The Power of Her Presence
Emily Korpos ’16
Public health major experiences hospice and palliative care
Emily Korpos ’16 devoted her college career to learning the fundamentals of public health—disease prevention, education on healthy living—but her internship in hospice and palliative care thrust her toward the opposite end of the health care spectrum.
As she witnessed the final moments of patients’ lives during her internship at Compassus Hospice & Palliative Care, Korpos learned that her role was largely to be a supportive presence and patient advocate for the residents in assisted living facilities.
“It was really great to see that the fundamentals of public health can be applied to so many different aspects of health, including hospice,” she says.
Korpos was understandably very limited in what she was able to do for patients, but she quickly realized the peace and comfort she provided just by being there during a patient’s most vulnerable time.
“It was really great to see that the fundamentals of public health can be applied to so many different aspects of health, including hospice.” — Emily Korpos ’16
“I loved hearing about their childhoods and families and they loved hearing about mine. A simple conversation with any of my residents could turn each of our days around,” she says.
The experience left Korpos considering her options after graduation and the potential to build upon her degree in a complementary way, she explains.
“I remember sitting bedside with one of my patients during her final moments of life. I knew how important my presence was, as well as the act of holding her hand, but I found myself wanting to do more. I am definitely considering going back to school for an accelerated nursing program.”
Wherever she ends up, Korpos wants to work in the nonprofit sector to improve the health of others in her community—no matter the age or stage of life.