An Interview with Jason Libby, HSM Nurse Practitioner
Interview with Jason Libby, Hospice of Southern Maine Nurse Practitioner.
What’s the general reaction from people when you tell them where you work?
It’s 50/50. Half respond with “Oh my gosh, how can you do that type of work,” and the other half with “Wow, thank goodness for people like you.” Universally, though, it is always really well respected. I’ve yet to meet anyone with a bad hospice experience.
What’s your job like on a day- to-day basis?
My day is split between seeing patients at the Gosnell House and patients in the Home Program for consults or recertification visits. When I’m with a patient, I just try to get their story - not their diagnosis, but who they are, what their symptoms are, and what they want so that I can assess what we can do to help them. I ask them a lot of questions about themselves, their background, what they did for work. I try to get them to talk about the things they want to talk about. I try to be empathetic to what they’re going through at their very worst time.
Is there a specific experience you’ve had that has had a particularly strong influence on you as a hospice worker?
There is one particular instance that I will never forget. If I forget everything else, I will remember this. My patient was a young guy with advancing cancer. He was easy to be with, and he had a lot of bad luck. I was at a home visit with him one day, and as I walked into his living room, I noticed a pair of little girl’s pants hanging on a chair – his daughter’s. My twin daughters, at that time, had the very same pair of pants. It was not until that moment that I really understood what he was losing. It was a valuable life lesson for me, one that I have not forgotten, and will not forget.
What’s your favorite part about being a Nurse Practitioner at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House?
It’s satisfying work. It’s important and it needs to be done. People need guidance, they need help, someone to tell them what to expect, and tell them the options. I’m able to help them with decisions. As a Nurse Practitioner, I am able to see this work through the eyes of both nurses and physicians, and I think this unique position better enables me to provide holistic care to our patients. What I do is just a piece of the bigger picture, but being able to come in and do that piece makes a huge difference.
Just what is it about working with hospice patients that you like so much?
I used to work with trauma and neurosurgery patients, and I was able to do a lot of good, but this work in Hospice has brought me more satisfaction than I could have imagined. So on a personal level, hospice work is very gratifying. I’m able to achieve goals for my patients, making them more comfortable. Primarily, what we do here is practice medicine, but with a different purpose. We’re trying to keep our patient’s stress in regards to testing at a minimum. By the time they get to us, they’ve been through the ringer medically, and now, above all else, the focus is comfort.