Traci Miliauskas-Varak – Administrator and CHPN
Traci has been a registered nurse since 2003. She started her career in the medical field after graduating high school early, obtaining her CNA. She has worked in many roles in the health care field, learning so much along the way. Her primary nursing career specialized in Oncology, caring for patients throughout their treatment journey. Traci was approached by one of the partners of AGH, after having cared for their family member, and asked to join The AGH team as a case manager. She started with AGH 1 week after it opened, admitting their first patient. She has been lucky enough to have seen the tremendous growth of AGH, and attributes that growth to the exceptional care provided to the communities served. She has conquered many roles during her 8 years with AGH, she has been a CM, Admission nurse, Director of Admissions, Assistant Clinical Director, Clinical Director, Administrator.
She has dedicated herself to caring for people at the end of their life. She has fostered the growth of a team to join her in this care. She loves what she does, who she does it for, and who she does it with.
Marilyn Colley – Assistant Administrator
Marilyn S. Colley started as an oncology nurse with a dream to become a hospice nurse, which she has been since 1994. She was certified as a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse “CHPN” in 1996.
“Hospice was always my heart’s desire. Both of my parents died too young of cancer. They died before hospice was available in the US (prior to 1983). They both died in pain and with no support to our family. It breaks my heart that anyone would have to die that way. We know so much more now about end-of-life care.
It is always such an honor and privilege to be allowed into a patient’s home and life when they are really doing the work of saying goodbye. We get one chance to make a difference.
We employ highly trained professionals who also have a passion for hospice and then support them so they can do the work they are called to do.”
Aracely Rios – Clinical Director and Assistant Administrator
Aracely was recently promoted to our Clinical Director. During her seven years working for Angels Grace Hospice, she has held the role as RN, and Team Lead prior to Clinical Director. Aracely is currently training to become a PAC certified independent coach for dementia training. Aracely earned her BSN from Chamberlain Nursing School in 2011. She had worked with Dementia patients in a long term care setting for two years prior to starting her career in hospice as an RN case manager. Aracely has provided end of life care and education to families and their loved ones for over seven years and recently received her certification for Hospice and palliative nursing (CHPN).
She attended Columbia College and Wright College before meeting her husband and starting a family. Aracely worked as an Insurance agent for ten years before going back to school and pursue her nursing degree. Aracely and her husband have 3 children. Her first-born, Chris, is attending his second year at Aurora University in the nursing program. Their middle son Isaac is a Junior in H.S and plays baseball, and their youngest daughter Noemi is a sophomore and also plays softball. He attributes her success as a mother, wife and nurse to her husband who has been a big support during her journey of life.
Jeanne Scheel – Licensed Nurse Practitioner/Palliative Program Director
Growing up in a Medical family, it was only natural that this would eventually be my own path in life.
I have been a Nurse for nearly 20 years, and a Nurse Practitioner for 10 of those years; board certified in Family Practice. I graduated from University of St. Francis in Joliet, Summa Cum Laude, and was active in the Honor Society, among other organizations. My career in nursing began at a University Hospital setting, in PICU; where I cared for Pediatric Cardiac Transplant, as well as Pediatric Oncology and BMT patients. While working there, I had the privilege to complete an Ethics Fellowship. It was here that my passion for Palliative Care was fueled, as I noted a “gap” in care. I organized a team – in order to develop a training program; Project HOPE (Helping Others through Palliative Education), teaching classes to nurses and staff members, as well as presenting to Medical Students and Faculty of the University. I co-wrote a grant and obtained funding to initiate a Pediatric Palliative Care program, which has since grown and remains strong. My career then took me to adult Thoracic Surgery and Oncology. From there, my practice moved out into the community – where I was the primary APN in numerous nursing facilities for 6 years. I always found that Palliative Care was needed in every area of medicine I worked.
I was approached by a former colleague to then consider a career at Angels Grace; as their Nurse Practitioner. Working with Angels Grace Hospice and Palliative Care for the past 4 years has brought me full circle – and now, I feel as though I’ve come home in my career. Palliative Care has always been, and remains, a passion for me. I see the difference it makes in my patient’s and family’s lives. We discuss goals of care, and they are supported throughout those difficult conversations and decisions. I consider it the greatest privilege to be allowed into the lives of my patients and families at such a vulnerable time. It is quite humbling, and I continually thank my patients and families for allowing me to be a part of this very special journey.
Sharmaine Singleton RN, BSN, CHPN – Assistant Clinical Director
In June of 2011, Sharmaine graduated Cum Laude from Chamberlain College of Nursing with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. She was duly inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing, and in October of 2012, Sharmaine accepted a PRN position at Angels Grace Hospice in 2013.
Sharmaine has vast experience as an RN in several healthcare settings and has worked in Assistant livings facilities, long term skilled nursing facilities, acute hospital setting on a Medsurg Neuro unit and currently serves as the assistant clinical director at Angels Grace Hospice.
Sharmaine believes that quality patient care experience is of paramount importance to a healthcare facility in today’s society. She strives and excels in being competent, empathetic, dependable and professional. It is important to have strong listening and communication skills. Her goal every day is to fulfill her role with the highest commitment and continue to honor the AGH way!
Heather Cocke – CHPN & Admissions Director
Heather has been practicing nursing for over 24 years. She graduated from nursing school with a 4.0 on a 4.0 scale and was honored with Salutatorian, graduating with Summa Cum Laude. Heather began her career working in Tele/ICU/CCU and eventually transitioned to the Emergency Department which she enjoyed. It was during this time frame, Heather went back to school and received her BSN from Trinity Christian College graduating with high honors.
On a personal level, her life took a turn and circumstances introduced her to hospice nursing. Since experiencing what is like first hand to have an immediate family member be diagnosed with a terminal illness, she quickly became aware of the important role of hospice care. Heather was approached by an Angels Grace employee to become a part of a great team of nurses, health aides, doctors, and social workers in advocating and providing hospice care.
Heather graciously accepted and has been helping families through her role at Angels Grace as Admissions Director. For Heather, it’s not just a job, it is a passion that comes from the heart.