Friday, April 15, 2016

Arlene McCormack: 'A vision to be a comfort and a companion'

As we get ready for the 2016 Employee Recognition Banquet on April 21, we asked our colleagues about what drives their passion for health care. Here is one story of Passion and Purpose at CoxHealth:

Arlene McCormack

Oxford Hospice

Growing up as a child in Belize, Arlene McCormack saw her grandmother care for people at all stages of life.

“There were really no nurses,” says Arlene. “My grandmother delivered babies – she did everything. And when someone would die she would bathe them, dress them – whatever was needed. And I was always there with her. So that’s been in me since then.”

When Arlene came to America, it was still her dream to be a nurse. She went to school and started a career as a certified nursing assistant, then became a licensed practicing nurse, then an RN. She worked in all areas of nursing. Along the way she became a hospice volunteer and that’s when her purpose to care for others turned into a passion.

“I saw how the nurses cared for the patients and I knew that is what I wanted to do. My God has turned my knowledge into a vision to be a comfort and a companion, to love those who are leaving this life and to go with dignity and peace.”

Arlene retired a few years ago, but has returned to hospice care as a case manager with Oxford Hospice. She wants to educate people about the value of hospice and encourage other nurses, especially those new to the profession, to consider hospice care as their career.

“This area of nursing is invaluable in our world today. And hospice is about living, it’s not about dying. People hear the word hospice and the first thing they think of is death. I would give anything to change that.”