“I wasn’t thinking ahead then. I was just looking at the fact that a chapter in my life had closed,” he explained. But, another door opened. He had served for several years as a volunteer fireman and EMT for the Ansonia Fire Department, starting when he was in high school. With Corning Glass willing to pay for two years of education after he left the company, he decided to attend the Miami Valley Career Technology Center where he earned a degree as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 2003.
“I knew nurses were in demand, and I wanted to do something I liked and would provide me with good financial support,” he said. “And, I believe strongly that we are often pushed in the right directions in our life. I am a compassionate person and had an interest in caring for the elderly.” For him, nursing was the right decision.
Alexander also had some connections in recent years with hospice caregivers. “My mother was in a nursing home and I would often interact with the hospice nurses and aides and that made a strong impression on me,” he said. Later, his brother would be under hospice care and he saw first-hand the care that his brother received. “My brother died receiving the respect and best of care possible at the end of his life,” Alexander said.
After graduation, he was employed at nursing homes, he explained, and often found himself wanting to give more time to residents, but because of the large number of residents, could not do so. He was becoming frustrated, he explained.
Alexander said he is particularly impressed with the support that hospice care provides family members. “When you have someone you love who is seriously ill, there is a lot of stress and there are a lot of decisions to be made,” he said. “In the case with my brother, hospice was there easing our minds, answering questions and understanding what we were going through. It was a great help.”
At the urging of his wife, Corinna, he applied for a job at State of the Heart Hospice, a nonprofit agency that cares for patients and families in eastern Indiana and western Ohio who are confronting a life limiting illness. In January of this year, he was hired by State of the Heart.
“Rick was meant to be in hospice care,” said State of the Heart co-worker and family friend Anna Price. “He is a wonderful, caring and genuine guy. Our patients have certainly taken a liking to him. He provides a lot of reassurance to our families. Rick goes above and beyond to give the patient and family whatever they need.” Price, an LPN, helped Alexander in his orientation process with State of the Heart.
“I love what I do now,” Alexander said. “If you had told me 15 years ago that I would be working as a hospice nurse, I wouldn’t have believed it. It is great to find something you like to do, and it makes you a happier person. And, working at State of the Heart is great as staff is friendly and I almost feel as if I am part of a family.”
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