My name is Diane and I’ve worked as a registered nurse at Mary Potter Hospice for 10 years. I love my job. I’ve always had a passion for palliative care.
Sometimes I work in the hospice at Newtown. We nurses call it ‘on the ward’. But what I love the absolute most is when I visit patients at home. As a nurse, I love it when I get to a patient’s home and they say “thank goodness you’re here!”, because I can take all the stress off them.
I used to get so frustrated when I heard that our patients wanted to stay at home as long as possible, but we couldn’t provide all the support they needed. I used to say “I want to just jump in a car and go and see them and fix it.” Now that time has come. We’ve set up a programme called Enhanced Hospice@Home, because our patients and their carers tell us they’d prefer to stay at home if they can.
For me it’s important that I can now spend more time with my patients. One of them said to me that we never seem to be in a hurry. She said “I’ve never known anything like what the hospice provides.” After caring for a husband with dementia all day, she was desperately tired at night. She could sleep because she absolutely trusted us to do the right thing.
Sometimes I visit and there is a big family present. All of them have different ideas on what is happening to their loved one, and what the future holds. I sit with them face to face to make sure they understand. If everyone in the family is on the same page, it takes such stress off my patient.
One patient didn’t want a hospital bed at home, so we provided all the care on the couch. It was a bit more difficult, but it was what the person wanted. As a nurse, it’s so important that my patients retain their dignity.
I get such a kick out of this job. I guess I’m a typical nurse because if I see a problem I won’t stop til I’ve fixed it. With this new role I’ll have the time to sit and sort it all out for people. We are now able to help patients at home in the evenings and weekends, and provide other things like social work and counselling. It makes such a difference to people’s lives.