Arriving only recently at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, Caroline has had a long and varied career in nursing and brings a wealth of experience with her to Sue Ryder. Caroline, 53, has worked on busy hospital wards, in a doctor’s surgery and has even nursed in north Africa, but nothing could have prepared her for the impact Covid-19 would have on our healthcare system.
“Everybody looks after each other here and I love that”
“I started at Thorpe Hall in March and obviously things have been very different to how they would normally be. At the moment we are quite isolated as there are no relatives and volunteers around. We are all struggling with the masks and the visors and the new ways of working and there have been days when I have felt really wobbly but everybody looks after each other here and I love that.
“My mum used to work on the bursary side of things at a hospice so we used to do a lot of fundraising for them and various other causes. As soon as I started at Thorpe Hall and realised how much we needed to raise to keep going I did a fundraiser on Facebook which raised £942 in two weeks. I’ve also signed my whole family up to Thorpe’s ‘Lockdown Losers’ fundraiser to help us get fit and one of the nurses has organised a 24-hour cycling marathon at the hospice on a static bike so I’ve signed my husband up for that!”
Helping others across a varied nursing career
Caroline, who has children aged 20 and 22, trained as a nurse at the age of 18 and has worked in varied settings including a respiratory ward, cottage hospital and doctor’s surgery. She has also nursed in Gibraltar, done outreach work in Tangiers and night sitting for Marie Curie.
“I’m also interested in complementary therapies. In the past I have trained to do some counselling, holistic massage, sports massage, reflexology - I think it’s all about balance. When I worked in the cottage hospital I set up a little aromatherapy room with an atomiser to help people relax in the evenings. I also think nature is really important. I love gardening and I like to buy all the discounted plants and bring them back to life!”
“I have trained to do some counselling, holistic massage, sports massage, reflexology...it’s all about balance”
Having recently returned to nursing following some time out, Caroline was working on a very busy respiratory ward when she sustained a serious knee injury.
“I ended up having a knee replacement. I’ve always been very strong and active but I knew I was really going to struggle returning to the ward and working full time. I used to go to the hospice in Peterborough a lot to visit the charity shop and the coffee shop and I kept seeing a sign advertising for staff so I thought maybe I should apply.
“There is always a patient who would like you to sit and talk with them”
“When I was on the respiratory ward I often wanted to do more for people than time allowed and I suppose that is the difference between the hospice and the hospital. I can allow the other side of me to come through because there is more time. There is always a patient who would like you to sit and talk with them. Making sure the patient understands what you are doing is really important. It doesn’t take much to ensure people have dignity and peace and that is so important. It’s a basic human right.
“And I love the little extras that we can provide at the hospice. We had one lady who came in who hadn’t been eating at home so we asked her what she would really like to eat. She said she would like beef stew and chocolate mousse. Four hours later that is what the kitchen had made her!”
Find out information on Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, their expert palliative care services and ways you can help support them, so that they can continue to help people through the most difficult times of their lives.