GREENVILLE – If you had told Amy Huecker, of Greenville, 10-years ago that she would one day become a hospice nurse, she wouldn’t have believed you. She started with the nonprofit agency in 2003 as a teenager working as a Greenville High School co-op student. That internship turned into a part-time position, then eventually a full time job.
She hadn’t planned to be a nurse, she explained. “I concentrated on business and planned on being an administrative assistant.” She has done a variety of tasks at State of the Heart, an agency which cares for patients and families in eastern Indiana and western Ohio who are confronting a life limiting illness.
As she performed her various jobs, Huecker, 27, interacted with the clinical staff and sometimes with patients and families. One of her assignments was to bring cards of thanks from families to the clinical staff meetings.
“I read what those families had to say about the care of their loved one, often referring to them as ‘angels’.” She stated, “I saw how helpful our staff had been. I realized at that point that I wanted to be a part of that team caring for patients and their families.”
She began preparing to attend Edison State to pursue becoming a registered nurse in 2007. On Dec. 13, 2012, after numerous breaks from school, she was officially “pinned” as a registered nurse. She will be part of the clinical team at the State of the Heart Hospice Unit at Wayne Healthcare.
Upon graduation, which culminated years of hard work, caring for four children and working a full time job, she said, “I didn’t cry…..but I did a lot of head shaking. I had trouble believing it all.” She added, “I had so many obstacles, but I was so determined that this is what I wanted to do.” Her family, she said, “served as motivation for her. I wanted to show them that I was able to fulfill my dream to help people, and serve as an example to them.”
Working in various capacities, she explained, helped her have a better understanding of the many departments that work together to provide hospice care to patients and families. “I have a better appreciation for all of the various departments and the people who do vital work in them,” she said.
She delivered the speech for her nursing graduation class. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to say, but then I read something about teen pregnancies. And, since I was a teenager when I had my first child, I noted that only 1.5 percent of teen moms go on to college and earn a degree before the age of 30. I was included in that 1.5 percent. I was proud that I had overcome the perception that teen moms could not go on and make a success of their lives and I wanted to make that point.”
A major factor in her continuing education efforts, she said was the management support she found at State of the Heart. “It was great what they have done for me,” she added. “They have always taken care of me and have changed my life. I am so grateful for their support. They are like family to me.”
Kim Livingston, team coordinator at the Greenville office of State of the Heart, has been Huecker’s supervisor for the past five years. “Ever since I have known her, she has wanted to be a nurse. I admire her dedication and perseverance to do what she has done. We have all taken her under our wing and given her support in her efforts,” she added. “She will make an excellent nurse. She has compassion and empathy for what our patients and families are going through. It has been fun watching her grow as a hospice employee and now see her at the point of joining the team of clinical caregivers.”
Huecker said she is looking forward to working in the inpatient unit at the hospital. “I want to make a difference, and I want to apply myself and build on my skills as a nurse,” she said. One day, she added, “I hope to see my name on a card of thanks, realizing I have made a difference in the life of a patient and their family.”
State of the Heart Hospice has offices in Greenville, Coldwater and Portland. For more information about any of the services provided by the agency, visit the web site at www.stateoftheheartcare.org.
|Amy Huecker sits in front of Greenville High School as a teen co-op worker at State of the Heart, and pictured as she is today, a State of the Heart Registered Nurse.|