Alicia Miltner volunteers in hospice and aims for physician assistant career
Alicia Miltner’s personal experience with hospice care made her realize what she wants to do with her life and what’s important to her.
Alicia stood by her grandfather while he was in the hospital for seven months before he passed away. During that hard time for her family, Alicia could see the positive impact that the hospital staff had on her grandfather. She wants to impact other people’s lives in a similar way.
“I just saw how meaningful the doctors and physician assistants and nurses were to my grandpa,” Alicia said. “I’ve always wanted to give back to those who have touched me and the people I love.”
After her grandfather passed, Alicia began to give back like she wanted. She started volunteering at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids as a front desk clerk and eventually became an inpatient hospice volunteer.
As a hospice volunteer, Alicia works with people living with a terminal illness who are no longer receiving treatment. She enjoys spending time with her patients and letting them know they aren’t alone.
“I’ve formed relationships with [the patients]. It’s like talking to a friend,” she said.
Alicia makes a big impact through small actions such as helping feed patients, playing card games with them, holding their hand through a rough day, or even just sitting in the room to help soothe them.
Alicia hopes to use her nutritional background to care for patients holistically through food. Along with volunteering, studying nutritional science at Iowa State University brings Alicia closer to her dream career of being a physician assistant.
As a caregiver and future physician assistant, Alicia aims to provide patients with the same care, compassion, and friendship that was given to her grandfather. Giving back by volunteering has made her confident in her choice of study, but it’s also made her realize much more than her career goals.
“My experiences [with hospice] have touched my life in a way that I never thought,” Alicia said. “It’s made me realize what’s important in life. What matters in life is who you’ve loved and who loved you.”