Nurse’s heart, compassion and passion cited
Rhada Hartmann, recipient of the Sharon G. Hardy Caring at the End of Life Award, gets a congratulatory hug from fellow nominee Sedney Pabon during the York Hospital Excellence in Caring & Practice Awards 2007, Thursday, May 10th, 2007.
Rhada Hartmann’s interest in end-of-life care began 25 years ago when she was a nurse in Maternity.
“I felt at a loss caring for parents whose babies had died,” she said. “It was very awkward. We had great programs for newborns, but really nothing for parents whose babies had died.”
Hartmann attended a conference to learn more about perinatal loss. She eventually became a certified grief counselor and implemented a perinatal loss program at York Hospital.
Her interest in end-of-life issues has evolved over the years, and today, she’s the director of the Palliative Care Department, York Hospital.
“I attended a one-day conference in 2001 to learn more about palliative care,” she said. “The presenters issued a challenge that day: If your hospital didn’t have a palliative care program, start one.
“It was something I was definitely interested in doing. Fortunately, York Hospital administration was very supportive and helpful.”
The department, which started with a part-time nurse and part-time physician, has grown to a staff of eight full-time and part-time nurses and physicians.
Hartmann’s interest in palliative care recently culminated with the first Sharon G. Hardy Caring at the End of Life Award.
The person who nominated her, wrote: “Rhada has brought her heart, her compassion, and her passion to our York Hospital patients, to her team and to each of us she has touched.
“Rhada touched my life, as I walked with my best friend through her cancer journey, and through her end-of-life experience.
“She coached me; she hugged me; she gave me Kleenex for my tears of love; she gave me the tools, the knowledge, the words and the ideas to lovingly guide and support my best friend, her family, and myself.”
Hartmann said, “I was shocked and surprised to win the award. I felt humbled by the nomination.
“It’s a very meaningful award for me, and I’m thrilled by the recognition. I think having an award like this shows how far palliative care has come.”