Decentering Myself in Medicine

For the duration of my hospice volunteer experience, I’ve had two patients – my experiences with both were drastically different. While both of them expressed their dissatisfaction with being placed in hospice care, my first patient wanted to avoid as many reminders of her situation as possible, eventually asking for me to not return. On … Continue reading “Decentering Myself in Medicine”

The Conclusion

“Mom, I’m going to be a hospice volunteer next year.” I was met with worried eyes and a solemn face. “’Mira’, isn’t that going to be burdensome? I mean, you’ll have to deal with death.” Yes, but so does everyone. When I decided to become a hospice volunteer, I knew that it certainly wouldn’t be … Continue reading “The Conclusion”

Reflections on the Value of Death, Life’s Meaning

Within my involvement in the Athena Institute program, I have learned about the value of death; it is not something to be feared, rather death is simply a natural part of life. Far too many people choose to run away from and avoid death at all costs, instead of choosing to find meaning in the … Continue reading “Reflections on the Value of Death, Life’s Meaning”

Shifting Perspective on Death: Good Death

In my culture, discussing death is taboo. These conversations are typically reserved for older individuals. Young people like me are obliged to avoid this topic due to its perceived scariness. However, my perspective on this difficult subject has changed drastically after volunteering in the Athena hospice program. For instance, through the program’s training, group discussions, … Continue reading “Shifting Perspective on Death: Good Death”

End-of-life Care Does Not Look the Same for Everyone

Going into this Hospice experience I lacked confidence and felt uncertainty over my ability to provide patients comfort and then deal with their looming death on my own. Every visit I have with my patient – “Rebecca” – has allowed me to realize that my shortcomings were only a reflection of preconceived notions. Going in … Continue reading “End-of-life Care Does Not Look the Same for Everyone”

The Story of your Life

Working with my patient, let’s call her “Sally,” over the past semester has been an absolute treat. Sally has lived in Philadelphia her entire life. She enjoys playing board games and going outside on the porch. Sally always smiles at the nurses and attendant that come to and from, and likes to sit by the … Continue reading “The Story of your Life”

My fears and resolve to help patients

Entering hospice volunteering, my aspiration was to refine my caretaking skills and deepen my empathy for patients’ needs. Yet, I grappled with daunting concerns about my own mental well-being and my perceived inability to provide comfort. I felt constrained, fearing I could only broach conversations about death, hindered by my lack of musical or vocal … Continue reading “My fears and resolve to help patients”

Trusting Bonds

Throughout my time as a hospice volunteer, I’ve come to see how communication happens across a variety of mediums, and encompasses so much more than just verbal. Many of the patients who I have come to know and form a relationship with cannot speak due to the progression of their diseases, and learning to communicate … Continue reading “Trusting Bonds”

Growth of a New Passion

I have had three patients during my time under Compassus. During the fall semester, I spent many hours getting to know “Beth” and “Rachel”. Rachel had the most beautiful laugh and although communicating was difficult, I was able to learn so many fascinating things about her life before she graduated from hospice. I became close … Continue reading “Growth of a New Passion”

Acceptance: The Lesson I Learned from Hospice Volunteering

The topic of death had always been taboo to me – even when it came to family members, we barely spoke of their passing. I knew that being pre-health, I would need to understand the role of death and dying in medicine, but I continued to push it off, delving into curative-based research. I applied … Continue reading “Acceptance: The Lesson I Learned from Hospice Volunteering”