Being the Change

Aug 10, 2022

Dana Casadei, Media Relations Specialist

Nikki Scott wants you to know that it’s OK to have a bad day.

“We live in a really grief phobic society,” said Nikki, who is currently a Grief Counselor at Angela Hospice. “People think that they can’t bring up your loved one’s name or they can’t ask you how you’re doing because you might get sad, and then they fail to realize it’s good to be sad. It’s healthy to talk about it. You can be sad and have bad days.”

Nikki commented that her clients – who use Angela Hospice’s free grief support programs, which are fully funded through donor support – are often shocked to hear that they’re allowed to have bad days.

“I pretty much say it every week at group… I think the bereaved are the people who are going to change the world, because they are more empathetic and compassionate,” she said.

Nikki – who started as an Angela Hospice volunteer at age 19 – just might change the world too. She has been on both sides of the grief journey – serving patients at the end of their life, and those who have lost a loved one. When she started as a volunteer in 2012,  she first worked in the Care Center before making the jump to grief care.

She said both areas are really meaningful in their own way, but working with those who are grieving has become a bit more special to her.

“People who’ve lost someone… They just want someone to empathize with them and have compassion and just sit with – not offer solutions,” she said. “People just want to be validated, so when you validate for them, then they validate for others, and then hopefully that just keeps spilling forward.”

Over the last 10 years, not only has Nikki’s role at Angela Hospice changed and expanded, so has her life outside it. For every milestone here – an internship completed, a new job change – there was another milestone outside the walls of Angela Hospice, like getting married, starting a family, and earning her doctorate.

A lot can change over the course of a decade, but Nikki’s desire to work in Grief Care never wavered, even when she didn’t think she was ready to take on the role. Thankfully, she had a team at Angela Hospice who knew she was ready, and wanted to help her fulfill this dream. She was called about an opening on the Grief Care team first in 2020, then again in May 2021. After that second phone call, she had a dream where someone told her she should have taken the job. So she ended up changing course and took the position.

“It was always my dream, I was just scared because you’re used to something for so long, and then to change it and not know what you’re going into…” she said. “I love it though. The dream was right.”

“There’s no other social work I would want to do,” Nikki said. “This is where I’m supposed to be.”

Nikki said knowing she’s making some kind of difference is the best part of her job.

“I think on a very, very, very micro level, I’m hopefully changing our world, at least for grief, and the way people understand it,” Nikki said.



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