For nearly 25 years, Shaun has worked as a nurse in palliative care. “Many people have a misconception about what palliative care is. We are there to support people with life limiting illnesses with the priority of improving their quality of life.”
Shaun has spent most of his career working in the United Kingdom, but in 2019 he and his husband immigrated to New Zealand. For nearly two years, he has worked as a Palliative Care Coordinator with Mary Potter Hospice.
Palliative Care Coordinators are specialist nurses who work within the community. “When I applied for the role, the Hospice were very good at keeping in touch after the interview and offer of a position. They were comfortingly patient while I was working through the immigration requirements. I found the whole team very positive and welcoming upon my arrival.”
Shaun’s usual day begins at the Hospice in Newtown before visiting patients in their homes. He and the Mary Potter Hospice team work closely with the patient’s GP and District Health nursing team to ensure wrap-around care. While there were many similarities between the UK and New Zealand hospice sector, working with Māori and Pasifika whānau was a new experience.
“It has been a big learning curve for me. I have been supported from the onset including a gentle introduction to the Treaty of Waitangi. I have found it exciting and challenging. The Hospice provides a range of information and support so that its staff understand the deep cultural diversity of Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Incorporating all aspects of a patient’s needs into their nursing is a key element which Shaun values in palliative care. “We often talk about the holistic model of care in nursing. The patient is at the centre and their whānau, spiritual, social needs and even their financial situation are taken into account. This is the model that Mary Potter Hospice embraces.”
While the work is often emotionally challenging, Mary Potter Hospice provides strong clinical and pastoral support. “There is a huge amount of support for staff. We work as a multidisciplinary team, so there is a range of people who are able to help the patient, their family and the professionals caring for them.”
“The Hospice also invests time in encouraging its staff, which includes training and support for continuing professional development – which is great!”
We’re looking for enthusiastic and compassionate people to join our team at Mary Potter Hospice
If you’re considering new opportunities for 2021, we welcome anyone with medical, nursing, allied-heath, administration and financial skills.