Judy Flickinger was a hospice nurse for the last twelve years of her forty two-year professional life as a registered nurse. During her hospice career, she worked directly with hundreds of dying persons and their loved ones. She was very active in hospice education throughout the Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan area.
Early in her hospice work, Judy came to realize that a successful hospice outcome depended as much, if not more so, on the condition of the patient’s spirit as it did on the condition of the patient’s body. She recognized that a healthy spirit could make the difference between a miserable death and a positive, meaningful end-of-life experience for both the patients and their loved ones.
Judy retired in 2002 to write Spirit Matters: How to Remain Fully Alive with a Life-Limiting Illness, published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises, not only to pass on what she learned, which is vitally important to persons faced with a life-limiting illness, but also to fulfill her promise to many of her hospice patients that their stories would be told so that others would benefit from what they had learned.
For several years before her retirement, Judy was a guest lecturer for medical education programs at various local colleges and schools: Cleveland State University Bachelor of Science Nursing program, Cuyahoga Community College Nursing and Physician’s Assistant programs, and the Central School of Practical Nursing. She developed and, for many years, taught certified continuing education programs for nurses and social workers involved in hospice and home care. Subjects covered in these programs included: death and dying, symptom and pain management, feeding practices, and dealing with the end-of-life as a journey.
Judy has given community education talks (far to many to count) at churches, senior centers, libraries, support groups (Alzheimer families, cancer, respiratory, nursing home and independent living families), Stephen Ministries, high school death and dying classes, Rotary, Kiwanis, various clubs and to groups of physicians and their wives. She has delivered speeches on death and dying at a community forum atLorainCountyCommunity Collegeand at an annual faculty program atClevelandStateUniversity. She was selected to teach classes on dying at annual conferences in Cleveland for Presbyterian and Methodist church leaders. She was a speaker at the annual meeting of a statewide organization that promoted long-term care issues in Ohio.
Judy has appeared on television for interviews and also as a member of a local panel of experts following the Bill Moyers series on death and dying presented nationwide on public television. She did an exclusive hour-long segment with the host of a radio call-in program dealing with death and dying. She has given interviews and has written articles that were published in local newspapers. She was also interviewed for several articles in a northeastern Ohio nursing publication.
Judy is the past president of the North Coast Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association and has served on the Ohio Hospice Association Education Committee.