BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — UHC Hospice nurse June Jett has touched the lives of many, many North Central West Virginians over the decades.
“I’ve seen life begin,” she said, “and I’ve seen life end.”June Jett
She is a healthcare hero whose hands have held crying babies, taking their first breaths during her more than 30 years in Labor and Delivery at United Hospital Center. Now, her hands holds the hands of those taking their final breaths.
“We try to make the burden of passing a little easier,” she said about her day-to-day work. However, at one point, she took a brief detour into recruiting to help the next generation. Her job involved speaking with young adults making major life decisions.
“You got to meet the students, I got to go to all the colleges, ” she said. “I tried to help the students get their careers started in nursing.”
Like life, so went Jett’s career into the next phase. Soon, she put her scrubs back on.
“I missed the hands on, the interaction with patients,” she remembered. “And so I went into hospice.”
That’s where you will find her today, quietly providing care and connection in an often overlooked corner of healthcare. Jett told 12 News that nurses are taught to heal people, but that is not something they can do during hospice care. It is about making the patient comfortable. It is a job filled with days of grief, made even harder by 2020’s viral predator, COVID-19.
“You can’t hug the patient’s family, you can’t hug the patient,” she said sadly. “I wear goggles and mask in their homes. I want them to know that I’m smiling at them.”
For Jett, it has been 38 years at UHC. 38 years of helping people into the world, helping people live their lives, and then helping them let go. Because of her healing and helping hand in so many lives, it comes as no surprise that it all comes full circle at times.
“I walked into a [hospice] patient’s home and the spouse said ‘you look so familiar'” Jett reflected. “The next visit I went to, she said ‘you see my granddaughter on the wall?’ And she said….’here’s a picture of you bathing her when she was born.”
You can nominate someone who you think should be honored as a “Healthcare Hero” here.