What’s it like to be a student nurse at a hospice?

Categories: Education.

As a first-year student nurse, receiving an eight week placement at a hospice was quite daunting, especially as I’d never considered a career in palliative nursing. However, having lived locally for several years, I’d heard how amazing all the nursing staff at St Catherine’s were and how calm the hospice environment was.

From the day I started, everything I’d been told was confirmed. I’d never been in such a warm, welcoming environment and all members of staff made me feel at ease and supported completely.

My mentor and other hospice staff supported my learning in every possible way. Not only emotionally, when I needed it, but in sharing their experience.

Allowing me to be hands on in administrating medication, dressing wounds and supporting patients and their family and friends taught me a lot about being a nurse that I’d not come across or thought about before.  

The genuine interest the nursing staff showed in my own training and development, and the emotional support they provided me with, was inspiring and enabled me to fully experience every aspect of the care they provide.

The experience taught me what hospice care really is and how important it is to the people cared for. I’d had my ideas about what St Catherine’s was about and did some background reading before starting my placement, but this didn’t do justice to what I experienced during my time there.

The care provided by St Catherine’s is so vast and not limited to common perceptions people have of hospice care.

The broad range of work of all hospice staff was far beyond my expectations. All are highly skilled and their knowledge is astounding. The care they provide is second to none.

It was inspiring to see a group of professionals, both on the inpatient unit and in the community team, working together to provide individual patients’ care with such dedication in different environments.

Seeing them work has certainly motivated me and shown me that not only is this type of care always achievable, it truly does make a difference to patients.

The work I took part in during my placement at St Catherine’s, such as dealing with medications and pressure care, has certainly developed my skills and I feel the skills I’ve learnt during my time at the hospice have enhanced me as a nursing student.

My time with the teams at St Catherine’s has awakened a passion within me for palliative nursing. It was a privilege to work alongside the staff and I’ll be forever grateful for their input in my training.

My time at the hospice has also strengthened me as a nurse and all the staff inspired me to be the best nurse I can be. I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting patients and their families, all of who have had an impact on my training and me as a person.

I’d encourage any nursing student to consider a placement in a hospice. It sheds a lot of light on an area of nursing many of us do not consider and it’s so rewarding.

I’d like to thank all of St Catherine’s staff, patients and their families and friends for their support and teaching, for allowing me to get fully involved and for sharing their stories with me. St Catherine’s is a truly amazing place and I’ll be eternally grateful for the experience of working on placement there.

St Catherine’s Hospice is committed to sharing their end of life expertise with medical students and fellow healthcare providers to ensure the best possible end of life care is available to everyone in the local community; whether they’re supported by the hospice, in hospital or in a nursing home. Visit the hospice’s website to find out more about the placements and training it offers.

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