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September’s Passion Driven Employee

Work with Honor 

If you call Healing Care Hospice during after-hours (5 PM – 8 AM), you might hear from one of our triage nurses, Aimee Crowley RN.  A veteran in the hospice-care industry, Crowley has 15 years of experience. Her first introduction to the field was in 2003 as an RN Case Manager, at a different hospice agency on the east coast. Eventually, Crowley would find her way west and she joined Healing Care Hospice in May of 2016 as a triage nurse.

Glenda Harris, RN who is the Director of Patient Care Services at HCH comments that Crowley provides positive feedback for the growth and development of the clinical team. Harris has worked with Crowley since 2016, and they both have seen the exponential growth of HCH from the beginning. Harris comments that Crowley has both a certain mindset and a sense of urgency, qualities that ensure excellent quality of care for all of Healing Care’s patients.

“She’s always made herself available. She always upholds best practices and the importance of compliance,” said Harris.

Crowley’s ability to understand complexities over the phone comes from hands-on experience. Understanding exactly what occurs in the field has contributed to her ability to respond quickly with compassion. When she worked as a case manager, she approached death as a meaningful experience each time. Every patient and their respective families formed a new bond with her. Now, she takes that knowledge and utilizes it as a skill to respond to triage emergencies with passion.

While it may seem as though hospice-care is typically an 8 AM to 5 PM job, after-hours can be inundated with calls, requests, and urgent needs. In any given month, they can receive up to 300 calls after-hours.

“Working after-hours, she receives a lot of calls from people who are experiencing a crisis and her response is always calm and reassuring, while taking care of their needs,” said Harris.

Of course, there have been challenging moments for Crowley, too. A memory of a particular patient comes to her mind. Back in 2003, when she was working as a case manager, she met a mother who presented herself — for the sake of her family, as prepared up until the last day of her life.

“I thought she was not worried about dying because she never really talked about it. It was hard for her husband and their adult son [to hear her talk about it],” said Crowley.

Crowley was there the night she passed. Not only was she supporting the patient, but the family as well. In the home, Crowley spotted a paper corner in a frame, which bordered an embroidered scripture.

“Her husband took it down and behind it, we found a handwritten note she had put there. It was a prayer for God to watch over her and her family while she was dealing with her illness. She never voiced her fear or worry. That moment I knew she did have those thoughts on her mind but she knew her husband and son needed her to be strong so she leaned on God for her support.”

While some of her patients have commented that she is an angel doing an amazing job, Crowley believes it is she that is the lucky one. She believes this work requires a certain mindset, one that is a calling. For her, there is honor in working and caring for other human beings, all who know their words, who hold their own life’s wisdom. She is a firm believer of the benefit of hospice.

Julia Dodd, another RN triage nurse at Healing Care Hospice affirms that all triage nurses must be mindful and present. It is imperative to their work, especially after-hours, when communities are sleeping.

“Being a triage RN requires a lot of organization, knowledge, and superb communication skills as we do all of our work via the phone. We need to educate patients and families and advise on the best course of treatment after listening to their symptoms. We often have to triage the most acute patients for visits. This requires rapid critical thinking skills,” said Dodd.

The importance lies in the name. Triage is defined as defining urgency levels to wounds or illnesses. These registered nurses can decide the order in which to address emergencies, and what actions are needed for the emergency. Knowing that help is a phone call away, any time of day or night can provide comfort.

Crowley acknowledges she is capable of excellence because she is supported by her team. Whether it is a runner, a team coordinator, a clinical manager, or a liaison, teamwork is essential. To her, HCH represents open communication, where patients come first. She believes it is refreshing to ask for whatever she needs to get the patient the best quality of care.

“Our goal as triage nurses is to provide comfort to the patient and family. We have to know all the regulations that govern hospice. We have to have problem-solving skills, a sense of urgency, critical thinking, ability to lead, and do all of this with a kind heart,” said Crowley.

Healing Care Hospice would like to commemorate Aimee Crowley as September’s Passion-Driven Employee. Crowley plans on continuing her work and giving back by training new staff. She offers this piece of insight for new trainees: Listen.

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