BJC HealthCare

Nurse says working at Evelyn’s House is an honor and a blessing

It’s the staff that makes Evelyn’s House special

Working with hospice patients is more than a job for nurse Diane McBroom – it’s a calling. And being able to work at her calling in the newly opened Evelyn’s House has been a “blessing,” she says. 

McBroom came to nursing in her 40s – relatively late, she notes. But from the beginning, she’s felt pulled to end-of-life care. She had previously worked for another company as a home hospice nurse, learning “the basics” of end-of-life care. When she applied for a medical/surgical nursing job with BJC this past December, the human resources representative, seeing her background in hospice, asked if she’d be willing to wait a few months to work at BJC’s new hospice house.

For a week, she thought about and prayed over the decision, finally calling back to agree to an interview with Evelyn’s House nurse manager Amy Jacobs. McBroom soon became part of the Evelyn’s House team.

Though the facility is filled with amenities meant to comfort and support patients and their families through a difficult time in their lives, it’s the staff that makes Evelyn’s House special, says McBroom. 

Like McBroom, many Evelyn’s House staffers view their work as “a personal commitment.” That results in everyone working together as a team, she says.

“If someone needs help with a patient, for instance, our lead nurse Natalie (Mansouri) rolls up her sleeves and helps. Or our manager, Amy Jacobs, gets in there alongside everyone,” McBroom says. When on call, physicians and nurse practitioners, including medical director Patrick White, MD, will typically call in proactively during the evening, to check patient statuses. 

Clinical staff, support staff, managers, volunteers – all those involved with Evelyn’s House are dedicated to the comfort and support patients and families, offering compassion, dignity and respect in all situations, McBroom says. 

This can mean monitoring an unresponsive patient very carefully to make sure they aren’t showing any signs of discomfort or pain. 

It can mean calming a frightened little girl by letting her use a stethoscope to hear her grandfather’s and her own heartbeat. 

It can mean brushing an expired patient’s hair or washing the body with warm water before the funeral home arrives – because no one ever should be subjected to a cold bath. 

It can mean washing a soiled nightgown so a granddaughter can keep her promise to her grandmother.

“It’s not a task to do things that make patients and families feel peaceful and supported. It’s an honor,” McBroom says. 

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