November 14, 2023
Decades as an EveryStep Nurse: Meet Lori Bailey
With a nursing career that has spanned over 25 years with EveryStep, Lori Bailey says she cannot thank EveryStep enough for the support and encouragement she receives personally and professionally.
Lori began her career with EveryStep in the summer of 1993 as a “PRN”, or “as needed” nurse for the EveryStep Hospice team in Knoxville. “I was a registered nurse and did a lot of weekend on-call at that time,” remembers Lori, who went back to school in the early 2000s to earn her nurse practitioner certification. “I called [EveryStep president and CEO] Tray Wade to see if he needed any nurse practitioners after I got my license, but at that time they did not.
“In 2009, he called me back out of the blue and left a message saying EveryStep was getting ready to hire its first nurse practitioner. He said he thought about me and wanted to see if I was interested. That’s what brought me back to EveryStep and I’ve been here ever since. I was thankful to Tray for remembering me from all those years prior!”
"It’s such a sacred opportunity we have. There are two things in life you remember the most: the birth of your children and the death of somebody you love so much. We remember in vivid detail. For me to be accepted in and to be part of that, has just been a real honor."
Lori’s years as a hospice nurse mean a great deal to her. “It’s such a sacred opportunity we have. There are two things in life you remember the most: the birth of your children and the death of somebody you love so much. We remember in vivid detail. For me to be accepted in and to be part of that, has just been a real honor.”
Memories of many EveryStep Hospice patients stay with Lori, but she remembers a woman with whom she felt a special bond. “I walked into her room one day and she said, ‘Lori, sit down here on the side of my bed. I must tell you about my dream last night. I had a dream I went to a funeral. It was at a little country church. When I pulled up, cars were lined up and down the road — the place was packed. I walked into the church and there was no room. People were waiting in line and in fact, they were starting to seat people down in the basement. I went to go down to the basement to my seat and one of the ushers came up and said there was a spot for me on the main floor. He walked me to the very front row. The service was gorgeous and the place was filled with flowers. I was one of the first to be ushered out and I leaned over and asked whose funeral was this? And he said it was mine.’”
“It is one of the most beautiful stories that a patient has ever shared with me,” says Lori.
Lori acknowledges that it is difficult to care so much about her hospice patients, knowing that they will die. “Unfortunately, like so many things, you just compact it, deal with it, move on and try not to ponder on it. But I think we gather strength from the family just as much as they gather strength from us.”
For many years Lori, who lives in Knoxville, drove into Des Moines to work at EveryStep’s Kavanagh House hospice home and what was then EveryStep’s Bright Kavanagh hospice house (now home to EveryStep’s administrative teams and many of its home-visiting health care and support programs). For a time, Lori served as team director for the EveryStep location in Knoxville, but missed working directly with patients. In March of 2022, she transitioned to her current role as a telehealth nurse practitioner for EveryStep.
In June of 2022, Lori was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent months of chemotherapy, followed by surgery and then radiation. “[EveryStep] was fabulous. I couldn't have asked for a better organization to work for. Everyone was very supportive and very caring. I cannot thank EveryStep enough.” Lori is now cancer-free!
Battling her own cancer has given Lori a new perspective on the EveryStep patients she works with. “I truly understand what they’re going through,” says Lori, who says she continues to learn from them. “I’m touched by how beautifully some people journey through their end of life. They're still teaching and they're still being a role model for their loved ones.”
Looking for a meaningful career where you can truly make a difference? EveryStep employees enjoy a supportive culture, competitive compensation and benefits, work/life balance and flexibility, and the knowledge that their employer shares their values of integrity, respect, compassion, excellence and teamwork.
There are currently many nursing opportunities with EveryStep, including full-time and PRN positions, with competitive pay scales. Some positions include a sign-on bonus up to $10,000. For more information and to apply, visit EveryStep’s Career page.
If you or someone you know needs care or support, complete the confidential "Find Care" form at Find Care | EveryStep Care & Support Services. The form sends a message to EveryStep staff who then follow up with a phone call. It's a great way to start a conversation and get answers with no cost or commitment.