The Spirit Vessel Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare series aims to help bring awareness, acceptance, and normalization to death and the grieving process. Throughout this series, we interview professionals of all types in the deathcare and emotional wellness space including hospice nurses, grief counselors and coaches, death doulas, funeral directors, life insurance agents, celebrants, alternative disposition advocates, and social workers just to name a few.
In this interview we speak with Penny Hawkins, also known as Hospice Nurse Penny, who is a nationally certified hospice and palliative care registered nurse and rising Tik Tok star.
Penny began her nursing career at the tender age of 42. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Nursing and is a nationally certified hospice and palliative care registered nurse. She has been a hospice nurse for 17 years and has worked in a variety of care settings and roles within hospice including inpatient, home case management, education, quality and regulatory. She currently works as a hospice quality manager for an organization in Washington State operating three home hospice locations and an inpatient care center.
She is a passionate and very humorous advocate for hospice education and normalizing the end-of-life process to remove the stigma and fear around hospice care, death and dying. During the pandemic, Penny found her way to social media, where she can utilize her death care expertise to provide education in a variety of methods that reaches a diverse audience. She continues to grow a massive following on both Tiktok and Instagram as she inspires, educates and entertains.
In this conversation we discuss:
- How Penny came to be interested in hospice nursing and care.
- What she wishes people knew about hospice, including misconceptions about when you should seek out hospice services, the use of morphine in end-of-life care, and the importance of having your last wishes documented.
- The physical symptoms experienced at end of life, and what you may not know about pronouncement of death laws in each state.
- Real-life stories about her clients that will have you laughing, teary-eyed and ultimately learning about the importance of embracing and normalizing the end-of-life process.
- How Penny found TikTok and is able to educate, inspire, entertain and ultimately work toward normalizing death through her content.
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