Year of the Nurse: “The more you can get to know someone on a personal level the better the care you can give them”

Marlene Sanchez-Gonzalez, Senior Nurse at Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Stagenhoe, tells us about how their team has adapted to the coronavirus pandemic, the difficulties of supporting those with neurological conditions during such a restricted time and how working alongside her colleagues is like being in one big family.
 

Marlene, Senior Nurse at Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Stagenhoe, next to their Christmas tree

2020/21 is the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, in which we celebrate the work of nurses and midwives while learning about the challenges they face through their personal stories. At Sue Ryder, we are shining a light on the expert and compassionate care of our own Sue Ryder Nurses.

“I have the time to give the care I want to give, the care that people deserve”

I worked as a District Nurse for several years before I came to Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Stagenhoe earlier this year. I gained a lot of experience from my time in the community but was ready for a new challenge. I also wanted to be able to spend more time with the people I was caring for and not feel like I was always rushing from one home visit to another. Now that I work in one place, with all the people I look after under one roof, I have the time to give the care I want to give, the care that people deserve.

I like that I can get to know the people at the centre and make sure the care is truly person-centred. I believe that the more you can get to know someone on a personal level the better the care you can give them. Having the opportunity to get to know their families is also important, it tells you a lot about their lives and the people they are and that means you can centre the care around them, even better.

Going the extra mile

At the moment it is difficult because visiting is restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic. This means as nurses we have had to take on the role of not just care providers but also as a sort of surrogate family, trying to meet all of their needs and to be their advocates in all situations. We are still in regular contact with the families with video and phone calls, but it is a very different sort of interaction.

From my very first visit to the centre I felt welcomed and supported. This is something that has only grown as the months have passed. Someone is always on-hand to answer any queries I have and if I need help at any point then it is amazing to know that someone will be there straight away, no questions asked. 

Everyone has really gone the extra mile this year in order to make sure all the people we care for have everything they need and are happy, even with all the additional procedures that have been in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Working at Stagenhoe is like being part of a big, supportive family”

In terms of my own wellbeing, I am doing well, originally when the pandemic hit it was a worrying time, but I knew my family weren’t suffering and that’s what I chose to focus on. I am a laid back positive person and my need to care for others outweighed any worries I may have had during this year.

The centre has a really lovely feel to it, I never feel like I’m going to work when I come for a shift, it feels like I am going to my ‘other home’. It’s a nice feeling and a really good environment to be in. Working at Stagenhoe is like being part of a big, supportive family.

Join us and celebrate

In honour of the compassionate and expert support they have given to others over the past 65 years, you can join us to celebrate the #YearoftheNurseandMidwife!

And if Marlene's story has inspired you, we have also have further information on becoming a Sue Ryder Nurse.