May 6, 2019
What it's Like to be an EveryStep Nurse: Heather Maletta
Being a nurse is about making a difference in people's lives for EveryStep Hospice nurse Heather Maletta.
As a young girl, she admired the nurses who worked in the doctor's office where her mother was a receptionist. When her mother returned to school for her LPN, Maletta reveled in her stories.
"Listening to her stories I realized becoming a nurse was about making a difference in people’s lives. I wanted to be part of making a difference in someone’s life," Maletta recalls.
But she never thought she'd eventually work as a hospice nurse. In fact, she spent 18 years of her career as an operating room nurse.
"Never in my life did I think I would end up working for hospice," she says. "I enjoyed everything about the operating room, if you asked me 10 years ago I would have told you I was an OR nurse for life."
Yet, her career path changed when she became the director of nursing at a nursing facility. There she met hospice nurses who came to see patients and visit with her.
"I never realized all the things hospice could do for people until then," she said. "I thought you had to have cancer and be dying before hospice could do anything for a person. Was I ever wrong."
After witnessing the hospice nurses in her facility become close to their patients and families, Maletta says she began to envy the nurses for how cool of a job they had and how great they were in every situation.
And with that, Maletta set out to become a hospice nurse.
"It's such as different type of nursing that I have ever done before," she notes. "The teamwork, the rewards of helping people achieve their goals, the rewards of the families, the satisfaction of reducing symptoms with simple things."
But the thing Maletta enjoys the most, is the people; the patients she helps each day. And sometimes, Maletta discovers she has cared for a patient well before her time at EveryStep.
Maletta notes that she was in the operating room during a procedure for a former nursing school classmate. During that procedure, cancer was found. Years later, as an EveryStep Hospice nurse, Maletta was honored to be able to care for her former classmate at the end of her life.
"Each and every one of my patients touch my heart in some way, leaving a lasting impression," Maletta says.
In her time as a hospice nurse, Maletta has realized that it doesn't always mean the end for patients.
"Hospice is not about giving up but fighting a good fight until the end regardless of the outcome," Maletta notes.
Want to make a difference in people’s lives and work for a mission-focused organization? Please visit our careers page.