Following Her Calling: From Teen Volunteer to Home Hospice Case Manager

It is rare at such a young age to know what you want to do with your life. But for Kelly Phipps she knew since elementary school that she wanted to be a nurse and help people facing end of life. Her drive and passion led her to Hospice & Community Care, not once, but twice, as a volunteer and now a valued member of the Hospice team.

Her experience with end-of-life care started at a young age when her grandfather and third grade teacher were diagnosed with cancer. This was the start of her interest in pursuing a career in nursing with a concentration in end-of-life care.

“I remember visiting my grandpa in the Intensive Care Unit during his final days,” commented Kelly. “I was in awe of the tender care that he received from the nurses during the last days of his life. I knew then that this was my calling and I had to be a part of this very special nursing care.”

Kelly’s passion for helping people coping with a life-limiting illness continued while she was in middle school. She became a teen volunteer with Hospice of Lancaster County’s ‘Soulmates’ program, as well as lent her time at The Essa Flory Center on Good Drive, the location for the organization’s Home Hospice program.

“The time I spent in the Inpatient Center volunteering confirmed my decision to work in end-of-life care,” shared Kelly. “My plans were to go to nursing school with a goal of working at Hospice of Lancaster County, now Hospice & Community Care.” Kelly’s plan would come full circle when she started her nursing career at Hospice in April 2006.

Currently, Kelly serves as a Home Hospice case manager where she works with other team members to coordinate the care of patients at end of life. “We focus on comfort and quality of life,” shared Kelly. She also worked in Hospice & Community Care’s Inpatient Center, where she started as a volunteer. Kelly also served on the Palliative Care Team at WellSpan York Hospital.

Kelly has had many memorable experiences over her last 14 years with Hospice & Community Care. But one that stands out the most was the first time she helped a mother crawl into bed with her terminally ill child. “Assisting a family member complete this simple act with their loved one and witnessing the peace that this can bring to both the patient and family member is just incredible,” shared Kelly.

She shared that she is blessed to work with fellow team members who also share a passion for end-of-life care. “We share the common bond of knowing how fragile life is and how beautiful the ending of a life can be. I truly love what I do and I am so proud to represent Hospice & Community Care on a daily basis.”

“I know that I am valued by the administration at Hospice & Community Care and by the community,” commented Kelly. “Those of us giving this level of care need support, too, and I am reminded often that my employer values what I do. The backing of our community is also pretty indescribable and an honor to be a part of.”