Above: Maria Holt, RN, pins a leaf to the bereavement tree in honor of a patient who has passed away. “We take time to be sad and to grieve together,” says executive director Amy Hone. The bereavement tree mural was created by artist Mika Nakazawa.
Below: Monthly employee satisfaction surveys and meetings allow staff to voice their concerns and celebrate their accomplishments.From left: Cindy Auxier, RN, Leslie Crowder, RN, Angela Campbell, PCS, Moira Doogan, RN, Laura Hansen, RN, and Maria Holt, RN.
“Everybody here works as a team and is given respect and trust,” says Hone.
// Photos by Eric Naslund
Rank: 25th best large company
Years on the list: 1
For Amy Hone, executive director of Odyssey Hospice, what her employees do after work is almost as important as what they do at work.
As one of the largest specialty hospice providers in the state, Odyssey cares for up to 180 patients at a time, all of whom have been given less than six months to live. The bulk of Odyssey’s employees are nurses and other clinicians who visit four or five different patients each day in their homes, hospitals or nursing facilities.
“The stress level every time they go in is incredibly high,” says Hone, herself a former nursing case manager. “It’s a very emotional job, so it’s important to me that they don’t live and breathe it every day, that they have other things to do at five o’clock.”
In addition to caring for patients — about half of whom are elderly, half of whom are younger patients with terminal cancers or other conditions — Hone says staff members celebrate accomplishments at monthly appreciation meetings while also taking time to be sad and remember patients.
Employees also find real satisfaction in helping bring joy to their patients. Odyssey staff recently helped one patient receive an honorary Purple Heart; another effort honors veterans with special certificates for their service. And for their care and compassion, Odyssey’s employees are widely appreciated by families and loved ones, who regularly send letters of appreciation and gratitude.
“We have some extremely heartwarming and heartbreaking stories we’ve been involved with,” Hone says, “and when staff members receive letters like that, you know you’ve made a difference.”