Gretchen Norman from Porter Hospice/St. Anthony Hospice is the winner of the Hospice Caregiver Award presented by Horan & McConaty. Gretchen was nominated by Joan Hummel from Porter Hospice & St. Anthony Hospice.
Gretchen Norman is the consummate hospice grief counselor and resource in the Denver community for people from all walks of life accessing bereavement support. I’ve known her for over seven years (or is eight?), have done grief groups with her and been side-by-side with Gretchen as she’s provided loving, compassionate and in-depth support to so many families of both St. Anthony and Porter Hospice.
It dawned on me today that in addition to Gretchen’s amazing clinical caregiving, she makes incredible linkages for so many people in so many settings. In the last week alone, Gretchen was on deck doing the following activities in addition to her grief work with hospice families: she advocated as a volunteer before a hospital foundation on behalf of a community organization that supports equine assisted therapy, participated in volunteer support for the Alzheimer’s Association which has benefited from her art therapy expertise over the years, served as an inspiration for self-care opportunities for a multi-disciplinary group of bereavement professionals in the community whom she helps organize education and networking support for, and outreached two different hospitals in the community at which she’ll be providing no-cost education about hospice for newly minted nurses starting their healthcare careers. None of these things are in Gretchen’s hospice job description, most of them are done on her own volunteer time, and all of them are a tremendous resource to the community at large for receiving quality professional support, complimentary therapies and hospice education.
Hospice asks its workers to sometimes wear multiple hats. I’ve known Gretchen to style the hats she wears in such a fashion that her work goes beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary. The majority of the clinical work she does, as it’s confidential and private in nature, goes unrecognized most of the time as her work requires her to touch upon the intimate suffering that grief brings about. Many people are not in a position to share their innermost therapeutic experiences with the outside world after they’ve experienced grief counseling. However, I get the benefit of having Gretchen’s clients in my grief groups from time to time. The way they speak of Gretchen’s insights, ability to help them with their problem solving and amazing connection to what really matters as they move forward in their healing is absolutely something I recognize firsthand. This is because, as my colleague, Gretchen has performed these very same roles for me on a personal support level, especially after my experience of several personal losses and life transitions over the last two years. I truly do not feel I would be the functioning professional in my work at the level I am able to be at if it weren’t for Gretchen’s continual support, loving grace and optimism about all that we can accomplish if we just take care of ourselves as we do this work. Gretchen Norman is an inspiration to me every single day, to our hospice families in every way, and to our larger caregiving community ongoing!
Joan Hummel, LCSW
Porter Hospice & St. Anthony Hospice
Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.
At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.
Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!