Day in The Life of a Nurse - Jackie's story
Since qualifying in 1992, Jackie has nursed in many roles and has particularly enjoyed working in palliative care, improving the lives of people suffering from life limiting illnesses. She’s worked at a hospice since 2008 and loves her current role as a Community Hub Manager, managing a staff of 8 nurses plus volunteers that look after services in the Community Hub. She is based in the Wellbeing Centre which offers ongoing support for up to 15 patients a day.
Jackie typically starts her day around 8.40am with a meeting involving hospice staff from the in-patient and community teams. After discussing individual patients and prioritising work, she goes to the Wellbeing Centre to talk to staff and volunteers about patients who are attending that day.
Patients arrive from 10.30am and Jackie tries to see any new referrals. Most are seen in the Wellbeing Centre drop in but Jackie also goes out to see them at home if they have complex needs.
“I try to greet all new patients coming in and have a chat as I think it’s important to make them feel welcome and at ease. We devise a programme of care for each patient to meet their individual needs and this can be a tough time for them, so I’m keen to make this part of their journey as supportive as possible''
In the Wellbeing Centre, all the staff and patients have lunch together which allows the nursing staff to continue their assessment of patients in a relaxed and informal way. Jackie is keen that throughout the day the nursing staff and volunteers are always available to sit and chat to the patients who are encouraged to talk as much or as little as they wish.
“Talking is really important as our nurses can tell so much about how a patient is really feeling and we always try to create a comfortable environment for that to happen. We don’t have set appointments and we don’t clock-watch and patients say they really appreciate the time that they are given by nurses and volunteers.”
After lunch, an artist arrives and works with those patients who want to explore creative activities like drawing, painting and sculpture. This is another chance for staff to learn more about the patients and their needs.
Once the patients have left at 3.30pm, Jackie catches up with nursing staff and they chat through any concerns or issues they have with individual patients and it’s a chance for her to support her team emotionally and practically. Once the inevitable paperwork is done – referrals, telephone calls and letters to GPs and other care providers are completed – Jackie finishes work around 5.00pm.
Jackie describes working at the hospice as a real privilege. She knows that even if someone only has a short time left to live, her and her staff can make a real difference in the way they are supported and cared for.
“Talking about end of life care with people can be really hard and sad, but it can also be incredibly uplifting and rewarding.”
“I love being part of the journey that the patients go on and I value the very honest conversations we have and the incredible level of trust they have for me.”