Care Dimensions Hospice Nurse Residency graduates (l-r) Marjorie Lebowitz, Sybil Darcy, Susan LaForest, and Hannah Jung with Director of Research Susan Lysaght Hurley, who oversees the residency program
Care Dimensions' innovative nurse residency program introduces new nursing graduates and experienced nurses to the field of hospice and palliative care. Four recent graduates of the program share their key takeaways from the residency, and what it’s like to start their new career as hospice RN case managers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What part of the hospice nurse residency program especially appealed to you?
“The residency offered such a great training opportunity. I got to go out with case managers, admission nurses, chaplains, social workers, and learn at the Kaplan Family Hospice House. . . It wasn’t just one nurse; I saw different nurses and their different styles. And having a preceptor allowed for hands-on learning. You wouldn’t get that much exposure in training for most jobs.”
- Marjorie Lebowitz, RN case manager, North Shore
Former respiratory therapist who earned her nursing degree from North Shore Community College in 2019
“I loved my rotations so much, especially being at the Care Dimensions Hospice House, which has such an incredible team. Everybody helps each other, and the doctors are right there so we could easily discuss the cases. I felt so honored to be able to be with the patient from when they arrived at the house until they died, and for being able to support the family.”
- Susan LaForest, RN case manager, Greater Boston
Former social worker who worked as an RN with an elder services company after earning her nursing degree from Mount Wachusett Community College in 2018
What are the main lessons you learned from the residency?
“My biggest takeaway is that teamwork is essential in providing quality end-of-life care. Each patient that is on service with us presents with unique spiritual, emotional, and physical needs that I cannot attend to alone. My field observations with different members of the interdisciplinary team allowed me to see each discipline’s skills and talents so that I may know who I can refer to in different situations.”
- Hannah Jung, RN case manager, North Shore
Graduated Simmons University School of Nursing in 2019
“Being prepared builds confidence. The education team genuinely wanted to expose us to as many procedures and equipment as they could to better prepare us to be successful out in the field. They made us feel completely at ease; there was no rush or pressure. They were always available to take the time to review and reinforce education materials and concepts to create more confident nurses.”
- Sybil Darcy, RN case manager, North Shore
Previously worked as a certified hemodialysis technician, clinical associate for a hospital geriatric psychiatric unit, and LPN at long-term care facilities; earned nursing degree from North Shore Community College in 2019
How do you feel about becoming a hospice RN case manager during a pandemic?
“I feel so cared for, protected, and supported every single day. The company and our managers’ sole desire is to make sure we’re safe, that we have enough PPE (personal protective equipment) and support. I’ve never seen anything like it. They make it seem like they’ve been here before. I feel comfortable calling the Education team or my manager anytime. And my fellow nurses also are very supportive.”
- Susan LaForest
“My clinical manager, fellow nurses, IT and Education departments are never more than a phone call away and they are always quick to support me in any way I need. The pandemic did push me to quickly gain confidence, but that is a direct reflection of how supported I am out in the field.”
- Sybil Darcy
What would you tell someone who is considering applying for the Care Dimensions Hospice Nurse Residency Program?
“If you have a heart for end-of-life care, I highly recommend cultivating that passion at Care Dimensions. The nurse residency program provides new graduates with a firm foundation to grow within the specialty. I strongly believe work culture can make or break the experience and I can attest that Care Dimensions has been so supportive in welcoming a new graduate nurse!”
- Hanna Jung
“If you are interested in hospice, this is absolutely the best opportunity you could have. You can come in without any hospice experience and learn exactly what you need to know. You can get trained in what you want to do; it’s not like I had to get my experience somewhere else to be considered. I was able to be trained to do the job I wanted to do. I feel so blessed!”
- Marjorie Lebowitz
Learn more about the Care Dimensions Hospice Nurse Residency Program.
About the author
Lisa Conti is Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for Care Dimensions and manages its Voices of Care blog.