Meet Sonia Maisey, a Senior Staff Nurse at our Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice. Sonia takes us through a day in her life as a member of the Hospice at Home team, which cares for people in their own homes.
I do feel I make a difference in my job. We are nursing during a crucial point in life and it is a very privileged position to be in.
At the beginning of life, you often remember your midwife who was present during birth – I see my role in a similar way: our patients’ loved ones remember us for being there at the end of life. You know you are making a difference and it is immensely rewarding.
“A warm and friendly atmosphere”
I usually get up at 7.00am. I am not a breakfast person; I eat when I feel hungry. I drive to the hospice and am ready to start work at 8.30am.
The hospice is set in beautiful grounds and there is a lovely, warm and friendly atmosphere. One of the first things I noticed when I first joined was the colourful bunting that adorns the ceiling of the corridor next to our Hospice at Home offices.
We begin our day with a team handover from the night shift and discuss any new referrals. This brief daily meeting allows for leading and coordinating care, prioritising visits, identifying new assessments, and reviewing patients’ needs and reassessments.
We share and plan workloads for the day ahead. This can include following up on outstanding jobs from the day before, such as ordering equipment or collaborating with District Nurses, Clinical Nurse Specialists and GPs to prevent hospital admissions with solid support and symptom control measures.
“Families often breathe a sigh of relief that you have arrived”
We then head out and about on the road to visit patients and their families in the local community. Each assessment consists of carefully personalising a patient’s nursing care, with attention to specific details when planning and evaluating, ensuring we are delivering unique and genuine compassionate care.
It is quite an honour to visit someone in their home. When the door opens, often families are very relieved to see you, because they may have been at the end of their tether. They often breathe a sigh of relief that you have arrived; it takes that responsibility of being the main carer away.
We bring life into people’s homes. One family told us we "bring the outside world in – love, laughter and life".
The care we offer is really quite first class. It’s not hurried care and it’s very individualised care adapted to meet a person’s needs. No two patients are the same in terms of what we do for them.
As well as caring for the patients, a lot of our time is spent supporting their families and loved ones at home with them.
I love being part of a huge multidisciplinary team; if you don’t know something, there is always someone you can ask and that is really reassuring.
Learning how the hospice works
There’s an excellent and comprehensive induction process at Leckhampton Court, which can be individually tailored to you.
We get to see the hospice as a whole and spend time seeing how different teams and departments work – from the inpatient unit to the administrative staff, support team, fundraising team, volunteers and kitchen staff – to name a few. By the end of your induction, you have a good understanding of how the hospice works.
I particularly enjoyed spending time in the Day Hospice, which is an amazing and enlightening community where there’s access to an assortment of contemporary therapies for our patients, including music therapy, pet therapy and art therapy.
Supporting the team
I tend to finish work at 4.30pm or 5.00pm, once all of my visits and tasks are completed, and head home.
As a Senior Nurse, I take it in turn to be on-call after 5.00pm on weekday evenings and over the weekends. We have a team of experienced staff who deliver nursing care to people over a 24-hour period, and it is my job to make sure they feel supported and solve any issues or concerns raised.
Nursing is a physically demanding and emotional job; my own health and wellbeing is vital. I find the more physical strength I have, the more emotional strength I have.
As well as having a supportive leadership culture here at Sue Ryder, there is also a firm staff support system in place. We are provided with regular opportunities for debriefing, clinical supervision and shared learning forums.
Outside of work, I take part in lots of activities to maintain self-care and a level of general fitness, which is a really helpful way of unwinding and ‘parking’ my day. I’m a keen cyclist and manage to run regularly six miles a week. I also enjoy my regular fitness classes, which include boxercise and a dance class.
“One of the most rewarding areas of nursing”
One of the exceptional things that has struck me about working at Leckhampton Court is the camaraderie and chirpy atmosphere. Staff partnership and engagement can be truly seen at its very best.
We have a fabulous, vibrant and energetic fundraising team with non-stop fun activities scheduled throughout the year – there’s always something sociable happening, from quizzes to cycle rides. It’s a great way to get to know your colleagues.
Earlier this year, I took part in the Ride for Ryder cycling challenge and I’m really looking forward to doing it next year too.
This job role is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding areas of nursing and I feel extremely proud to be part of the Sue Ryder Hospice at Home team.
By the way, I like to be in bed by 10.00pm on a weekday!
Could you be there when it matters for local families?
We are searching for Senior Staff Nurses to join Sonia and the rest of our friendly Hospice at Home team.
Senior Staff Nurse Sonia is a member of the Hospice at Home team at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, which cares for people in their own homes. Outside of work she is a keen cyclist and competed in the Ride for Ryder 2019.