Care Dimensions: Why I Walk: From Navy Nurse to Hospice Nurse

Voices of Care

Why I Walk: From Navy Nurse to Hospice Nurse

Posted on July 22, 2021 by Mary Hutchinson, RN

Care Dimensions hospice nurse Mary Hutchinson invites you to join her in supporting the Walk for Hospice.

I was a U.S. Navy nurse for 28 years, including 13 months as a trauma intensive care unit nurse in Iraq. I saw a lot of death, destruction, and suffering.

As any military veteran will tell you, it can take a while to adjust upon returning to civilian life. Although it took a few years, I’ve found where I belong: at Care Dimensions as a hospice nurse.

I have never been prouder to work for a company since retiring from the military in 2010, which is why I’m participating in my third Care Dimensions Walk for Hospice.

Called to hospice nursing

Upon retiring from the Navy, I returned to my native Massachusetts and worked in nursing management for a hospital. I soon realized how much I missed caring for patients. When my wife got sick and began treatment at the Cleveland Clinic, we moved to Ohio. I decided my next job would be helping people die peacefully, and I became a hospice nurse with an agency in Cleveland.

Three years later, we came back to Massachusetts so I could help my aging parents. My initial exposure to Care Dimensions was filling in as an agency nurse, but I was soon asked to join the staff as a full-time hospice nurse. I am so glad that I did!

The hospice in Cleveland, which was a for-profit agency, limited what the nurses could do. At Care Dimensions, it’s 100% about the patient’s comfort and family’s well-being. THAT’S the reason I’m a nurse. Care Dimensions is a very compassionate and giving hospice, and as a nurse, I know my hands won’t be tied when it comes to doing what’s best for the patient.

Care Dimensions goes the extra mile

Care Dimensions also takes care of its employees. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they didn’t leave us hanging. They made sure we had enough PPE. Every week, my manager asked, “Do you need anything else?” I’ve always felt supported here. I truly feel like I fit in with this company.

Ensuring proper support for patients, families, and staff takes money, which is why I’m happy to raise funds for the Walk for Hospice. I registered in late April and set up a Facebook Fundraiser. It’s been a great way to stay in touch with my Navy friends and several of them have donated. Some have relayed the information to people I’ve lost contact with. I have big family, and their donations have helped my fundraising, too.

I really believe in Care Dimensions and want to help keep its mission going. I hope you will join me by registering or donating to the Walk for Hospice.


About the author
Mary Hutchinson, RN, is an evening/night hospice nurse for Care Dimensions. She served active duty in the U.S. Navy for 28 years, which included two tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Navy nurse, plus other tours around the world.

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Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 95 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.