May 27, 2016

LightBridge Team Spotlight

LightBridge has a dedicated team of clinicians whose focus is patient care.  One of the leaders of that team is Abigail D’Agostino, RN, MBA, our Director of Patient Care Services. 

Why did you become a nurse and what brought you to work in the hospice and palliative care field?

I love people and I love science so nursing was a natural fit.  I was drawn to work in hospice because I believe life means something, life is special, and every individual is special. I worked for a number of years as an oncology nurse and in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Scripps.  I was already working with people at the end of life and hospice was a natural next step.  I felt a calling to honor people at the end of life.

What was your most meaningful moment with a hospice patient?

All of my time with patients when I was a case manager was meaningful.  One patient stands out and it was one of my first patients. I had just come from working in the hospital ICU where everything is orderly and controlled.  Hospice is different.  Our goal is to support a patient with their goals at the end of life, which do not always fall in line with what a medical person might recommend.  This particular patient was very weak and was at risk of falling.  He lived in a two story home and shared an upstairs bedroom with his wife of many years.  He did not want to give that up and it was his wish to die in their bed beside his wife.  I let them know about the comfort and safety of getting a hospital bed for the first floor. While he agreed and we did provide this, he always slept in his own bed. When he died he got his wish, which was to pass peacefully in his bed next to his wife.  It taught me that whenever and wherever we can that we support and honor people in making their choices and allow them to live their life how they want until the last breath.

Everyone talks about quality care, how do you ensure LightBridge delivers that?

I hold myself accountable to the highest standards of excellence.  Achieving Joint Commission Accreditation is one piece of ensuring excellence. To keep LightBridge on the leading edge I continually maintain and expand my clinical knowledge.  I also do outside clinical review work for one of the leading national hospice consulting firms.  From that I get a first-hand look at what others in our field are doing.  

I have a passion for staff development. As a nurse I live and breathe for patients. My goal is to make sure our staff is well educated, embrace a learning spirit and take accountability. I try to be a role model for embracing feedback.  It is how we get better. We need to be committed to getting better every day. My favorite quote is “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”.

How would you like to be remembered?

That is a tough question. What it comes down to for me is a belief that there is meaning and magic in life. I want to help lift others up and teach others how to do the same.

In addition to being a registered nurse Abigail has an MBA.  She is also a Board Officer on the Howell Foundation whose mission is research and education in women’s health. Abigail founded her own not for profit, Nurses for Health, to educate and empower nurses to achieve optimal health for themselves and others. In her spare time Abigail loves to travel both in the US and overseas.  In her free time you will most likely find her outdoors or doing the Flamenco or Tango with her local dance troupe.