“When I came for my interview I fell in love with the Hospice. It was so pretty, a cottage in the woods with huge glass windows and high wooden ceilings. We (the original nursing team) joined the Hospice before it opened and were involved in choosing the furniture and the finishing touches. Everyone just wanted it to be perfect. When we opened our doors to the first inpatients in April 1994 it really was a dream come true. We were able to show people the care and compassion they needed, and in the best place possible.
We knew it was special. It was so different from the NHS. I remember our first summer, having to pop out to buy sun cream because patients were sitting out in the garden! That would just never have happened in the hospital setting. I’m not being critical of hospitals but at the end of life, your needs are just so much more than medical treatment, it’s about dignity, living life to the full for as long as possible and coming to terms with what it means for you and your family. Hospices allow this to happen.
I was so pleased when we were able to extend our reach out into the community ten or so years ago. It was the second best thing. If you can’t have everyone in the Hospice then providing that care at home is a close second. With every change, there has been a new goal but always with the aim of providing the best possible care to people – wherever they are.
Recently, I made a big change. I moved from the Hospice where I’ve been for 25 years to our team based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I did it because I want to bring a little bit of the Hospice to a hospital setting, some calm and tranquillity to often chaotic wards. I want to inspire other nurses to care for patients in the way that we do in the Hospice. I feel I’ve come full circle, back to where I started but with a life-time of experience to share with others.
I’m so proud of what we are able to do now, at the Hospice and in the community – and know how much more needs to be done. So thank you, for your support, because without it we wouldn’t have come this far.”