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Care Dimensions RN Case Manager Maureen Macaro visits with one of her patients, Linda Bain of Wakefield, Mass.
Care Dimensions RN Case Manager Maureen Macaro visits with one of her patients, Linda Bain of Wakefield, Mass.

I Was Meant to be a Hospice Nurse

Posted on May 6, 2024 by Maureen Macaro, RN, CHPN

“If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

I’ve been fortunate to live this belief throughout my initial career as a dance studio owner and instructor, and now as a hospice nurse.

I began ballet lessons at age 10 and continued to dance throughout high school. When my teacher was about to retire, I apprenticed with her and learned the ins and outs of teaching dance. I soon opened “Maureen Macaro’s School of Classical Ballet” at my home. All our students were received by word of mouth.

Over the next 26 years, I taught 19-20 classes per week and had over 1,000 students, including my four daughters. While this career enabled me to be at home with my five children, it eventually took a toll on my body. I was in my 40s, had several surgeries, and needed a career change. 

Transition to hospice nurse

Around this time, I experienced the grief of losing three people who died from cancer: my mom, my teenage niece, and one of my close friends. My mom and niece passed away in a hospital. Although I was at my mom’s beside when she took her last breath, it was not the ideal setting with all the bells and noises commonly heard on hospital wards. My friend, however, passed away in her home assisted by hospice. At that time, I didn’t know anything about hospice, but I was able to witness some of the services they provided. One member of the hospice team helped her make a memory book for her future grandchildren so her memory would live on. A hospice nurse came to her home and managed her symptoms well. My friend was able to pass in her own bed with her family by her side and not in a sterile hospital setting.

I believe that God was calling me to be involved with hospice. I decided to go into nursing. Since I had gone to work right from high school, I had to complete all the pre-requisite college courses before applying for a nursing program. I completed the pre-requisites at North Shore Community College and then applied to its nursing program. I was accepted and graduated with my RN in 2007.

During nursing school, I visited the Kaplan Family Hospice House and asked what I would need to do to be able to work for hospice. I was encouraged to gain some med-surg experience before applying for a hospice job. During my studies, I worked as a health aide at Beverly Hospital and was hired as an intern there for one summer. Upon graduation, I was hired full-time on a med-surg floor at the hospital.

I had kept the dance school running with the help of my daughter, Sara. When I took the full-time nursing job, I hired two additional teachers and just ran the business-end of the school. We kept the school going for an additional 12 years and then decided it had run its course.

One day while working at Beverly Hospital, a liaison from Hospice of the North Shore (now Care Dimensions) was on our floor and I inquired about what being a hospice nurse entailed. After working at the hospital for four years, it seemed like the right time to make a change. Later that week, I applied at Hospice of the North Shore. I was hired in July of 2011, and am now coming up on 13 years with this company.

This was the best decision I have ever made. I work with the most amazing group of people. I am supported by social workers, chaplains, doctors, nurse practitioners, LPNs, aides, managers, and literally all Care Dimensions employees. My co-workers are exceptional in their professional lives and in the care and compassion that flows from each of them.

My dad lived with me for the last six years of his life. He eventually ended up on hospice, and I was able to care for him at home until he required care at the Kaplan House during his final hours. I was at his bedside when he passed. The setting was much more peaceful than what my mom experienced.

Rewards of hospice nursing

In my job I have the privilege of being invited into people’s homes at the most vulnerable times of their lives. I meet the most amazing and courageous patients and families. Many share their life stories, their fears, their hopes, their dreams. It is a blessed time. What a gift to have the ability to assist people to pass comfortably, with dignity, from this life into the next!

Over the years I have cared for over 600 patients. I think of many of them often and fondly remember the moments I shared with my patients. They are some of the most exceptional people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. 

Most families ask me how much time their loved ones have left. I gently remind them that every patient is different, and they will not pass until they are ready. Nobody knows the exact moment except God.

I love this job and can’t imagine doing anything else. Working as a hospice nurse fulfills me and gives my life meaning. I give all the credit to God for leading me here.

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Learn about career opportunities with Care Dimensions.

Earn while you learn in our Hospice Nurse Residency Program.

To be notified when articles are published on the Care Dimensions blog, please email [email protected]. 


About the author
Maureen Macaro, RN, CHPN, is an RN case manager with Care Dimensions and resides in Beverly, Mass. She is a mother of five children and has 10 grandchildren.

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