Angels in the Night

Nov 22, 2022

Lisa C. Norton, Communications & Development Manager

Nurses find light on the night shift at the Angela Hospice Care Center

It was 3:30 in the morning when John Stern’s wife, Lucy, passed away. He was resting on the pullout couch in her room at the Angela Hospice Care Center when he was stirred from his sleep. Her breathing had been noisy, as is often the case as someone’s body begins to shut down. But as John awoke that night, he heard only quiet and stillness.

“I said, ‘Oh, I bet she’s in heaven,’” John recalled.

A nurse came in to check Lucy’s breathing and confirmed what John had expected.

“I’m glad I spent the night,” he said. “…I got to spend the last night of her life with her.”

It was a night that Mr. Stern will always remember. And for the nurses who keep watch over the patients and families in the Angela Hospice Care Center each night, every workday brings something different.

“Nurses are often drawn to hospice nursing because of the opportunity to do bedside nursing, and provide more dedicated care,” said Terri Rush, director of clinical services for the Angela Hospice Care Center.

“Angela Hospice has the ability to provide a nurse to patient ratio that is especially unique,” Terri continued. “It truly allows the nurse to focus on the patient and the family holistically.”

If you’ve ever visited the Angela Hospice Care Center at night, there is a certain hallowed peace that permeates the halls. It’s no surprise that the nurses on duty are often called “angels” by the families who witness their caring and compassion.

John with his wife Lucy.

One of those nurses, Lisa Udell, has worked in a variety of positions at Angela Hospice, since joining the team 17 years ago. Now working nights at the Care Center, Lisa asserted that while the night shift is quieter than some of her previous roles, it doesn’t mean it’s a “snoozing kind of night shift.”

“We stay comfortably busy,” Lisa said. “This level of care requires consistent monitoring, as changes often are instant and need to be addressed quickly – to be able to notify families of changes as soon as possible.”

Lisa said teamwork is a big part of making that happen – and that teamwork is one of the things she really enjoys about being a night shift nurse.

“We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we pull from each others’ strengths to make and keep patients and families our number one priority,” she explained.

Positions are currently open for nurses and aides to join Angela Hospice’s team. Those interested in applying can view available positions at angelahospice.org/careers, including signing bonuses and shift differentials for night shift positions.

For nurse Lisa, her time at Angela Hospice has been an opportunity to learn and grow with every new role she’s transitioned to, and with each new experience she’s had.

“What I like about working at Angela Hospice is the feeling of knowing this is where I belong. It’s continued growth with every shift…” she said. “Anyone who comes with an open mind and a positive mindset can and will flourish in this organization, whatever your long term goals may be.”

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