Jenie joined the Concordia family in August of 2018 as a Nurse Aide for Concordia of Franklin Park. She earned her Medical Technician credentials in February of 2019 and transferred to Good Samaritan Hospice as a Home Health Aide in November of that year. She told us how she felt called to a career in hospice.
“I started paying attention to the hospice nursing staff who came to see our residents at Franklin Park and I slowly started asking questions about hospice. I fell in love with the field, and I honestly feel that hospice chose me.”
She continued, “There was a resident at Franklin Park who was admitted to hospice after I cared for them for over a year. I feel that during their last days they had silently told me to follow a career in hospice. After they passed, their family pulled me aside and told me, ‘You have a way with people who are passing that makes everyone feel comfortable.’ I asked for a transfer a month later!”
Jenie describes Concordia as “understanding” and told us how she came to work for our organization and what keeps her here.
“My husband started with Concordia first and I followed. There are many appealing benefits including health plans, retirement investments with company matching, flexibility in scheduling, and education assistance.
“Concordia provides many opportunities to move up and transfer within the company. Concordia is helping me go to nursing school. They provide interested employees with the opportunity to go nursing school and graduate with a career.”
Jenie told us that she best serves her patients by making them feel as comfortable as possible and allowing them to remain independent in their decision making. She is also grateful that she is able to bring smiles to her patients and their families during a sad time in their lives. Jenie told us about a recent couple she cared for and the bond that emerged over home-cooked meals.
“I started working with a couple, the Wesols (pictured), in March, who had been receiving hospice services for nine months but did not want a home health aide to start. I know that sometimes a patient won’t want aide services such as showering or bathing. That’s how Mrs. Wesol was with me. She wasn’t comfortable with me coming in general.
“During my initial visit I explained what all I do. Before she could tell me she didn’t need my help, I told her I could always cook something yummy for her and her husband once a week. That made her smile and got me in the door!”
Jenie continued, “I started to cook for them and they never complained about anything that I made! They really enjoyed my lasagna and meatballs. The real challenge was when they asked for stuffed cabbage because I had never made it before, but they both loved it and requested it a few more times.”
Good Samaritan Hospice Manager Charlotte Kaltenbaugh had the following to say about the extraordinary efforts Jenie made to earn Mrs. Wesol’s trust and how she exemplified our mission in the compassionate care she provided.
“The patient's husband would faithfully grocery shop the day before Jenie’s Wednesday visit. Jenie would arrive, the couple would go, relax and nap, really able to fully rest, knowing Jenie was there...while Jenie chopped, prepped, cooked and baked.
“This extra effort of meal planning, providing home cooked meals and creating this special event that the couple enjoyed together up until our patient's last week on earth truly represents the special spirit of hospice. Jenie personifies the hospice approach to care of making each day special and the best it can be for our precious patients.”
Jenie told us why it is important for her to bring light to her patients and their families during end of life care.
“To me, caring for a hospice patient is just as important as helping care for a young child. Just because someone is dying doesn’t mean we have to focus on the sadness the end-of-life journey can bring. I like to help remind everyone of the joy that life has brought to the world, just like when they were born.”
In her time outside of working, Jenie enjoys spending it with her husband and their dog Scarlet. The family enjoys cooking and traveling, and she currently spends most of her spare time sewing masks for others.
When we asked Jenie what drives her, she told us about one of her first mentors.
“Remembering my Granny motivates me a lot. She was a kind-hearted woman who was a preacher’s wife, raising four children, myself included when she helped to deliver me at home and raised me until I was 13.”
We’d love to hear your future story! Find your next career by visiting www.concordiacareers.org.