National Nursing Week: Hospice nurse recognized for compassion

Published 1:08 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

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Jenna Fadden has always been passionate about helping others.

After experiencing a lot of loss at a young age and then seeing her grandmother in hospice, she said she was drawn to be a nurse.

“All of the team involved from Mayo hospice were truly angels and were there for our family at one of the hardest times in our lives,” she said. “It’s something you never forget; they impacted our family in such a positive way, leaving such an impact. I knew I wanted to be that to others.”

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She started in health care about nine years ago at St. John’s Lutheran Community and has been a hospice nurse now for two years in June.

Hospice works with patients with a terminal illness who have a life expectancy of six months or less. She said the program is focused on a comfort plan of care, so their true purpose is to help their patients remain comfortable from potential burdens of symptoms that may arise from disease, such as pain or shortness of breath.

Fadden, of Freeborn, said hospice nurses not only help in managing physical symptoms but also mental, emotional, spiritual and social needs. It is about “providing compassionate care and support in a very challenging time in life,” she said.

Hospice nurses also try to help patients and their families meet their goals.

While the job has its challenges, she said it also is very rewarding. She most enjoys being a support for patients and their families and forming relationships with them. She also likes helping the patients live their best lives with a higher quality of life.

“Wanting to help and guide them through every step of the way in one of the hardest moments in their lives truly leaves such an impact,” Fadden said. “You meet pretty amazing people and hear pretty inspiring life stories.”

One of her favorite quotes that speaks about the importance of her job is, “The end of life deserves as much beauty, care and respect as the beginning.”

She estimated she works with an average of two to four patients a day and said that at any given time, she juggles a caseload of eight to 10 patients. Patients are in Albert Lea and as far away as Austin and Owatonna and south close to the Iowa border.

Fadden at the end of March was recognized with The DAISY Award by The DAISY Foundation for her work as a nurse. According to the The DAISY Foundation website, the organization recognizes nurses who go above and beyond not only to provide patients and families with excellence in clinical care but also compassion.

Fadden said the recognition was a surprise and was tied to a patient who had to be urgently admitted over a weekend. The woman was in her last days and was worried that she would not go to heaven unless she was baptized. Fadden connected with a local pastor and was able to coordinate getting both the woman and her husband baptized.

“It was such a relief for her,” she said. “It was a very sweet moment and very rewarding.”

The awards are given out quarterly.

In her free time, Fadden said she enjoys spending time with family, friends and their pets. Their life is about to get busier as she and her husband have their first child on the way, a little baby boy, arriving in June.

She also enjoys being outside when the weather is nice and loves crafts and decorating.