A Hospice Nurse Shares Her Sweet Secret

hospice nurse

When first starting her career in nursing, Carol Tickel was a licensed practical nurse at a skilled nursing home. After a couple of years, the transplanted resident of Delaware made the decision to advance her education and become a registered nurse. One of her assignments was to write a paper about the ethics healthcare professionals face based on the teachings of Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who penned the trailblazing book “On Death and Dying.” This class project turned out to be the springboard that changed the course of Carol’s career and led her to become a hospice nurse.

Why Become a Hospice Nurse?

What aspect of the assigned paper proved to have such a profound effect on Carol that she decided to pursue a career path to become a hospice nurse?

“At the nursing home, I was surrounded by healthcare professionals who would push their thoughts and feelings about end-of-life decisions onto their patients,” confessed Carol, who plans to retire at the end of 2017. “I felt strongly that patients and families should be allowed to think on their own. It was important to honor their wishes.

“I became a hospice nurse to help educate patients and families so they would know all their options, and have the ability to stand up for themselves and not be swayed by any opinions I might have personally,” added Carol.

Back in 1993, Carol joined LifePath Hospice as a hospice nurse and never looked back. Today as a clinical manager, Carol leads two different home teams, Ruby and Pediatrics, composed of hospice nurses, hospice aides, social workers and chaplains.

“The best part of being a hospice nurse is helping patients and families navigate a very difficult time in their lives. And by managing teams, I enjoy supporting my staff. It is always exciting to watch them grow professionally.”

Never Underestimate the Power of …

While it is true that by day she assists her staff in helping patients and families navigate end-of-life choices, many LifePath Hospice employees know about Carol’s other secret passion: chocolate. We aren’t necessarily talking about chocolate consumption. Instead, Carol loves creating chocolate masterpieces.

“It was in Toms River, New Jersey, where I first discovered my love for making chocolate,” related Carol, who rarely eats any chocolate.  “It was the mid-1970s. My girlfriend and I found a chocolate mold and decided to try it. We were both hooked to the point of hosting chocolate parties—just imagine a Tupperware party but all with chocolate and you get the picture.”

hospice nurse LifePath Hospice TampaDuring the course of the past 40+ years, Carol has acquired more than 200 different chocolate molds from big box craft stores like Michaels, JoAnn and Walmart to crafters on Etsy. She shared that her biggest chocolate-creating regret was making close to 230 soccer balls for Easter one year. On the other hand, her proudest and most challenging accomplishment was a church, which even included stained-glass windows, made entirely of chocolate for her son’s wedding.

“Although I don’t enjoy the mess that making chocolate can create, I get a sense of joy from the expression on someone’s face when they first see what I made for them entirely out of chocolate,” concluded Carol.

 

At Chapters Health System and its affiliatesGood Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice, every day is devoted to educating our patients and keeping them in the place they call home. We are dedicated to ensuring that patients, young and old alike, and their families are able to make educated decisions about important healthcare matters. For more information, please call our helpful Chapters Health team at 1.866.204.8611 or send an email to info@chaptershealth.org

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Corporate Communications for Chapters Health System, manages all content and communications for the not-for-profit organization.

How to Make Chocolate without Fuss

With more than 40 years of experience under her belt, Carol is definitely an expert in making chocolate treats from simple bite-size morsels to intricate masterpieces. She emphasized that it is truly not as difficult as one would imagine.

If chocolate making sounds like a hobby you’d like to try, here are some tried-and-true tips Carol shared to get you started.

  1. When using a mold, make sure it isn’t wet. Between batches, the mold should be meticulously dried. Even better would be to have a back-up mold on hand. And don’t use any type of vegetable oil/cooking spray.
  2. Melting chocolate into liquid form can be accomplished in either a microwave or by using a double boiler.
  3. If you happen to burn the chocolate when melting, do not use the batch. Throw it out and start again.
  4. When you get some overflow of chocolate around the edge of the mold shape, use a paring knife to cut the flash at the edge.
  5. When using white chocolate for your creation, add a little shortening. It will make your final chocolate harder.

 

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