NEWS: A shared commitment to the greater good and a growing need for trained hospice professionals led Delta Care Rx, a nationally known hospice pharmaceutical provider, to partner with Four Seasons Compassion For Life of N.C., in the recent development and implementation of an innovative 12-week “Hospice Nurse Internship Program.”
The forward-looking collaboration introduces nurse graduates to the day-to-day operations of Four Seasons’ nationally recognized hospice care and nurse leadership case management, much in the way Delta Care Rx offers on and off-campus training to pharmacists.
“Nurses and pharmacists work closely from day to day to manage the unique needs of hospice patients,” says Drew Mihalyo, president and chief operating officer at Delta Care Rx. “In hospice, the delivery of care can be quite different from that of other patient settings.”
Educating the next generation of nurses while meeting anticipated shortfalls for trained hospice caregivers is a priority, says Derek Groves, vice president of sustainable development for Four Seasons Compassion for Life.
“The internship is a great way to attract promising young nurse leaders, show them what we do, and introduce them to the high quality of hospice care that Four Seasons provides,” he says. “We are excited about the results made possible by Delta Care Rx’s sponsorship.”
The grant from partner Delta Care Rx has made it possible to introduce hospice as a specialty to promising new graduates, says Renee Barnwell, a registered nurse and Four Seasons director of professional development.
“Prior to graduation, many students in both pharmacy and nursing have infrequently experienced training specific to the needs of hospice or palliative care patients,” says Mihalyo.
To meet this need, the Four Seasons nurse intern training initiative includes classroom studies, active learning, and hands-on patient care to foster the competence and independence needed for quality hospice patient care, says Barnwell.
“Young nurses breathe new life into the profession,” she says. “If we can introduce them to hospice and end of life care, the benefit is that we can get them into the specialty earlier in their careers.”
Increasing the numbers of exceptional nurses is particularly important at the present time, she explains. The hospice industry includes an aging work force, with an average age for nurses well into their 40s, and significant numbers reaching retirement.
“New graduates bring intense energy to an organization. If you could bottle it, we’d be rich: passion for learning, openness to learning new things, and excitement about nursing,” Barnwell says.
As the interns complete the 12 week program, they transition into permanent positions as nurse case managers ready to manage patient care plans.
“We’ve been careful to select nurses with a new passion for end of life care who want to spend a career within the field,” she says. “The nurse interns chosen for the program demonstrated exceptional nursing skills, and have the communications abilities to elicit patient goals and collaboratively develop plans of care.”
The “hospice heart” is unmistakable, she says.
“We look for that special quality in nurses that draws them to hospice,” says Barnwell. “We encourage them as leaders, and work to ensure their future success.”
About Delta Care Rx:
Delta Care Rx – http://www.deltacarerx.com/ – transforms and improves the hospice pharmacy industry through business transparency, innovation, extreme customer service, and the maintenance of vital community-pharmacy relationships. As a pharmacist owned, privately held provider, Delta Care Rx sets the industry benchmark for pharmacy benefit management, on-demand pharmacist services, and hospice tailored electronic prescribing.
About Four Seasons Compassion For Life:
Four Seasons Compassion for Life – https://www.fourseasonscfl.org/ – is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a dedicated team of health care professionals, social workers, spiritual care professionals and volunteers deeply committed to its mission of “Co-Creating the Care Experience.” Nationally known for its leadership in innovative, quality hospice and palliative care services, and serving western North Carolina, the agency is a former Circle of Life award recipient from the American Medical Association.
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