From a very young age, Myra Dorris knew she wanted to help people. After losing her right arm in a horse accident as a child, she received a level of care from SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital that she wanted to pass onto others.
“I received excellent support from the nuns, and, at the age of 8 was exposed to what people can do to make a difference.”
Though this incident eventually led Myra to a career in social work, initially, it brought some challenges that she progressively overcame with time and patience.
“When you’re young you face a lot of different things, such as learning to write, learning to wash dishes, doing different things you need to do to take care of yourself everyday. Then, as you get older, you face different aspects, such as driving, activities, sports- I played softball, I was a cheerleader. You make choices about what kind of quality of care you want your life to bring. So I had those options.”
By the time Myra began seriously contemplating a career path during her time at the University of Missouri, she sought out the advice of an advisor. After explaining the different ways she wanted to help people dealing with illness, grief, and loss, the advisor recommended she go into social work.
“I literally changed my major at one point from psychology to social work, and I’m glad I did because I wanted to be able to provide a personal approach in dealing with families.”
With over 20 years of experience working closely with patients, visiting them at their homes, in nursing homes, or in assisted living facilities, Myra has been able to offer that intimate level of care, and has witnessed the benefits of that familiar setting.
“When you go to meet people in their own environment, you really see what they’re about. So I think that influenced my decision to be in a healthcare-related field.”
This dedication to personalized care made working with hospice patients a natural decision for Myra. In her time working with hospice patients, she was able to pick up on some important themes that often come up for those dealing with end of life.
Watch the video below to hear her perspective on the grief we all experience in life.