Hospice nurse Britney Weller says an experience to connect with a hospice patient changed her career path and she’s forever grateful for the experience.
Paradigm Health hospice nurse Britney Weller says her own handwriting marks the final goodbye thoughts of a woman whose breast cancer had returned and in her final days wanted her children to know just how she felt about them.
“At the time, I was working as a volunteer coordinator and met a woman in her 40s who was facing her final days of metastasized breast cancer,” shares current hospice nurse Weller. “She was too weak to write the ‘forever’ letters to her children and so she would relay her thoughts and I would write the letters to her children – then both in high school – for her.”
Weller shares that it is this true and special connection to patients that made her realize her passion was nursing and, specifically, hospice care. She returned to school and earned her nursing degree in late 2019. She had previously worked as a hospital technician and then transitioned to nursing care at that same hospital.
“I knew that Britney was someone who would be a fantastic fit for our Paradigm Health hospice team,” share Paradigm Health hospice nurse Meredith Briles. “As soon as I knew she had received her license, I reached out.”
After interviews with Paradigm Health CEO Jeff Jarecki and other leadership team members, Weller says she instantly knew it was the place for her.
“It’s impressive,” Weller says. “The whole leadership team is fair, realistic and has the best-interest of their employees at heart – it is a great culture. They are constantly engaging with us and asking for feedback and for ideas and they truly listen and then put responses into action. In this industry, that is really rare.”
Mostly, Weller shares she is drawn to the vulnerability of the moment in hospice care. She wants patients and families to know that hospice care is more than sedation and sleep. For her, it is the opportunity to connect with the patient and the family through support and comfort throughout the process. And, she adds, it is really about the family, and she hopes she can facilitate their closure so that they can grieve appropriately.
“Most people say it takes a special person to go into hospice care,” Weller says. “I think that is true because I never think of it as ‘going to work’ every day that I do go to work. It is a mindset and a heartfelt desire to help others.”
When Weller met her current husband, she was a single mother working hard and committed to her two young sons. He encouraged her to return to school and take the time for herself so that she could truly become all that she was meant to be. He worked overtime to help pay for her schooling and encouraged her every step of the way.
“It hasn’t always been easy but I’m so grateful he believed in me,” Weller says. “I’m doing what I love now and couldn’t be happier.”
Besides work, her family life is busy with moving to a new home, watching kids play sports and taking the occasional minute for herself for a manicure or to just get outside and enjoy nature.
“When I walked across the stage at graduation, I could hear my kids say: That’s my mom,” Weller says tearfully. “I’m forever grateful for that opportunity and for setting an example for my kids that you can do anything you put your mind too. And I’m grateful to the woman who allowed my hand to become an extension of her own — I’ll never forget that feeling and I’m able to feel it every day I go to work now as a hospice nurse.”