March 29, 2022
March is National Social Work Month: Meet Tonya Pierson
Tonya Pierson has made a career of being a crossing guard at life’s intersections. From critical moments of childhood to end of life, Tonya helps navigate the rough spots of those for whom she advocates.
A licensed social worker, Tonya spent the first part of her career with the Iowa Department of Human Services doing visits with children in the foster care system, and was also a domestic violence advocate. For the past nine years, Tonya has worked with EveryStep Hospice’s Osceola team.
“I love my job! Hospice is about comfort and quality of life for as long as the patient has left. I find it an honor to be able to meet these people, where they are, and help them with their journey to end of life,” says Tonya. “Being able to provide part of that comfort is a blessing. The patients and families give me more than I give them.”
For Tonya, seeing families come together to be supportive of the patient is one of the best parts about her work with EveryStep Hospice. “There are so many family dynamics. Being able to help them come together for the patient is something I like to see,” says Tonya. “I have held family meetings and asked each member to be involved and share their thoughts. Many times, once everyone has a chance to share their feelings, positive things begin to occur.”
Hospice work, by its nature, can be challenging and Tonya says caring for young patients is the hardest; however, she feels honored that parents allow her and EveryStep Hospice to be involved in a child’s care and journey at the end of life.
Although those not intimately familiar with hospice care might assume the work is draining, Tonya says providing quality of life to patients and taking part in a fulfilling a patient’s wishes gives her inspiration and motivation. “[These hospice services] allow me to do something special for the family — something that will have a lasting memory for the loved ones after the patient is gone.
“I get asked many times why I do what I do and ‘how do you do that?’ I explain that if the patient has hospice, we know they are getting great individualized care by a team of trained professionals. It is comforting to know that whatever they need, hospice will meet those needs to the best of our ability,” says Tonya. “Taking care of others and ensuring their needs are met provide me comfort.”
The EveryStep Hospice Osceola team currently is seeking a Hospice RN, with a $10,000 signing bonus. If you are interested in joining the EveryStep team in Osceola or anywhere in Iowa, visit https://www.everystep.org/careers.
If you or someone you know needs care or support, complete the confidential "Find Care" form at www.everystep.org/find-care. 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. EveryStep can connect the individual to its own programs and services that may be helpful, as well as services offered by other organizations and providers in the community.