Q & A with Lily Gillmor – Transitions LifeCare Associate VP of Palliative Care & Kids
Why did you decide to work in palliative care?
My first job out of nursing school was in inpatient pediatrics, prior to hospitals having pediatric palliative care teams. I was assigned as primary nurse for a young child who required multiple organ transplants. It became clear that he would likely not survive another transplant, however the medical team proceeded with the transplant without discussion of the likelihood of a poor outcome. When I questioned why we were not discussing all of the options with parents, I was told, “we don’t want them to think we have given up. We need to give them hope.” I was struck by the fact that I did not see an honest discussion with the family as giving up or taking away hope, and worried perhaps nursing was not the right career. A few years later I moved to Nashville, TN and fell into the world of hospice and palliative care as an admissions nurse. It was there that I realized nursing wasn’t the issue, I just hadn’t found my people yet! I was suddenly immersed in a world where honest conversations were the foundation of my job, and walking with patients and families through these conversations was the expectation, not the exception. I was fortunate the agency I worked for served both kids and adults, so my passions finally came together. I consider myself extremely lucky to work in a job that has allowed me to continue those passions.
What is your favorite part of your job?
There are many! If I had to narrow it down I would choose the people I work with as well as the work we do. We do really heavy work in both Adults and Kids, and it is essential to have a supportive work environment in order to keep doing it. I have worked at various places that talk about work/life balance, however have never worked somewhere it was truly practiced. It is an amazing experience to be working with people who are passionate and innovative, and encouraged to be so. I appreciate working in the field I love, but also being at an organization that supports me and the work I do.
What do you enjoy most about living in the Triangle area?
I enjoy the fact that no matter what your interests are, the triangle has something for you! I grew up here and had the opportunity to experience the triangle in all my life phases–single, married without kids, married with kids. If you like music, the outdoors, the indoors, food, group activities, quiet nights out, etc. you will find something to meet your need. If you like the mountains, they’re just a few hours west, if you like the beach, just a few hours east. Summers can get a little toasty, but we have four distinct seasons, and Carolina Blue skies even in the dead of winter.