The Role of the Healer: Medicine’s Lost Art

My time working in hospice care has been filled with important experiences, but I feel as though the relationships I developed with the patients were the most valuable. While there are a number of relationships I could speak about, I feel as though the experiences I had with a particularly challenging patient were the most … Continue reading “The Role of the Healer: Medicine’s Lost Art”

Remembering Lessons

It’s been almost a year since I received a message containing an opportunity to volunteer in hospice care, and I took a few months of thinking before I decided that it would be good for me. One night, I came home so late that my dad had already woken up for the day. I could … Continue reading “Remembering Lessons”

One Act of Kindness

Over the past seven months, my hospice volunteering has been an invaluable experience that has opened my eyes to an area of healthcare that many people tend to avoid. The end-of-life experience is a deeply intimate one and is packed full of emotions, both for the patient and their family. There isn’t much that can prepare … Continue reading “One Act of Kindness”

Shining a New Light on Death

When I started working as a nursing assistant at a nursing home, it became clear to me that death was something I was going to have to face as a medical professional, but I always tried pushing off the thought of dealing with it until it was absolutely imperative. Coming in to work and finding … Continue reading “Shining a New Light on Death”

Recognizing Death

Throughout hospice volunteer experience, I had many meaningful connections with my patients. The moment that I find the most memorable was when my coworker and I visited Michelle, a recently-admitted patient. When we knocked on Michelle’s door, she was obviously agitated. She immediately asked us what was going on. We told her who we were and … Continue reading “Recognizing Death”

The Last Hurdle of Life and Its Effects on Others

While serving as a hospice volunteer for the past few months, I have met several people in hospice along with their families. It’s interesting and exciting to listen to each person’s stories about their lives. One particular patient named Mary and her family changed how I viewed the end of life. Mary had been in … Continue reading “The Last Hurdle of Life and Its Effects on Others”

Finding Peace and Meaning in Death

Coming into my junior year of college at the University of Pittsburgh, I did not expect to spend a Sunday every couple of weeks sitting inside a church, eating pizza, and reflecting on death. But I am grateful I did. Over the 2017-18 school year, I had the opportunity to spend time at West Penn … Continue reading “Finding Peace and Meaning in Death”

My Hospice Volunteer Journey

Being a hospice volunteer has been instrumental in improving my understanding of the death and dying process, as well as in teaching me how to interact with actively dying patients and their families. Prior to becoming a hospice volunteer, I was completely unfamiliar with the dying process. I had done clinical volunteering before, but the … Continue reading “My Hospice Volunteer Journey”

Learning Through Death

Death is a concept that has always been hard for me to discuss and completely accept as a part of my human experience. Facing the idea of your own morality is taboo within our society. This taboo is even more apparent for younger people who have a sense of invincibility. I have only experienced one … Continue reading “Learning Through Death”

Lessons from those who left, but are not forgotten.

During my time as a volunteer in the West Penn Hospital, I have learned and gained a lot of insight about people’s daily suffering and this common and omnipresent process that we begin the moment we are born: Death. Death is a natural occurrence that everyone experiences in different ways because we are all different, … Continue reading “Lessons from those who left, but are not forgotten.”