“I remember thinking ‘Oh my goodness. I have the time to give the care I want to give!’”

Georgie joined Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in September 2020 as a Staff Nurse, and she hasn’t looked back. She talks about her experience of working with Sue Ryder, the support she’s received as she pursues a career in palliative care and how, even through the toughest times, she is able to provide truly personal care for patients at the hospice.

Sue Ryder Nurse, Georgie, pictured outside Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice

Wednesday 12 May is International Nurses Day, when we celebrate the dedication of our nursing teams across Sue Ryder. Today, we're sharing Georgie’s ‘new recruit’ story, shining a light on her experience to encourage others to find out more about a nursing career in palliative care with us.

“Since qualifying as a nurse in September 2019, I have longed to work somewhere where I could truly be a nurse. I wanted a role which was holistic, that encompassed the whole patient and their family members too, and I found that at Sue Ryder,” shares Georgie.

“After 18 months into my nursing career a job came up at my local Sue Ryder hospice. When I went for an interview the Ward Manager was so welcoming and accommodating and from there it all happened very quickly. Before I knew it, I was starting my first day as a palliative care nurse.”

“I was quite nervous, as although I knew that I had some experience of looking after palliative patients in a previous role, I was now going into a role where I would be spending all of my time with palliative care patients.” 

Having the time to care

One of the first things which struck Georgie at Sue Ryder was the lower patient to staff ratio. “I remember thinking ‘Oh my goodness. I have the time to give the care I want to give!’”

“Now I know my patients’ full names, not just their bed number. I know their families; I know their past medical history. I know their likes and dislikes. The care I am now able to give is far more holistic. I finally feel like I am being a nurse.”

Of course, working in end-of-life care can be difficult. Georgie said: “There are tough times and there have been times when I have come home upset, but this has never ever been from frustration that I have not been able to give the care I want to.”

The front entrance of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice (Credit: Roger Bracewell)

I never feel like I am on my own

“Sue Ryder recognises the difficulties of working in palliative care and everyone is so supportive of one another. Working in a hospice is so very different to working in any other care setting. I always know there is someone I can approach if I need support. I never feel I am on my own. We all support each other at the hospice, and that’s not just the clinical staff, it’s everyone – the ward clerk to catering staff to the receptionist team.”

“Everybody has been so welcoming and it is such a nice environment to work in.”

Georgie really feels like she is there when it matters in her new role.

“I really enjoy how everything I do is patient-centred. It is not about the paperwork. It is not about ticking boxes. It is about the comfort and dignity and care of the patient. We’re assessing the patient as a whole and not just as you see them.

“In my role at Sue Ryder, I can look at someone holistically and bring in everything that encompasses them as a person into the care I give. Having the time and the ability to do that is really special.

“I am so glad that I took that leap and decided to give a career in palliative care at Sue Ryder a go. It has been one of the best things I have done.”

I am so happy working at the hospice

Georgie works full time at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, Gloucestershire’s only specialist palliative care inpatient unit, around 40 hours a week, mainly on night shifts.

When she tells people what she does for a living, she often gets the same response.

“People are often quite hesitant when I tell them I work at a hospice. They immediately associate it with death.

“My friends ask me if it is depressing. I tell them ‘No, it's really not’ and they look at me like I am bit mad!

“However, now that I have worked at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice for a few months they can see how much happier I am working at the hospice.

 “But the reality is there are still many people who don’t truly understand what hospices do.”

Busting myths about palliative care

As a result, Georgie is keen to bust some myths.

“I find it really sad that many people often hold negative connotations about hospices. When you hear the word ‘hospice’, you often think about dying and end-of-life. But hospices provide much more than end-of-life care.

“They are places where people can come to receive specialist pain management from a team of amazing medical professionals. They are places where people are given the dignity, care and respect they deserve. I feel hospices should be better known for being places that provide comfort.

“If you have a really poorly relative who is admitted to a hospice, please be reassured they’ll be cared for by specialist staff who will be able to assess their pain and any other symptoms they have and get them under control so they can be in comfort again. Hospices are safe places – so many patients often tell me how safe they feel being in our care.”

Every nurse should experience palliative care

Georgie wants to share these final words with anyone thinking of pursuing a career in palliative care with Sue Ryder.

“When people decide to go into nursing it is because they want to care. At Sue Ryder, you work in an environment which gives you the opportunity to give that care and be a true advocate for your patients.

“The care we are able to give is not the type of care that is ‘satisfactory’ or ‘it will do’. It’s expert and compassionate care, which really makes a difference.

“I think working in palliative care at a hospice should be something every nurse should want to do at some time in their career, so they can experience it.”

Be there when it matters by joining our team

There has never been a more important time to provide high quality, specialist palliative care. Leckhampton Court Hospice is currently looking for Nursing Assistants to join their team and be there when it matters most for patients.

Working at Sue Ryder, you’re given the time to care. You’ll be part of a multidisciplinary team working in one of the most rewarding areas of nursing. Being there when it matters, helping people live the best lives they possibly can.

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

A nursing career in palliative care with Sue Ryder

If, like Georgie, you would like to join our team and help us provide expert, compassionate care when it matters most, please get in touch.

Sue Ryder Nurse Georgie, outside Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice

Sue Ryder Nurse

Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice

Sue Ryder Nurse, Georgie, joined Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in 2020 working on the hospice's inpatient unit. Here she shares her experiences of joining Sue Ryder in the hope it will encourage more people to find out more about a nursing career with the charity.