This is one in a series of profiles published Sunday as part of our "NURSES: THE HEART OF HEALTH CARE" section. To become a Herald & Review member and see more of our special content, visit herald-review.com/members.
Trips to a nursing home to see her great-grandfather fostered a desire in Becky Parini to help others.
“I used to lover going to see him and all of the other older residents,” Parini said, figuring she was about six years old at the time. “I would push him around and around (in his wheelchair) until it was time to leave. That’s as far back as I can remember, when my love to care for others began.”
Parini, 37, who has been a registered nurse for 12 years, said the best part of her job is being able to help people through some of their most difficult days.
For Parini, it’s about the relationships, something that is a little more difficult to establish in her current role as a float nurse at HSHS St. John’s Hospital. The float aspect of the job has her in different units, meaning she rarely sees the same patients twice.
It was much different when she worked as a home hospice nurse and developed relationships with patients and families “that would last from weeks to months to sometimes a year depending on their condition, and I definitely miss that.”
Her favorite patient story highlights one of those relationships.
“I had a hospice patient that was at home and didn’t have any close family. She was angry and grouchy most days. Somehow after a few weeks, I was able to lift her spirits,” Parini said. “I spent several months with her as my patient. Some days I would show up for my visit and she’d had cooked a full meal for me and insisted I eat. She would also send me cards to work for like Valentine’s Day, etc. and I would always bring her special things that she wanted, but couldn’t get out to get. We developed a beautiful relationship over time. I loved that lady so much. I’m grateful to have been able to hold space in her life.”
It also was a hospice patient that provided the best piece of career, and possibly life, advice.
“One time, I was so worried about one of my dying patients because she didn’t want to take her pain medication even though I knew she was probably hurting. She kept a smile on her face at all times and she never complained. One day she told me, ‘pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.’ What she was telling me was … ‘yes I’m in pain, but I can tolerate it because I’d rather be awake and fully enjoy my family in my last days.”
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