July 13, 2021
Called to Service: Meet EveryStep Mount Pleasant Hospice Team Director Michael Breese
As team director for EveryStep Hospice in Mount Pleasant, Michael Breese, leads the nurses, aides, counselors, social workers, therapists and volunteers providing hospice care for the surrounding community. Although his position involves a great deal of office time, Mike is a registered nurse and still makes it a priority to visit patients.
A recent visit with a young woman with cancer prompted Mike to recall how he became involved with EveryStep nearly 12 years ago.
Upon visiting the woman and completing a careful assessment, Mike knew from his extensive experience that she likely had only days to live. He shared the difficult news with the family and gave them instructions to administer pain medications to keep the young woman comfortable. After ordering the appropriate medical equipment that she needed, Mike suggested the family notify all of her children and brothers and sisters (she had six other brothers and sisters) to come and see her before she passed.
“The spouse was present and very tearful,” says Mike. “As I was visiting with him, I began to look around the home and noticed the numerous crosses on the walls, verses of scripture from the Bible and many family pictures. I commented on them to the husband, and he said that her faith and her family are the most important things to her. Upon hearing this, I asked if I could share my testimony of why I got into hospice and they agreed.”
Through EveryStep Hospice, every patient receives respectful, customized care and comfort on their terms. By listening to the family and understanding their beliefs, Mike knew they might draw comfort from his experience.
This is Mike’s story.
“Twelve years ago, this December, I was offered a hospice position – something I had been wanting to do for several years – as a nurse, but it was only a PRN (as needed) position. I told the doctor that I would have to go home and think about it and pray about it as my wife and I had a brand new 2-month-old daughter, and we were barely making it paycheck to paycheck as it was. Within the next few nights, my wife had a dream in which our 2-month-old daughter sat up and said, ‘Mommy, listen! Make it clear, he’s asking eternal love. Help our simple people into cleansing eternity.’ Then she said, ‘Do you have it mommy? Make it clear, he’s asking eternal love. Help our simple people into cleansing eternity.’”
“My wife woke up rather startled and told me about the dream. I had no idea what it was about. A couple weeks later, my wife called me, and very excitedly told me to write this down:
She told me to look at the first letters of all those words. When I did, I began to cry because it spelled out: MICHAEL HOSPICE. I quickly accepted the position and a PRN position turned into a part-time position and that turned into a full-time position very quickly. Our family took a leap of faith knowing that God would provide. He did and he has.”
After Mike shared his story with the family, he was able to pray with them and offer words of comfort.
EveryStep respects the diverse spiritual beliefs among its staff and the people they serve. Every patient receives customized support that honors their unique preferences and experiences.
Mike believes hospice workers, especially those who remain in it for the long-term, are truly called to do it. Many hospice staff feel they are part of a sacred experience as they help patients through their final days and offer comfort their families.
“You can ask anyone who has been in it longer than five years. This is not their job or their career. It is their calling,” says Mike. “With a specialized set of skills, we are called to hold the hands of the dying and comfort those who are mourning. I believe in what we do. We are making an eternal impact in the lives of people every day.”
EveryStep is looking for nurses in our hospice and home care programs. If you are interested, visit www.everystep.org/careers or email HR@everystep.org.
EveryStep offers its services to all hospice-eligible people without regard to race, creed, color, religion, gender, physical or mental disability, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, national/ethnic origin, age, diagnosis, ability to pay or any other characteristic.