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Hospice Aide Extraordinaire: Patricia Johnson and Her 40 Years with Good Shepherd Hospice

For once in her life, Hospice Aide Patricia “Pat” Johnson was speechless. She had no inkling that her co-workers, family, friends and even her pastor would all gather together to honor her 40 years of service with Good Shepherd Hospice.

“After 40 years, I feel in no way tired,” confessed Pat shortly after she walked the red carpet into the multipurpose room at the Lakeland Hospice House. “I tell everyone that I still have a couple more years before I officially retire.”

Hospice Aide from the Beginning

How does a person start a career as a hospice aide? In Pat’s case, as a young girl, her mother would ask her to help elderly neighbors by giving baths, assisting with meals, etc. These activities definitely set the stage for Pat’s career as an adult. The following are the actual duties of a hospice aide:

  • Proper hygiene and grooming of patients
  • Assist patients with bathing, dressing and feeding
  • Supervise nutritional and supplement needs of hospice patients

Although her professional career started with Mid-Florida Home Health, Pat was on the ground floor when Good Shepherd Hospice was established in 1978. A doctor, nurse, chaplain and social worker teamed up to take care of a friend and a couple of years later, the hospice provided end-of-life services to 178 families.

Over the years, Good Shepherd Hospice grew and joined with LifePath Hospice in 2004 to provide quality palliative care and relieve suffering of those affected by life-limiting illnesses and end-of-life issues across three counties in Central Florida.

Thoughts from the Executive Director

hospice aideAt the celebration for Pat, Executive Director Kyle Zenkner was profoundly moved by the thought of 40 years of service. He shared the following with the group:

“Have you ever known someone who on the surface seems shy, modest and ordinary but behind it all is the most loving, gracious person you ever met? They abound in exceptional talent and good work yet they are your typical unsung hero. They rise to the occasion and in times of need shine best in life’s darkest hours. This person is someone we can describe as a diamond in the rough. Like naturally occurring diamonds can appear quite ordinary, even rough around the outside, their beauty and worth come from the extreme pressure under which they are formed and the harsh process of cutting and polishing that are used to reveal their inner beauty and value.

“So we are gathered here today to honor such a person. Pat has been a model employee for the past 40 years. She is one of the few original employees and certainly has become an asset to the company. I appreciate the selfless service she has given for so many years. Without the loyalty and hard work of individuals like Pat, who helped us get things started, Good Shepherd Hospice could not have achieved our present stature.”

Pat was awarded a plaque in the shape of a book, which commemorated 40 years of loyal and dedicated service. And as part of her service anniversary, the hospice aide was given a sizable check as a bonus. As an additional surprise, Pat was awarded a “golden ticket,” which entitles her to spend the day with Chapters Health System President and CEO Andrew Molosky. Pat found out that Andrew was interested in discovering how to stay with one organization for 40 years, so he is coming to learn from her.

hospice aideAs the festivities wound down and it was time to partake of the refreshments, Pat stood up to retell and share words that came to her as she drove into work that morning; “I don’t feel no ways tired. I’ve come too far from where I started from.  Nobody told me it was going to be easy. People ask me how I do it, and I answer I do it because I love people!”

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 [email protected].

About Phoebe Ochman

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

Putting the Last 40 Years in Perspective

Forty years of service with one organization is awe-inspiring. During the time span in which Pat has worked at Good Shepherd Hospice, here are some thought-provoking highlights.

  • In 1978, the following occurred:
    • With an investment of $12,000, Ben and Jerry opened their first ice cream parlor.
    • Louise Joy Brown was the first test tube baby born.
    • Home Depot was founded in Atlanta.
    • The comic strip, Garfield, made its debut.
  • Seven U.S. presidents were elected and in office: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
  • The first woman named to the Supreme Court was Sandra Day O’Conner, who served from 1981 to 2006.
  • Quite a number of technological advances took place:
    • GPS was unveiled in 1980.
    • In 1982, Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh computer and in 2007 the first iPhone was launched. Apps emerged the following year.
    • CDs entered the market in 1984 while DVDs began the slow death of the videotape industry in 1996.
    • In 1989, the World Wide Web came into existence with business email surpassing traditional mail delivery by 1997.
    • Google started in 1998 and Facebook in 2007.
  • During the 1980s, the following are some historical highlights:
    • Fall of the Berlin Wall took place.
    • United States Hockey team won the gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics.
    • Royal Wedding between Prince Charles and Lady Diana occurred.
  • During the 1990s, the following are some historical highlights:
  • Madeleine Albright was appointed as the first female U.S. Secretary of State.
  • The first Harry Potter book was published by author J. K. Rowling.
  • Scientists unveiled “Dolly” t first successfully cloned sheep.
  • “Seinfeld” began and ended during this decade.
  • Companies prepared for Y2K.
  • During the 2000s, the following are some historical highlights:
    • First contested American election for president was decided ultimately by the Supreme Court.
    • The attack on September 11 orchestrated by Osama bin Laden led to tougher security measures to combat terrorism.
    • Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans and its levees.
    • Barack Obama became the first African-American president of the United States.
  • During the 2010s, the following are some historical highlights:
    • Final shuttle flight landed at Kennedy Space Center, which ended NASA’s shuttle space program.
    • Chicago Cubs won first World Series since 1908.
    • More than two thirds of Americans own and use SmartPhones.

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