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Blog: Hospice Views

Nurse Case Manager Staff Spotlight: Pamela “PJ” Storley, RN

undefinedA Calling to Hospice

Pamela “PJ” Storley was inspired to become a nurse through serving as a devoted caregiver for her husband. “He always noticed how much I loved taking care of people, and encouraged me to go to nursing school.”

PJ has specialized in hospice since receiving her nursing degree and believes she was born to provide care at this important time in a patient’s life. “We reinforce a patient’s dignity and control, and help the family understand that this journey is a blessing for the patient and family.”

The Caregiver Perspective

PJ joined Crossroads Hospice in 2006 in Oklahoma City. “My husband had recently passed away, and I had just graduated from nursing school. When I joined the team I fell in love immediately.”

Having served as a caregiver for her father, husband and mother-in-law, PJ connects with the families she serves on a deeply personal level.  “I’ve been there. I’ve been on this journey and worked with other hospices who have told my family there was nothing left to do. But we never say we can’t do anything else. We say, ‘How can we help you?’ It makes all of the difference.”

First-Line Advocate

As a nurse case manager, PJ serves as the first set of eyes and ears for the care team from the physicians to the social workers. “We set up a care plan with the patient and family to meet their needs, and serve as the liaison to members of the care team when there is a change in those needs whether it’s a physician, chaplain, or social worker. We are the first-line advocates.”

PJ hopes that more patients will consider hospice earlier in their care so they can maintain a higher quality of life for a longer period of time. “We are not there to help people transition earlier — we are there to help people be more comfortable until that time comes. We help patients enjoy more time with family, or do more activities they find meaningful. One of my patients even worked in her office for a day because her pain was in control because that’s what she wanted to do.”

Serving Families, Now and Later

Before coming to Crossroads Hospice, PJ completed a preceptorship and served a patient with a hereditary disease, supporting his 24-year-old daughter through her father’s passing. Two years later, when his daughter needed hospice care for the same disease, she sought PJ’s care at Crossroads. “To be there for her like I was for her father, and to know that I was the one who she wanted to care for her was the most awesome experience in the world.”

She is currently serving a patient whose mother was on service with Crossroads a year ago in June. “These families touch me because they remember the care I was able to give their loved one and trust me to give it to them and to the loved ones they will leave behind. It’s such an honor to be allowed into the lives of the patients and families.”

When there is no family member present, PJ and her team rise to the occasion to understand patients’ needs and make simple wishes come true. “A patient was released to a facility after being incarcerated because he’d reached the end of his life. He had just one wish – to pet a dog one last time. With a few calls and in just 30 minutes we had three dogs at his bedside and access to 10 more dogs if we needed them. That’s just one of example of why our site is so awesome.”

Honoring Our Nurse Case Managers during Nurses Month:   

We’re proud to honor PJ as our Crossroads Hospice “Staff Spotlight” recipient during May, National Nurses Month, and recognize our nurse case managers social workers who are caring more for our patients and families each day, such as: Alice Waley, RN, in Atlanta; Teresa Semancik, RN, in Cleveland; Jesse Angelakos, RN, in Kansas City; Samantha Hartsfield, RN, in Memphis; and Amy Joy Smith, RN, in Philadelphia.