Health Pro: Grandmother's hospital stay inspired Walters to become nurse
Roger Walters is a Registered Nurse working at Hospice of St. Francis located in Titusville.
Q: Why did you go into this career?
A: As with most nurses, my desire to pursue the field of nursing was birthed from experiencing a loved one being cared for by the most compassionate, loving and caring people in the world; nurses. At age 10, I decided to become a nurse so I could help people — just as my family had been helped when my grandfather spent an entire month in the ICU.
Q: What services do you provide?
A: Hospice provides symptom management and control of discomfort through an interdisciplinary team consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, certified nursing assistants, medical social workers, chaplains, bereavement — including our Northstar program specializing in childhood bereavement — and even massage therapists. Hospice can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the event that there is a change in condition or symptoms of discomfort.
Q: What makes this area of medicine fulfilling for you?
A: With the understanding that many hospice patients deal with disabling discomfort on a daily basis, I experience fulfillment when I get to explain to patients that hospice can assist in managing their symptoms. That leads to the second part of fulfillment; seeing patients spend quality time with their loved ones because hospice has allowed the patient to get back in the driver’s seat of their life rather than allowing symptoms to dictate their daily lives.
Q: When did you realize this was the right medical career path for you?
A: I knew this was the right career for me when I realized that hospice care is about living and not dying. In the words of one of my first hospice patients, “Hospice has been about me living and having the ability to once again enjoy my time with my family. You’ve given me time, more time than any of the doctors could predict.”
This was the moment I realized what hospice really was and what an impact it could have in the lives of patients and families if given the opportunity. When I joined Hospice of St. Francis, I realized I was a part of a team that was making a monumental difference in the lives of the people in our community.
Q: What’s the latest advancement in your field that will benefit patients?
A: In the recent past, palliative care has emerged as a separate specialty in the continuum of care. Palliative care, or the treatment of symptoms, is always a part of hospice. However, palliative care can also be separate from hospice care, and often provides a welcome layer of support as patients seek treatments for complex conditions. Palliative care programs vary across different communities and healthcare systems. Hospice of St. Francis created a palliative program called St. Francis Pathways to Healthcare that offers palliative care consultations in some local hospitals, as well as home visits for ongoing symptom management for patients living in our community.
Q: Best advice for current and potential patients?
A: Hospice is simply a word, and it does not have to be a word that defines your life. Hospice doesn’t take your life away. It can actually empower you to take control of your life. In fact, on average, hospice patients live longer, more comfortable lives than patient who choose not to follow through with hospice care. Do not allow your fear of the unknown keep you or a loved one from having access to a team of highly-qualified symptom management specialists who are available to give medical care in the comfort of your own home.
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Name: Roger Walters, RN
Where you’re based: Hospice of St. Francis in Brevard County. My job within Hospice of St. Francis allows me to assist patients, families and hospital staff at Parrish Medical Center.
Education: Registered Nurse (ADN)
Professional background: I have worked in various areas of nursing during the past 10 years, including hospital in cardiac step-down, ICU and ER departments; nursing home, including nursing management; and multiple roles within hospice in field nursing, admissions and nursing clinical liaison.
Address: 1250-B Grumman Pl Titusville, FL 32780
On the web: http://hospiceofstfrancis.com