Brooks selected to state Hospice Dream Team
Gloria Brooks has been a nurse for 25 years, but found her true calling six years ago when she started working for Hospice of Lenawee. Her enthusiasm for her work and her love of her patients inspired Brooks’ supervisor to nominate her for the Hospice of Michigan Dream Team. Brooks was selected as the registered nurse representative on the Dream Team.
“I was flabbergasted,” Brooks said of the honor.
“They look for exceptional staff members that stand out among all the rest,” said Patient Care Coordinator, Linda Anderson, RN, BSN. “I felt Gloria measured up to that expectation. She’s well-recognized within our community as an excellent hospice nurse.”
Like many in the medical community, at one time the concept of death was a challenge for Brooks. “I was never comfortable with death and dying,” Brooks said.
Her first experience with hospice completely changed her outlook. As her father was dying, Brooks’ parents moved in with her family. When the care she was able to provide was not enough, Hospice was called to assist in caring for her father. She saw first hand the positive effect hospice had on her father and the entire family.
The hospice philosophy changed Brooks impression of the end of life. She answered an ad for Hospice of Lenawee and was hired as a team nurse. “I truly wish I had done it sooner,” said Brooks.
She is part of a home care team and visits between four and six patients a day. “I do my thing,” Brooks said. “I see people when they need me. You drive your care from what they want.”
“I can’t tell you the number of times that a family has said they want the nurse Gloria Brooks,” Anderson said, adding these families do not know Brooks personally, just through word of mouth.
Brooks said her personal goal is to provide patients with the ability to do what they want.
“She works really hard if she knows something is really important for a person’s end of life goals,” said Anderson.
The end of life has become a time of living rather than dying for Brooks, and that hospice philosophy is what she shares with her patients and their families.
“We’re there to make their lives good,” Brooks said. “Death can be a beautiful thing.”
She would like to have the chance to work with people for a longer time, believing it would allow for better quality of life for her patients. Too many people associate her work with medication and the last days of the seriously ill, and that is not how Brooks views her job.
“It’s always about hope,” Brooks said. “It’s always about living.”
Her work takes a burden off family members, allowing them a respite as they care for loved ones. Brooks is part of a team that includes four other nurses, home health aides, spiritual care, a social worker, a volunteer coordinator and nursing supervisors.
Anderson said Brooks has extensive knowledge of how to deal with different situations and different personalities, with her main goal to make sure family requests are met. “She truly represents our hospice philosophy,” said Anderson. “It’s not about dying, it’s about how you live. Live the best you can with the life you have left.”
Brooks is a happy person at peace with death as a part of life. “I am rewarded every day,” she said. “It’s truly a privilege to be part of people’s lives.”