“I have lots of lovely memories with patients - them making me laugh and me making them laugh in return”

For International Nurses Day on 12 May, when we celebrate the crucial work of Sue Ryder Nurses, we are sharing the story of one of the longest-serving members of the nursing team at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice. Nursing Assistant Carole is celebrating 25 years of dedicated service and we hope that her experience encourages others to consider a nursing career in palliative care.

Sue Ryder Nursing Assistant Carole celebrating 25 years of service, with golden '25' balloons behind her
Carole’s colleagues surprised her with numbered balloons and some delicious cake

25 years of caring 

Carole has cared for thousands of patients and their loved ones on the hospice’s specialist inpatient unit, since she joined the team in 1996.

She has always held roles helping people in one way or another; she previously worked in a nursing home and before that was a dinner lady at a school for 12-and-a-half years.

As a Sue Ryder Nursing Assistant, Carole is part of the inpatient unit’s multi-disciplinary team, caring for people with life-limiting conditions and supporting their families.  

Alongside the rest of her colleagues, Carole has continued caring throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Carole being surprised by her colleagues at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice
“I’ve been really happy working at the hospice; it’s a great job.”

A surprise celebration 

To mark her special 25-year milestone, Carole’s colleagues decided to surprise her on the ward with numbered balloons and some delicious cake.

Speaking after the celebration, Carole said: “I was so shocked! I didn’t expect it. This is my job; it’s just what I do. It was lovely to feel appreciated.

“I always wanted to do nursing, even back when I was at school.

"I came to it a bit later in life, after getting married and having my children. I have been married for 50 years this July, so this year is a double celebration!”

“Lots of lovely memories”

Reflecting on her experiences caring for local people over the past few decades, Carole says her numerous highlights include achieving an NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care. 

She is also especially proud of working with the rest of the team to help facilitate patients’ final wishes and requests, including arranging weddings with just a few hours’ notice.

“The last 25 years has gone really quickly,” she added. “I’ve been really happy working at the hospice; it’s a great job.

“I have lots of lovely memories with patients, such as them making me laugh and me making them laugh in return.

“Working at the hospice is really rewarding. The team are just so welcoming and you always get a lot of support.”

“We make the time to give a more personal touch”

Carole remembers her first day at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, back in the 1990s.

“I had previously worked at a big nursing home, which was very busy,” she said.

“When I started at the hospice, I remember I was rushing about in the same fast mode. In time though, I learned to slow down.

"We are able to give a different kind of care at the hospice; we have more time to care and are not so rushed. We make the time to give a more personal touch.

“The best part of my role is making sure patients are really comfortable and pain free.

"It’s the little things that are important, such as having your hair brushed, being nicely shaved, having nice clean sheets and wearing fresh pyjamas. Things like that are really important and make a big difference.”    

Outside of work, Carole has a passion for Northern soul music and says the toe-tapping tunes help to keep her “active and happy”.

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, seen from the front entrance
The front entrance of Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice

Paying tribute to Carole

Some of Carole’s Sue Ryder colleagues have paid tribute to her contribution:

“Working with Carole for the last 25 years has been a privilege. Always professional, always hardworking, never a dull moment, always music playing, and most of all always a good friend.”

“Like many, I have lots of happy memories working with Carole for many years.”

“She is a lovely person to work with.”

“Words to describe her would be very kind and very funny in equal measure. It goes without saying she is a wonderful palliative care nurse who you are always relieved to see on your shift. She is hardworking and so in tune with her patients, so experienced. You know everything will be done to the highest standard. Above all she’s a caring, lovely person and not just a colleague but a dear friend to us all.”

Join our team and be there when it matters

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice is currently searching for Registered Nurses and Staff Nurses to join its 'Outstanding' CQC-rated hospice and be there when it matters for local families.

The hospice, which has been providing care to Peterborough families for 30 years, offers time to care in one of the most rewarding areas of nursing, in a supportive and friendly environment with great benefits.

Read stories from other Sue Ryder Nurses about their experiences of providing care in our hospices and neurological care centres.

A nursing career in palliative care with Sue Ryder

If you are inspired by Carole's story to join our team, please do get in touch. You'll be helping to give the expert care we provide to support people and their families through the most difficult times of their lives.

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Sue Ryder Nursing Assistant Carole who is celebrating 25 years of service

Sue Ryder Nursing Assistant

Carole
Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice

Carole is celebrating 25 years of dedicated service to Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice. She has cared for thousands of patients and their loved ones since she joined the team in 1996.