Celebrity supporters join with Sue Ryder in a bid to recruit more palliative care nurses

06 Jul 2022

Sue Ryder celebrity supporters Sir Geoff Hurst MBE, Jamie Peacock MBE and motivational speaker Malin Andersson have joined together with Sue Ryder Nurses, patients receiving palliative care and loved ones of past patients to launch the ‘We are Sue Ryder’ campaign. It aims to raise awareness of the critical recruitment need for palliative care nurses across the UK.

Video: Our ‘We are Sue Ryder’ poem

We are Sue Ryder

The ‘We Are Sue Ryder’ campaign highlights the rewarding and heart-warming moments a career in palliative care can offer and celebrates the lasting impact palliative care nurses can have on patients and their loved ones at the end of life.

The campaign launches with a spoken word poem, written by writer, author and poet, Kitty Dimbleby.

The campaign comes as Sue Ryder announces it is facing the worst recruitment challenge in its more than 65 year-long history. This is symptomatic of the wider nursing crisis, with one in ten nurse posts in England currently unfilled across the entire profession. New research released today by Sue Ryder ¹ also shows that 59% of Brits surveyed do not think they could work in the profession, despite an estimated 30.8 million people in the UK having known someone who has needed palliative care.

Celebrity support for our campaign

Football legend Sir Geoff Hurst, former Rugby League player Jamie Peacock and motivational speaker Malin Andersson each read a verse from the poem after experiencing first-hand the expert and compassionate end-of-life care provided by Sue Ryder.

Sir Geoff Hurst says:

“Sue Ryder Nurses mean an awful lot to me. They made sure Claire was as comfortable as possible which gave us precious time together as a family at the end of her life.

“I want to appeal to nurses and nursing assistants to find out more about a career with Sue Ryder so that more families can receive the care and compassion that we did, when it matters most.”

Jamie Peacock says:

“Sue Ryder is an incredible charity with wonderful staff that makes what is a very difficult stage of anyone’s life that much easier to deal with. It will always have a special place in my family’s heart because of the expert and compassionate care they were able to give my dad and the time they gave us all as a family before he passed away.”

Malin Andersson explains why she is supporting the campaign:

“My mum, Consy, died in 2017 and was cared for by nurses from Sue Ryder St John’s Palliative Care Hub in Bedfordshire, so I have direct experience of these amazing nurses.

“In addition, I was a palliative care nurse myself before Love Island and even returned to the profession during the pandemic, as I wanted to put my training to use and help our care workers.

“If you can be there for families when they are at their most vulnerable, please consider a career with Sue Ryder - the charity made such a difference to my family, but it needs more carers and nurses to continue its work.”

Our research

Palliative care can be an area often little considered as a career choice by healthcare professionals, but by sharing a glimpse of what it is really like delivering palliative care, we hope it can encourage more people into the profession. 

Our new research looked into the reasons why people would not consider palliative care nursing as a career choice. Half of people said they did not want to be around death the whole time (52%), with a quarter of people saying it is a ‘depressing’ profession (25%) and only 16% of people felt working in palliative care could be ‘uplifting’. 

These are common misconceptions, but whilst it is inevitable that palliative care nurses will be around death, they also help people live as well as they can for as long as they can. Patients and family members are often surprised at what a positive, uplifting and happy places hospices are as they support and care for people to fill their last days with love.

The research also uncovered what the general public thought the top five qualities of a palliative care nurse were, which include: supportive (52%), empathetic (52%), a good listener (40%), kind (40%) and a person who takes into account loved ones' wishes (30%). Sue Ryder Nurses embody each of these qualities in order to provide expert and compassionate care. We are urging any medical professional who recognise these qualities in themselves to reach out to Sue Ryder and consider a career in palliative nursing

Joanna Longden, a Sue Ryder Nurse who features in the campaign video, explains why palliative care nursing is such a wonderful job:

“The reason I did my first ever shift at the hospice is because I worked for an agency and they asked if anyone could cover a late shift. I agreed to do it, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I didn’t know what a hospice was, or what it meant, and I had all sorts of visions in my head about what it was going to be like!

“But, after covering that shift I knew it’s where I wanted to work; it was amazing. The nurses put palliative care at the very core of everything they did and the level of care and compassion blew me away - I’d never witnessed anything like it.”

The level of care and compassion blew me away - I’d never witnessed anything like it.

Molly, 57, who is living with incurable secondary breast cancer, reveals the importance of the role of the Sue Ryder Nurses:

“When it got to a point where I was in a lot of pain, the doctors put me in touch with Sue Ryder and I was assigned Vicki, a palliative care nurse. I know I can call her if I need anything and sometimes she just listens to me when I need a cry.

“She has just been so good. Vicki has talked to me about what I want, and it means I have been able to put things in place. I know that Sue Ryder is going to be there for me through my whole journey, the good and the bad, which is so reassuring. It’s very hard for people seeing you go through it because they feel so helpless.”

I know Sue Ryder is going to be there for me through my whole journey.

Heidi Travis, Chief Executive of Sue Ryder, says:

“We know that palliative care might not be the first choice for those considering a career in nursing, but we want to better inform people of the many benefits and joy that can come when filling someone’s last days with love.

“Our Sue Ryder Nurses tell us that what they most enjoy about their roles is that – often for the first time in their careers – they are given time to care. They can really get to know their patients and their families and they feel proud of the difference they are making to that family.”

Join the Sue Ryder team

Sue Ryder is calling for registered nurses, student nurses, nursing assistants, care home assistants, domiciliary care assistants, paramedics and personal care assistants to find out more about what a career in palliative care is really like.

Search our latest palliative care opportunities - help us to be there when it matters

Make a life-changing career change and be part of our expert team, providing compassionate care at the end of people's lives and filling their last days with love.


1. Sue Ryder, Nurse Recruitment Survey January 2022, 2,000 UK adults

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