“Sometimes people call and they don’t know what to do – we’re their safety net” 

Categories: Care and People & Places.

Says a 33-year-old nurse from Luton, who is sharing her experience of working at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice Palliative Care Hub this International Nurses Day (Friday 12 May).

Emily Fensome, who works at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger, as part of the Palliative Care Hub supporting people living with life-limiting conditions as well as their families, hopes that by sharing her story, she will encourage more Registered Nurses to find out about a palliative care career.

“My background is as a surgery nurse working for the NHS in head and neck cancer care, but I also worked out the community for two years,” explains Emily.

“Throughout my career, I have always had a passion for working with palliative patients. Wanting to make a difference to someone at the end of their life, alongside the death of my own father two years ago, is what inspired me to want to work at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice,” she added.

In her role, Emily coordinates palliative care out in the community, provides expert and compassionate telephone advice, while supporting patients and their families.

“Every day is different. It could be that a patient or a family member calls the Palliative Care Hub seeking advice around medication or symptom control; they might need help booking GP appointments or district nurse visits.

“I also offer clinical advice and support to our team of Sue Ryder Healthcare Assistants who regularly visit patients in their home.  Everything we do is to ensure that our patients and their loved ones have the support they need, when they need it, and the best possible palliative care,” said Emily.

Emily explained it’s difficult to pinpoint what she enjoys most about her role in the Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice Palliative Care Hub.

“I love everything about my job and knowing that I have made a difference to someone when it matters most. The feedback we get from patients and their families is that it’s such a relief to have a professional at the end of the line to listen and help – it’s like a safety net knowing someone is always there.”

Emily continued: “Sometimes people call, and they just don’t know what to do. But, we are very quickly able to support them; putting in place everything they need, working with our partners in the NHS, including support from district and specialist nurses and other healthcare professionals.”

Research from the national healthcare charity predicts 245,000 people will need palliative care in England this year. This figure is set to increase by 55% to 379,000 people per year by 2030/3.

Emily hopes more Registered Nurses might read her words and consider palliative care. 

“Working in palliative care is the most rewarding job you can ever do, and I have never worked anywhere as supportive as Sue Ryder. I am very fortunate to have an amazing team around me, everyone is brilliant. We work closely together and help each other out.

“Our Palliative Care Hub supports people out in the community. And, there are plans in place to develop our roles, so we can provide more care to more people in their own homes – it’s an exciting time to be part of the charity,” Emily added.

Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice is currently recruiting Registered Nurses to join the team. For more information on working in palliative care with Sue Ryder, email healthcare.recruitment@sueryder.org or visit www.sueryder.org/palliativecareers to view current vacancies.


About Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice:

Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice is located in Moggerhanger, Bedfordshire, and provides expert palliative care, advice and support for people who are living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families.

Our inpatient hospice provides round-the-clock assessment and specialist care to help manage patients’ symptoms. In addition to our inpatient unit, we also offer community services for people who prefer to receive palliative care at home.

Our expert team includes doctors, nurses, care assistants, physiotherapists, occupational and complementary therapists, social workers and bereavement support workers. They all work seamlessly together to support people through the most difficult times of their lives

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