Jessie Galusha is all heart.
“Jessie possesses the gift of presence and is an active listener,” wrote Stacy Cole, clinical manager at Lumina Hospice & Palliative Care in her nomination of Galusha. “She is a passionate advocate helping patients and families obtain appropriate and necessary help during a difficult time of their lives.”
Galusha has been with Lumina Hospice & Palliative Care for almost two years as registered nurse case manager. Prior to that, she spent five years as a hospital nurse in the Progressive Care Unit at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. That’s where patients receive full-treatment care unless there is a sudden change in their health. Then, nurses transition to comfort-care mode.
If a patient rapidly declines, nurses call family members, and change the room to provide comfort and make the situation more homelike.
“I felt myself drawn to those situations,” Galusha said. “I felt honored to be a part of it.”
After five years, Galusha needed a change.
“For my family,” she said. “As a mother of two, working 12-hour shifts and inconsistent days made parenting difficult.”
So, Galusha began looking for something where she could better use her skills. Although she looked at a variety of opportunities, she always wanted to be a hospice nurse. When the opportunity knocked, she answered.
“I’ve always enjoyed taking care of people,” she said. “Acts of service is my love language. Like, I want to show you how I can help you.”
Hospice is a better fit, although it was a hard transition in the beginning, Galusha said. This last year, she hit her stride.
“It has been the year of most improvement,” Galusha said.
She likes to help patients solve problems and overcome challenges, and credits the Lumina team with assisting her through the tough times. She finds mental health to be the biggest challenge in providing care.
“I can deal with symptom management, that’s what we do,” Galusha said. “I can see why and help. I love providing emotional support. But sometimes patients suffer from a lot of mental health issues. I have a social worker, a chaplain, hospice aid, sometimes a physical therapist. That is so helpful.”
In these cases, she relies heavily on the social worker.
The good times shine. When she has a patient who comes in with challenges, be it paperwork, online registration for health care or calendar management, and they get everything in place, she feels satisfaction. As things progress and the patient has a peaceful passing, she feels that is so rewarding.
“The family knows what to expect and we all work together through it,” she said.
Galusha lives in Lebanon and gets assigned cases mostly in her area. However, she does travel to see patients throughout the valley.
She is a private person but has no shame admitting that she doesn’t have a crafty bone in her body. “I love going to craft fairs and buying things other women have made beautiful and put hours of time into. I don’t have the time or the patience to do it.”
Her sense of humor gets her through a lot, and she laughingly admits to collecting Pyrex bowls.
“Everybody thinks it’s so funny,” she said. “I purposely go to thrift stores and look for Pyrex.”
Galusha is raising a daughter and son, and credits her ex-in-laws, Vern and Stacy Gerig, with being supportive and helping her through school.