Meet Danielle Gregory, Ward Manager at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading. Danielle, who has worked at the hospice for 14 years, leads a team of Sue Ryder Nurses and staff in the hospice’s 15-bed inpatient unit. Here, she tells us about her role and why she loves what she does.
Danielle qualified with a diploma in Adult Nursing from Brighton University before working in London as a community staff nurse, which is when she first became interested in palliative care. After relocating to Reading in 2006, she saw an opportunity at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice and joined as a staff nurse.
Between 2015 - 2017 Danielle worked towards topping up her diploma to a degree, graduating with first class honours in December 2017. She has been the Ward Manager at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice for two years.
“I actually don’t know what other type of nursing I would do. Here we’re very lucky with our staff to patient ratio which means we can look after people completely holistically and we have the time to do the extra things that perhaps acute hospitals don’t have the time to do."
"Although I now have a more managerial role, I enjoy that too. It’s so nice to see the staff nurses gain skills and expertise and watch them grow."
Leading a team providing expert care and compassion
Danielle leads a team of Sue Ryder Nurses and staff at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice, providing expert care and compassion to people at the most difficult time of their lives. The hospice was recently rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission.
"There is absolutely no average day, we never know what’s coming! We could have the same number of patients but no day will ever be the same. A typical day is welcoming new admissions and continuing to provide care to the patients who are already at the hospice. We prescribe a lot of medication and help to relieve patients physical symptoms such as pain, breathlessness and nausea."
"A huge part of the nurse and nursing assistant’s role on the inpatient unit is also looking after family members. Patients and their families come as a complete package and they’re all equally as important.
"I think everyone deals with their job in a completely different way. Where I’ve been here for a long time I’ve learnt coping strategies, but we’re all individuals and we’ll all come across one patient or another that might resonate with us.
"For me, it’s really important to tap into the extra support that Sue Ryder gives us. We have great clinical supervision and an amazing Chaplain that will support us. As a team we’re quite good at recognising if someone is struggling and will support each other. We also laugh a lot and we laugh with patients and that’s really important."
"It means a lot to people that you've made the situation as best you can for them"
"When people ask what I do they often say ‘that must be really sad’, but it’s actually not and you get a lot out of it. It means a lot to people that you’ve made the situation as best as you can for them and helped them get to a place where they can accept what’s happening."
"If someone has an interest in palliative care, becoming a Sue Ryder Nurse will be the best thing they ever do. Sue Ryder is an amazing charity to work for and there are some great opportunities for development and training. If you want to specialise in a type of nursing, you really cannot get better than palliative care."
"For me, what I really love about working at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice is seeing it throughout the seasons. I particularly love the summer when we’re able to wheel the patients outside in their beds, put the umbrellas up and they can look at the trees and watch the birds. I just love that time."
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Danielle leads a team of Sue Ryder Nurses and other care staff at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading.