Inside Athena: R.I. Hospice Nurse Demonstrates Empathy and Team Collaboration

Inside Athena: R.I. Hospice Nurse Demonstrates Empathy and Team Collaboration

WARWICK, R.I. — Paula Simone notes empathy is a key characteristic in her role as a Nurse Case Manager with Athena Hospice of Rhode Island.

She joined the team a year ago to help hospice patients and their families through the end-of-life process.

“I coordinate with the entire team… social worker, volunteer coordinator, the aides, clinical team… and come up with the most comprehensive plan of care for the patient that addresses all of their needs including spiritual, social, comfort, and works with the family as well to make sure everyone’s involved,” she said. “Also to provide education to the patient and the family about what’s happening at the moment and what we anticipate is going to happen because end-of-life can vary for everybody.”

She said it’s a rewarding industry because “having worked in other areas of nursing, you actually feel appreciated for everything that you do for patients and families. They’re always very thankful.”

“When you’re helping someone stay comfortable, it’s a result you can see,” she said.

Simone travels throughout the state and has helped roughly 40 families throughout the past year. She often asks herself “What if it was my loved one?” and “What would I want someone to say to me?” when thinking about how she interacts with the families.

“What I think is really important for families is consistency. That’s with communication especially. If you say I’ll see you at this day at this time, you better be there at this day and that time,” she said.

Every case makes an impact. She started her healthcare career in dementia care and fell in love with it. She transitioned to long-term care and then nursing leadership but, after the pandemic, she decided it was time for a change and went into hospice care.

“Paula is phenomenal as a hospice nurse in all aspects of the craft. She often goes above and beyond to ensure quality in every component of her work,  and is the model team player,” Executive Director Jim Pedchenko said.

“I really like the collaboration. Everyone contributes their own important piece to what’s going on with every patient and family and I like being able to talk to the entire team,” Simone said.

Simone wants each family to know they matter and that the team is here to help. One way she does that is by being gently direct with new patients and families when they join to be clear on what is going on and what to expect. She said families often appreciate that because of the clear communication. While it can be overwhelming, Simone encourages her families to ask questions, reach out, and know they are not alone in this journey.

Follow Athena Health Care Systems on X and Facebook & Athena Hospice of Rhode Island on Facebook. Interested in a career with Athena? Click here!


February 1, 2024 A Healthier Approach To Caring, Inside Athena