Employee Spotlight: Joan Lee

Name, title: Joan Lee, Bereavement Social Worker

How long have you worked here?
23 years.

What made you decide to work here?
I wanted to work at a place that provided very dedicated care and I was in the process of switching jobs. I drove by Angela Hospice before they even had the driveway in and I said, “hospice.” I had also just lost my 46-year-old dear friend. I also had a lot of losses in my life so I had experience with death.

So as I passed Angela Hospice I thought, “Now that would be a place where there would be dedicated people working…it would be more like a vocation.”

Sister Giovanni and two other social workers interviewed me, and I was offered the position.

How had you heard of Angela Hospice?
I had never heard of it before but I was just driving by and the whole concept of hospice – and after the death of my friend hospice was already in my head – so when I saw the word “hospice” I thought, “I think I can do that.”

So I asked the mother of the dear friend who had died – who had known me since I was 16 – I asked her what she thought, whether I could do that type of work, and another best friend who would always tell me the truth, and they both said yes. Then I applied.

What’s a typical day like for you?
We pretty much see clients one after the other. We also have the support groups and we have to do phone work assessments. So we’re pretty busy. That’s pretty much what we do.

What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
My favorite part is the people. Not only my clients, who are very special and very dear – and this is a very gratifying job that we have here in bereavement. It’s very fulfilling because we’re able to guide and companion these people through this very terrible time in their lives to the point where they can live happily again. I think that’s very gratifying.

But beyond that, the people who work here are very similar in nature. Their goal is to provide dedicated care and everybody here is pretty doggone nice. That’s the best part about Angela Hospice.

Joan with fellow bereavement team members. 
What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
There are a lot of special moments where you meet people and help them. I don’t know if I have one special moment because there are so many moments with special people who have died – the first three years I worked here I did home care and then I moved into the Bereavement Department.

There was one very special patient who really died with a smile on her face and couldn’t wait to go to Jesus. I never saw that before and I’ve never seen it after. Every day she would say to her kids who surrounded her, “Maybe today I’ll go to Jesus.” When she did, she had a beautiful rosy face and a smile. It was beautiful. 

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