Saturday, January 20, 2018

The RiverStone Health team for Stillwater County. Pictured in the back row, from the left, are: Mary Anne Wetzel (RN), Roxanne Allen (supervisor), and Terri Steinbrink (chaplin).  Pictured in the front, from the left, are: Melissa Nieskens (home health aide), Donna McClure (RN), Heidi Lundin (RN), and Tim Warburton (social worker).

Hospice nurse calls it a career

For the last 20 years, Donna McClure has been a hospice nurse with RiverStone Health in Stillwater County. As of Jan. 1, 2018, though, she will begin a new chapter of her life – retirement.

TIME FOR A CHANGE OF PACE
Two decades ago, McClure was looking to try something new after spending 15 years in critical care nursing. A change of pace seemed to fit her move to Stillwater County.
McClure had trained a nurse in the intensive care unit who had moved to hopsice work, and he told McClure that while being a hospice nurse may not have all the perks, it feels like you’re doing the right thing. That really resonated with McClure.
By the time she interviewed for her position, pieces and connections began to fall into place for McClure, and she felt like the hospice job was meant to be.

THE LIFE OF A HOSPICE NURSE
For several years, McClure was the only hospice nurse for not only Stillwater County, but also a part of Carbon County. This meant a lot of traveling and many busy days.
She did have some help from backup nurses, and McClure specifically mentioned Sonja Windecker as a key support person who could always be counted upon.
Travel conditions are expected to remain difficult all week, much like they have been recently.
Between last Wednesday, Dec. 20, and last Friday, Dec. 23, there were 32 crashes reported to the Stillwater County dispatch, with the majority occurring on I-90. Of those, at least six involved some kind of road blockage, one required I-90 traffic rerouting, one involved a school bus with children on it and at least five were rollovers.
When Compassus Hospice began serving the county, McClure was no longer the only hospice nurse, but she continued to put the same amount of energy into her job.
The best part of being a hospice nurse, according to McClure, is visiting with patients and their families. She learned something new at every place, whether it was how to be a more effective nurse or invaluable life lessons.
McClure described how it is “rewarding to be able to be involved in someone’s life at such an intimate time in their life.”
She feels privileged to have worked with every person she has had the opportunity to get to know, and what McClure will miss most during retirement is, in her own words, “seeing my folks.”
Roxanne Allen, of RiverStone Health, described McClure’s work: “She worked for 20 years as a hospice nurse, providing education and support to patients and their families day and night. No matter what time they called, they were able to talk to Donna. That kind of dedication and work ethic is one in a million.”
She continued, saying, “RiverStone Health Hospice can’t say enough of our appreciation and love for Donna as a nurse, friend and colleague. Donna’s absence leaves a void – she will be missed.”

WHAT’S NEXT
McClure plans to enjoy her newfound free time during retirement to relax and spend time visiting her family.
Three registered nurses will take over McClure’s RiverStone Health services in Stillwater County – Mary Anne Wetzel, Heidi Lundin, and Brenda Schultze.