Residential Hospice Nurse
Natalie Osendorf believes that her innate passion for nursing comes from being surrounded by a family of nurses and compassionate caregivers. In 2014, she got a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Our Lady of Peace after her first year in college. Her original goal of becoming a CNA was to simply to get bedside experience before pursuing the nursing program at the University of Northwestern. Little did she know, this decision would help her realize her calling to Hospice and Palliative Care and find a new avenue of nursing she wouldn’t have originally imagined herself in. She had no experience with death and dying when beginning her job at OLPH but says her first shift felt “providential.” “Everything happens for a reason,” says Natalie. “God led me down this path and I wouldn’t have received this level of experience anywhere else.”
Natalie says OLP caregivers are holistic and team oriented. They involve patients in their care, from helping to decide on how they want to control their pain to deciding to sit up and play cards. They make an uncontrollable situation controllable. “We find the balance between control and quality of life, and our standard of care sets us apart. Deeply rooted on a spiritual level with deep morals and values and our acceptance of meeting everyone where they are, we care for them, regardless of race, gender, and economic status. And, we provide holistic care at no cost in our residential hospice home.”
Believing it is human nature to avoid death, Natalie says accepting it as part of life makes the process as beautiful for patients and families as possible. “We give our patients daily baths and tuck them into pressed sheets. We provide comfort and make everything okay until the end. Caring for our patients is rewarding.”
Natalie wants families to know that if you choose Our Lady of Peace, you will have full confidence that your loved one will be cared for, prayed for, and they will have dignity. “We recognize that we’re caring for souls here. Families can count on care from an entire unit of very caring, empathetic, compassionate nurses by nature and by training. We have skills that come innately to us. It’s not about the money; we’re working to fulfill our passions. And, we’re here for families beyond their loved one’s death.”
When asked if it sometimes becomes difficult to care for the dying, Natalie said she tries not to go there in her brain. She says, “I’m sometimes the last person people see as they take their last breath. I’ve touched them, and as a spiritual person, I’ve prayed for them. I’m going to have a lot of friends in heaven.”
During National Nurses Month, Our Lady of Peace is proud to honor our hospice nurses, and the compassionate end of life care they provide to patients and their families. All OLP nurses have taken the extra step of training and certification in the care of Alzheimer’s patients. Often referred to as “midwives of the soul,” in addition to medical care, these dedicated people have a gift of love and compassion for the dying.