Advocacy, Peru, and One Final Farewell

How great a time it is to be working to support such wonderful hospice and palliative care advocates like you. Over the past two months I have learned so much about the importance of advocacy and constituent relationships with offices of Members of Congress. These tools and skills I have developed I hope to carry with me in my career as a nurse practitioner working in direct patient care. Through your dedication to advocacy and the assistance of phenomenal staff (such as Karen Davis, Lauren Drew and Sharon Pearce), I have a broader understanding of how policy influences the type of care our patients receive as they face life-limiting and chronic ailments.

Before I leave, I wanted to thank you for this internship opportunity and for the support you have shown me, the NHPCO and your patients through the phenomenal work you do every day in the front lines of hospice and palliative care. The highlight of my summer has been getting to know front-line hospice workers attending the Advocacy Intensive on a personal level. Together, we laughed, learned, and worried over our meetings with Congressional Offices. In unison, we succeeded as one voice to cut through the noise of Capitol Hill in order to ensure that our patients’ needs were being addressed on a legislative level.

                I was moved the day I got to walk alongside those who risked everything for the sake of American citizens and democracy. Sitting next to these gentlemen, providing tissues and giving hugs was just a small token of my gratitude towards them and the trials they have faced in their lives.

Finally, I would never have succeeded at being able to support and assist the needs of the NHPCO’s HAN advocates without the careful guidance and mentorship of my supervisors- Karen Davis, Lauren Drew and Sharon Pearce. Though I will not be working directly in policy in the near future, the lessons I have learned through their leadership will definitely aid in my future career as a hospice and palliative care nurse practitioner. Before tackling that goal, I am off to Peru to work as a nursing assistant in a hospice house for 9 months. In Peru, I will be training other nursing aides who live in the community how to properly care for actively dying residents. It is my hope to help sustain a program that serves the poorest, neediest dying individuals in a differing country.

I will be in touch in the near future about my travels and work in hospice in Peru. Until then- Farewell. I will always remember the lessons learned while helping to serve such a wonderful movement and organization.