“If anyone said to me they weren’t sure about a hospice placement, I would really encourage them to just go for it”

34-year-old Anne-Marie Howarth is in her first year of an Adult Nursing degree at The University of Bradford. Here, she is sharing her experience of a 12-week placement at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, and how it changed her perception of palliative care.

Student Nurse Anne-Marie

“My grandma sadly passed away in February 2020 after a stroke, and my first two placements as part of my nursing degree were at a stroke unit and then in a hospice. It felt like someone was trying to tell me something, but I didn’t know if I could go through it all again.

Feeling apprehensive

“I was particularly apprehensive about working in a hospice as I thought it was all about end of life and I didn’t think I could do that.

“Now, after completing my placement, I know it isn’t like that at all, and if anyone ever said to me they weren’t sure about a hospice placement I would really encourage them to just go for it. What they do and the range of services they provide is honestly amazing.

“There was end of life care involved of course, but actually a lot of what I was doing during my placement was symptom management. This was managing the pain that patients are experiencing and working with them to get it under control.

“My favourite part of the placement was working with the community team - I loved it”

“I also spent time with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, complementary therapists and the community team. It was brilliant to see how they work with patients and how they have adapted to support them during the pandemic too.

“My favourite part of the placement was working with the community team - I loved it. Two of the patients I had visited in their homes were later admitted to the hospice and I was able to provide extra detail to the nurses on top of the referral form which was really nice.

Sharing personal experiences

“I liked the community team because I felt like it was bridging that initial gap between the hospital and the hospice. We visited a couple of people who had recently had a diagnosis and it was a chance to tell them about the hospice.

“When my grandma was ill, I was adamant that she wouldn’t go into a hospice, but now I’m able to share my own experiences and talk about all the amazing services they provide.

“Palliative care is definitely something I would consider after I have finished my degree.”

“I work in a range of different places and the systems that Sue Ryder has in place to protect staff and patients is absolutely amazing. The communication between teams is just so good and they all work so well together. As someone externally looking in, you can see that they are constantly learning from things and they are continuously improving. I felt completely and utterly safe and well informed.

“Palliative care is definitely something I would consider after I have finished my degree. I’m actually hoping to do some shifts at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice as a bank nursing assistant - that’s how much I’ve enjoyed it.

“If I could say anything to other student nurses going into a palliative placement I would say just go and enjoy it and take it all in. Experience it all, because it’s not what you think!”

Gain experience and develop your skills

At Sue Ryder we're passionate about investing in the learning and development of our colleagues and nurses of the future. To speak to us about current placement opportunities, please email recruitment@sueryder.org.