Samantha Sheaffer (above right) has always been a natural caretaker. Even in her own family, she always took care of everyone. Both of her grandmothers were nurses. Her mother worked for Masonic Village when she was in high school.

So, it was no surprise that Samantha would follow in their career footsteps, becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) with Masonic Village Hospice.

CNAs provide vital support to both patients and nurses, from transporting, bathing and feeding hospital patients to stocking medical supplies and logging patient information. There are currently seven CNAs working with Masonic Village Hospice.

Samantha has been a CNA for 16 years, and has worked for Masonic Village Hospice since 2017. She most enjoys the personal relationships she forms with the patients.

“You become part of their family,” she said.

“There is something to be said for being with a patient and their family during one of the hardest times in their lives and being able to provide comfort and compassion,” she said. “I love that about Hospice. Being there for these families and making a difference in their lives is very meaningful.”

The most difficult part of Samantha’s job is seeing the pain families go through when a loved one is declining. “I lost both my parents at a young age, and I know the pain these families feel,” she said.

COVID-19 was one of the biggest challenges for everyone on the nursing team, Samantha said. The confusion and uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic was difficult to work through.

“We wanted to reassure our patients that they were going to be okay,” she said. “We all tried to provide as much emotional support as we could.”

Another CNA, Sonni Boyer (above left), started with Masonic Village Hospice in 2014. She left briefly in 2019, and returned to Masonic Village in May 2022. She is glad to be back with patients.

“It’s so rewarding when I can help someone else,” she said. “I love getting to know our patients on a personal level and spending quality time with them, whether it’s taking them outside for fresh air, styling their hair, painting their nails or talking to them about their lives and adventures.”

Hospice team members create attachments and bonds with their patients, and they become part of their lives.

“Saying goodbye is not an easy feat,” she said. “I’m very thankful to be able to provide our patients and families comfort when they need it most.”