Hospice Nurse Linda Staggs: Making the Journey Easier

Linda Staggs

Hospice RN Linda Staggs has spent nearly two-thirds of her nursing career with the EveryStep Hospice team in Centerville. Starting out as a hospital nurse, Linda became acquainted with hospice nursing when she later became director of nursing at a skilled nursing facility. “At the time, [EveryStep] was called ‘Hospice of Central Iowa’,” says Linda. “Just watching what they did and the help that they provided, and the care for the patient and the family — it was very impressive. So, when an opening came up, I jumped on it and I've been here ever since.”

Linda says hospice nursing is more than caring for the patient, as the patient’s loved ones often need support as well, even if they don’t realize it. “As a hospice nurse, you can better see what's going on around you. We can see that maybe a person is struggling a bit, but doesn’t want to ask for help. We want to take care of the whole family.”

If that scope of work sounds overwhelming, Linda says it could be without the support and trust of a skilled multi-disciplinary team, and that’s what has kept her at EveryStep for 17 years. “It makes the job so much easier to do when you know it’s not just you. I can call our social worker. I can call our spiritual care counselor. I can call the hospice aides or our team director and ask for help. We all come together for the patient, which is great for the patient, the family and all of us.”

Linda enjoys meeting patients and families in their homes, where she can learn about different ethnicities and traditions. She especially looks forward to seeing patients’ wishes granted through donations to the EveryStep Foundation. “We had a gentleman a few years ago and he wanted to visit the hot springs in Colorado. He also wanted to ride a train because he never had. He was able to go with his wife and we’ve got a picture of him in the hot springs with the mountain in the background, and the mountain had snow on it and you could see the steam coming up from the water. He really enjoyed that.”

Married for 41 years, Linda and her husband Kevin have two children. She likes to read and take walks, and she and Kevin just returned from taking their granddaughters to the Grand Canyon. She says her career with EveryStep allows for time to do the things she enjoys.

“I think it’s a nurse thing that we all think we have to do everything and can’t take time off. But here we’re encouraged to have a work-life balance. It’s repeated to us over and over again. They really do care.”

While she looks forward to time with her family and friends, Linda also looks forward to time with her hospice patients. “I can't even explain how rewarding it is to meet these people and their families —helping somebody and knowing that even just in a little way, we might have made this journey easier for them. That’s what's worth it for us. I've experienced different jobs and none of them compared to working with EveryStep. Everybody takes care of everybody else, you know? It’s a great place to work.”

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. 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.