Amber Wise began her career in caring as a high-schooler working in the kitchen of a Kansas senior living facility. The Director of Nursing (DON) noticed how Amber interacted with the residents and eventually approached her.
The DON told Amber that she was amazing with the residents and made her an offer: The facility would pay for her education and training, and Amber would work on the floor as a CNA. Amber took her up on her offer and worked there for five years, two on the floor and the rest in therapeutic rehab. She loved the idea that her care had a direct impact on the quality of life for her patients.
Rehab is ‘”you’re better and on your way.” You build relationships with patients, but not the connection you build with hospice. It’s so much more personal.
Relocating to Colorado in 2011, Amber worked in a local care facility and then joined a chiropractor’s office doing rehab. In 2016, her connection with an Agape employee (who also thought Amber was amazing) led her to apply for a CNA position. Amber’s been with Agape since.
While she valued her work as a rehab therapist, she says, “Rehab is ‘you’re better and on your way.’ You build relationships with patients, but not the connection you build with hospice. It’s so much more personal.”
Hospice CNA’s can step in and give the family a break, knowing the person they love is not alone and with someone who will provide attentive, compassionate care. Amber notes that CNA involvement means patients are treated as individuals at the end of life.
“We get so much thanks from families for coming in, making sure their family member is clean and cared for,” she says.
Amber says she couldn’t imagine going back to working in a facility or hospital, because there’s nothing like working for hospice, and especially Agape.
“Agape wants to make you a better you.” She explains, “The staff is checking in on you, making sure you’re okay. There’s support from leadership—they are on your side and there for what you need.”
The work is rewarding, and it can also be tough. The hardest aspect of hospice for Amber is caring for people who are younger. To recharge and recoup her emotional energy, Amber unplugs totally from work: no phone or computer. She loves getting out into the mountains and fresh air, her “happy place,” with her almost two-year-old son.
Amber says she wishes people had more experience working with hospice. “There’s nothing like it. The support is amazing…management, nurses, everyone. You bring people to the ‘bright side,’ they’ll never turn back.”