I am a Hospice at Home nurse and work in the community, but based at the hospice. I have been working here since 1989 starting as a bank nurse before getting a permanent job on the in-patient unit in 1995. I chose to work at St Mary’s as I’ve been interested in palliative nursing since working on a busy medical ward in the 1980s, where I was unable to give dying patients the proper space, care and time they needed.
My favourite part of the job is nursing the dying and supporting their families; we can make a real difference at the end of life. There are so many individuals, both relatives and patients, who have been so generous in their acceptance of us, who are open to us and let us in, in such a short time. One of my favourite memories is helping a husband to accept his wife was dying, and that he needed to let her know that he would be ok when she was gone. This helped her settle and die peacefully. When you love someone and can’t get them settled it is so difficult for the family. So having the Hospice At Home team coming in, and offer support in many ways, like providing night sitters, give injections or give personal care, can help the family cope.
It is so special hearing families share how we have made a difference at a time when loved ones can feel so low and lonely, and to see the relief when we talk through our service, and they realise they will be supported.
I also love working with students, to encourage them to be able to enjoy and care for patients and relatives the way I have been. I’m very thankful to the hospice for letting me work to the best of my ability, I’m given the knowledge, time and equipment to make a difference.