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New director of Hospice named

January 19, 1999

Susan TaylorBy ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




Sue Taylor has come full circle.

The Hagerstown native, 49, joined Hospice of Washington County Inc. on Nov. 1, a move she said will enable her to give back to a community that offered support to her and her family more than 20 years ago.

At that time, Taylor's 3-year-old son, now 26, was diagnosed as one of only nine children nationwide with a rare form of cancer.

"Our whole lives as a family were changed," said Taylor. "You learn very quickly the brevity of life."

Neighbors, friends and faith pulled her family through an emotional year of radiation and chemotherapy treatments at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., Taylor said.

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Taylor became the clinical director of Hospice on Nov. 1. Last week, Taylor became interim executive director when John Costopoulos resigned. The two positions have been combined and she will continue with her former duties, she said.

Hospice provides care to terminally ill people and their families. Taylor is responsible for educating these families and the community about the agency, assigning home health aides to patients and overseeing the nursing staff.

In this capacity, Taylor, who has been involved with nursing management since 1980, handles scheduling, budgeting, payroll and performance evaluations, and helps her staff deal with the stress associated with assisting the dying and their families.

"We're all human and you can't help but become close to the patients and their families," she said, adding that Hospice's strong interdisciplinary team, including a chaplain and bereavement counselors, help make the stress more manageable, both for staff members and affected families.

It is her work with these Hospice families, said Taylor, that brings her the greatest satisfaction.

"It brings me back to what I went into nursing for," she said. "Though the outcome is death, it's rewarding to see the commitment families will make to take care of loved ones in their homes."

While the self-described "detail and goal-oriented" Taylor has moved up in the ranks since becoming a registered nurse in 1970, she said she's always kept a part of herself at the bedside.

For the next year, Taylor said she will focus on complying with state and federal regulations to bring the local Hospice up to "excellent standards of care."

At the helm of this project and her nursing staff, though, Taylor will not forget her roots.

"There's nothing I'd rather do than be a nurse," she said.

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