Trish Benson, Transitions Hospice Chief Operating Officer, oversees all day to day operations and business development for Illinois and Indiana. She has over 15 years of experience leading healthcare organizations and is an invaluable asset to the Transitions team. Since 2016, Trish focused on staff and business development in Illinois, greatly contributing to Transitions’ rapid growth during this time. 

With October being National Women’s Health month, we sat down with Trish to talk about the impact of women in hospice,  her experiences being a prominent woman leader in our organization, and the bravery of women in healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: What impact do women have on the hospice and palliative care industry? Specifically, what impact do women at Transitions have on our company, our patients, and their families? 

Data from the International Labor Organization indicate that women make up approximately 70% of healthcare workers, including those operating the care organizations. Women also have a natural kinship to nature and family, which breeds empathy and nurturing – the essence of palliative care. The impact of women in our company includes the ability to understand balance, prioritization, utilization, and eliciting the real needs of the patient through great communication and loving, hands-on care. Women have different life experiences than men – they are often more patient and tend to create rapport more easily by listening to the needs of patients. This undoubtedly extends into their work with patients and families when dealing with end-of-life transitions and challenges and directly translates into higher quality healthcare and patient experience. 

Q: How does Transitions support women in their career development? How does Transitions empower women in general?

Transitions Hospice supports women in their career development by empowering them from the start of the hiring process. Our onboarding procedures create a culture of respect, inclusion, and support – leading to higher job satisfaction, robust job performance, and subsequently a strong commitment to the organization. Continuing education is fiscally supported and encouraged, which makes our company unique and progressive. The Transitions Hospice leadership team develops employees by identifying potential leaders from within our organization and consistently mentors their growth. 

I myself have been able to professionally develop with Transitions because the company provides me with the resources necessary to grow in our organization. Transitions Hospice owner, Jim Palazzo, has also provided the assistance necessary to further my education in an area of high interest: Healthcare Administration. I am very grateful for that opportunity and have used this education to further the organization on all levels, including fiscal responsibility. As the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a pioneer in women’s rights so eloquently stated, “I too would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.” 

Q: How have women in healthcare made impacts and sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic that have had a positive influence on our industry?

The battle against the Covid-19 pandemic is one that requires bravery. Women display bravery by being present in their healthcare institutions while risking getting infected and transmitting the disease to their families. Many have had to increase hours and multitask to make sure the sick are cared for whilst using more PPE. Furthermore, mothers are often now full-time breadwinners or part-time homemakers; due to increased demands at work and home given e-learning, they sacrifice this delicate balance as well as their health.  Pregnant women, who are immunocompromised, live in fear of whether to go to work on the front lines knowing that even with full PPE, there is risk. Various research studies indicate that there are at least 100 million female workers in health and care facilities across the world. Balancing family obligations and work for women has often been a challenge. However, during the pandemic, women in healthcare continue to work longer hours, providing essential care to the Covid-19 patients. Research indicates that some women nurses have had to work at least 17 hours per day, particularly during the pandemic’s emergence. 

The Covid-19 pandemic is a crisis that requires fast and efficient changes in the healthcare industry. Transitions Hospice’s highest priority has always been to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients, their family members, and our staff.  It is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic to take every precaution possible to prevent this virus from spreading by following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines along with Federal, State and local health departments. Transitions Hospice Task Force Committee consists of 6 women healthcare leaders that meet regularly to ensure all these measures are being followed as changes happen day to day. These moving parts are actively studied, applied and enforced as a team to keep everyone safe. 

Without a doubt, women in our company are essential to our success. Whether it be in the fight against COVID-19 or caring for each and every one of our hospice patients, I am proud to be a part of Transitions Hospice, and proud to be a leader for women in healthcare. 


Sources

health.usnews.com/health-care/for-better/articles/2019-01-10/why-arent-more-women-in-health-care-leadership-roles

Maas, Angela HEM. “Empower Women in Healthcare to move Women’s Health forward.” Maturitas (2020).McLaren, Helen Jaqueline, et al. “Covid-19 and Women’s Triple Burden: Vignettes from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam and Australia.” Social Sciences 9.5 (2020): 87.