Stephanie’s Story | My Hospice, My Heart♡
My name is Stephanie West, and I have worked in the healthcare industry for almost a decade. During my time with AseraCare, I’ve developed a profound passion for hospice care. I’ve gained so much valuable experience over the years but I always felt like something was missing. I began courses for a Bachelor’s degree in 2002 but put it on hold when I started my family. Since then, I hoped to go back to school and get my degree, but it was never the right time. With a lot of prompting from a former boss and mentor, I decided to begin the journey again three years ago. I am married and have two wonderful children, Dante, 14, and Kaydence, 12. Since they’re older now, I felt that it was time to finish what I had started so many years ago. It has been challenging, but I have a great husband, Jason, who has picked up the slack. My family never questioned me when I said I had to study, and they have all sacrificed so much to make my dream happen. I am so very thankful for my family. I am very proud to say that I will be the first in my family to graduate from college with a Bachelors degree. That is one of the reasons this is so special to me.
It takes a special kind of person to work in hospice. Not only because of the terminal condition of the patients we care for but also because every patient lost is a piece of us that is lost as well. Every life we touch impacts who we become. My Uncle was on hospice care for a few months before he passed. They did a fantastic job making sure that he was cared for, not only physically but emotionally. They also tried to make sure that our family was taken care of and prepared for what was to come. Losing a loved one is never easy but when you have a great care team that you can rely on, the road to closure is not quite as bumpy.
My Hospice is My Heart because I believe everyone deserves compassion and to leave this world with dignity, surrounded by people who love them. Not everyone has a family that can be with them at the end of their life journey. Hospice caregivers, who work tirelessly to make a patient feel special, can be those standing at a patient’s bedside as they take their final breath. To me, Hospice is so much more than patient care. It is an opportunity to forget everything we are struggling with and help another person through the most challenging time in their life. I choose to work for AseraCare because of the what our mission stands for—what we all stand for. Our mission is to make the darkness of end of life care into a bubble of light for every patient we encounter. To check under the bed and make sure no monsters are lurking and to ensure that the path home is as smooth and carefree as possible. For me, hospice is helping every patient write the ending of their story the way they want and not questioning why. Just to assist and take down those last few bits that their tired hands are not able to transcribe for themselves.
Saturday I’ll graduate from Western Governors University with a Bachelor’s of Science and Business in Human Resource Management and I couldn’t be more excited!
–Stephanie West, PHR, SHRM-CP HR Admin Manager
Stephanie and a colleague decorated her graduation cap with butterflies, which are a symbol of hope and transition associated with AseraCare’s mission. They added the phrase “My Hospice, My Heart” to advocate for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s My Hospice campaign. Learn more about the campaign here.