STANLY THE MAGAZINE: Q&A With Beth Thomas, Hospice of Stanly family services manager

Published 9:34 am Tuesday, October 10, 2023

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The year 2023 has been a busy one for Hospice of Stanly with recognition as one of Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work and a 5-star rating from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Beth Thomas, MSW is the family services manager at Hospice of Stanly. A life-long resident of Stanly County, Beth has been with this organization for more than 18 years. Here, in this article provided by Hospice of Stanly, she reflects on a career in service to the seriously ill in the community and the one thing she wishes she had done differently.

Q: Beth, tell me about your role at Hospice of Stanly.

A: I have two roles at Hospice of Stanly: My primary role is being a social worker. Social work is my first love and it’s in this role that I really get to know people. It’s a gift to be a part of a patient’s life during a difficult time. I love visiting a patient’s home. It’s an honor to see photos on the walls, hear their stories and listen to what the family wants to share.

My second role is serving as part of the leadership team by managing family support services. I’m insanely proud of this team, which includes social workers, our chaplain and bereavement counselors.

These roles are extremely important to the patients and families we serve.

My personal goal though is to meet people where they are. Often, that means suspending judgement because, after all, this is their story. My job is to make a positive impact on the end of their story.

Q: I imagine that your work is hard. What motivates you to keep doing it?

A: I don’t see my work as hard. I see it as a gift from God to help those facing end of life. I’m motivated by the opportunity to meet people in my community and be part of their lives at such a vulnerable

This job is a calling and it’s not for everyone. That’s part of the reason I was thrilled that our organization was recognized as one of Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work. That recognition serves as a validation that others in the healthcare industry respect our work and acknowledge the important role we play in the lives of our patients and their families.

It’s also incredibly motivating to be a part of such a dynamic team. I love that we pray together, and God continues to bless us.

Q: Okay, so you say your work is not hard, but surely you have bad days?

A: There are no bad days, maybe bad moments but I try to keep a positive outlook so I can be effective for my patients and families. If I did have to pick one thing it would be when a child or young adult realizes that they will lose a parent. I am pleased that our agency can be there to help during that time.

So often “hospice” is seen as a bad word, spoken in hushed tones. To me hospice means love, quality of life, comfort and honoring last wishes. We were born to die and it’s something we all will do. Yes, it’s hard to face the loss of someone you love; however, hospice becomes a valuable partner for families facing end of life.

Q: What is one thing you’d tell someone who was just starting in your career?

A: Self-care is extremely important when you’re giving 100% of your energy to others. That includes anything you are doing for yourself to refuel…it’s different for everyone. Walking, reading, napping, cooking, watching TV and spending time with family are a few things that refuel me.

Q: What would you tell your younger self if you could time travel?

A: Slow down and smell the roses. Life is always lived in a rush and then, in the blink of an eye, it’s over. I wish I had taken more pictures.

Q: What would you tell someone in the community that is considering a career in hospice or palliative care?

A: I’d say, “Come to Hospice of Stanly!” Serious illness care is not an easy job, but being trusted to guide people though what is often the most challenging time of their life is an incredible honor.