specialist, Sheila Penrod, let a previous coworker know that she had accepted a job at Caring Circle, her coworker said, “but you’re so nice, how can you work at a hospice?” Sheila shared her response and reflection on her time at Caring Circle so far.
“My response was that hospice isn’t about dying, it is about living. Yes, hospice deals with dying, but it is more about quality of life and includes the whole family.
"I obtained my licensed practical nurse (LPN) degree in 2012 and had a difficult time finding the right nursing position for me. After struggling with finding the right job I found a non-clinical job at Andrews University. I worked in several positions with different responsibilities over the last few years and honestly never thought I would be working in the medical field again.
"As a program service specialist at Caring Circle I meet with individuals and their families to review the services available at Caring Circle. I travel to homes, hospitals, nursing facilities, and have even met a family at a McDonalds. If hospice is the right avenue of care, I review what is included in hospice services and then obtain signed consent forms. The most common response is relief and thankfulness that I have given the caregiver some extra help.
"There are difficult visits. I have discussed hospice with individuals and families who were not ready to hear the word hospice. Sometimes those who medically qualify for hospice are not ready to take that step and sometimes it’s the family that isn’t ready.
"Most of my visits are pleasant but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t tough. The different visits remind me that what I do is important and makes a difference. There are hectic visits, like when I get to a home and the person is crying in pain and we hurry to get them on services as fast as possible so they can get the care they need to find relief from their pain.
"There are inspiring visits, like one time when I met with a family and described everything that was included in the hospice care that Caring Circle could provide, and the person responded that I was describing heaven. The individual was so relieved to be able to get the help needed that it sounded like heaven to them and I got to be a part of that.
"I had a family member tell me that my job must be very difficult. I told them not really because individuals and their families are so relieved and thankful for the help they are signing up for that it comforts me to know that I was able to be a part in getting them the care they need as soon as possible.
"As a new team member at Caring Circle I often get asked if I still like my job. The answer is yes, because I am thankful to be part of a team that is helping people create meaningful moments by focusing on quality-of-life.”