Cayman HospiceCare has a new staff member with the arrival of Felicia Burton as a full-time palliative care nurse.
She is the first Caymanian nurse to take on the challenges of hospice care here.
Ms Burton brings with her eight years practical experience at Cayman Islands Hospital plus a nursing degree from Barry University in Miami.
‘I used to love working in the emergency room. I’ve changed to a more family-oriented focus. This job offers the chance to do hands-on care as needed and then work with the family,’ Ms Burton said.
She feels strongly about doing work that helps society, a calling that she in part attributes to her mother, Beulah McField.
‘I don’t know if it’s a family trait, working in the community, but I love that – taking care of people’s medical, social and physical needs,’ Ms Burton said.
The hospice is a non-profit organisation that offers palliative care for people with life-threatening illnesses. All of the services the hospice provides are free.
Previously, she had never considered palliative care as a career option.
‘I wasn’t interested in working in a hospice because of the emotional challenges but now I see when you’re in that environment you focus on the patient’s needs.
‘You know they are suffering but it’s more important to be there for the patient and the family, and meet their needs,’ she said.
At the hospice since 1 November, she has embraced the concept and is finding her way.
‘I prefer to treat a patient as a person and not a patient. I like to get involved. It’s about being there for other people. And you learn so much from them. They bring cheer to you.
‘It’s not about us; it’s about what we can offer the family and the patient. It’s so rewarding to be able to be there for them,’ she said.
Hospice manager John Borgwardt is as enthusiastic about Ms Burton as she is about her new job.
‘We’re thrilled to have Felicia here. She brings a youthful energy coupled with a great deal of professionalism, and has an extraordinary rapport with staff and patients,’ he said.
Ms Burton, 28, has a 10-year-old daughter, Genét, and has been able to strike a balance between work and her own family.
‘My daughter asks questions about my job and I give her a little information at a time. She loves that I’m a nurse.
‘It’s a blessing. I get to take care of my patients’ needs and then I have time for my daughter. I get to do our regular routine at night, so I can do my job and meet my daughter’s needs,’ Ms Burton said.
Time management remains an issue, however.
‘Your phone is never off.,’ she said.
Ms Burton also finds time to teach a youth group and Sunday school at her church, with which she is very involved.
As well as enjoying her patients, she speaks highly of her working environment.
‘I like the people I work with. I’m very, very happy that they’ve given me the opportunity to be a part of the team.
‘And, I’m thankful for the educational opportunity. I’m very grateful to be able to work in this area. Since I’ve started working here, I’ve fallen in love with this job. I’m happy to come to work everyday,’ she said.