On International Nurses Day, we're celebrating the wonderful work of our Hospice nurses – nurses like Sinead.
Sinead joined our Inpatient Unit team as a newly qualified nurse nine months ago. Here she shares her journey to palliative care and what she loves about working at St Peter's.
"I guess I'd say I've always wanted to help people. Growing up, I wanted to be a social worker. Then I thought I'd be a midwife, but I did a placement and realised it wasn't for me. I worked in a care home and loved it, so it just felt natural to go into nursing.
Covid happened when I was a student nurse in a hospital, and everything was really scary. It was a tough time for everyone's mental health and it made me think, what do I want to get out my nursing career? Where do I feel I'm making the most difference? And I realised that was in palliative care. I just knew that was where I needed to be, and I've not looked back since.
I feel so lucky to have come straight to St Peter's. As a newly qualified nurse I was anxious about entering a new workplace, but everyone was so lovely and so accommodating. I was able to shadow the team for a whole month, which was so helpful.
I've never had a team that's been as supportive and understanding as this one. I wouldn't have grown into the nurse I am today without them – they're amazing. I genuinely feel that I've thrived here as a newly qualified nurse.
We start each shift with a really thorough handover. We'll go through every patient, their diagnosis, any changes to their medicine and any important information we need to know. Then we go and say hello to our patients and start our morning medications. We're usually allocated two or three patients.
I love the amount of time I get to spend with my patients one-to-one. I can really get to know them and I've got the time to dedicate myself to their needs. We're here for one common goal and that's to make sure everyone is receiving the best level of care, 24 hours a day.
As a nurse, I never expected to learn so much about medications. We're not just looking at a prescription chart and following it – we think about what the medications do, how they work, how they are metabolised. I make the clinical decisions about which pain relief or anti-sickness medication is best for a patient.
We genuinely go above and beyond for our patients at St Peter's. We often have pets visiting, which is good for the staff as well as for the patients. We've had dogs, cats, a snake. We've got big patio doors opening out on to our garden, so we've even been able to welcome a horse to the Hospice!
I'll always remember helping a patient get ready for her wedding. We all counted down the days with her. We helped get her ready with her outfit and make up and we all cried as we sent her off in her car to the ceremony. Then we set up her room with bunting, flowers, LED candles and rose petals scattered everywhere. One of the team had made a beautiful sign saying 'Mr and Mrs'. It was a really special day for all of us.
The most rewarding part of the job is when you're able to give someone a beautiful death – the kind of death you'd always wish for. For me, that means the patient isn't in pain; they're not agitated; they're surrounded by love, whether that love is from staff - because we do love our patients – or from family. When the patient's family thank you and give you hug, that's when you know you've done a good job.
I know for a fact that I always want to stay in palliative care. It's such a privilege to work here. To do what I do every day and to do it with such an amazing team - I couldn't ask for more."
If you're interested in nursing and health care opportunities at St Peter's Hospice, we'd love to hear from you.Back to News