Sue's story

I’ve worked at the Hospice for 26 years. I work as a bank staff nurse on the Hospice’s inpatient ward and in our day therapy unit. Having originally trained at Pinderfields as a state registered nurse, I worked as a health visitor and in a nursing home while I brought up my children. Then when the Hospice first opened in 1990 I came to an open day and liked the look of the place. It was so lovely – it was the little touches that made a difference. It’s always been a friendly place. I only came to work here for six months, doing night shifts when my three boys were young, but I’m still here!  
The role of staff nurse hasn’t changed that much since I started working here. Right from the start, the Hospice’s philosophy was that everyone worked as a team. But there have been a lot of changes at the Hospice over the years. At the start we didn’t have a physiotherapist, a full time chaplain or a family care nurse, and we have all these now. The first big change was from eight single rooms, when we built an extension and got two extra four-bed bays. This has been a great addition as patients don’t always want to be on their own. They may like to have company or be able to share with other people who understand their situation.
It can be quite frightening for patients to come here, but once they arrive they say it’s lovely and they wish they’d come sooner. As well as caring for people with symptoms such as pain or nausea, a lot of our role here is about listening and offering support. We work just as much with the families. They may want information about how the patient is, or just someone to listen if they’re worried about something.
We serve a large area and the demand for our services is high. Anyone from the age of 18 can access our services, and the Day Therapy Unit is very well used. A lot of people who come to the drop-in sessions have never been inpatients. People don’t need to be referred by a doctor or nurse, they can just come along to talk to our specially trained nurses and access our complementary and music therapy services. It’s not just for patients – carers can come too. Many find the support of other patients and carers is very beneficial.
The people of Wakefield raised the money to open the Hospice. We’ve always been aware that we’re a charity and use our resources wisely, as we continue to rely on local people who are working so hard to raise money for our work. We’re not a big organisation so it’s great that you can see where the money’s going. There’s a great need for the Hospice – if it wasn’t here, I don’t know what people would do when they need specialist help and support. Although my children are grown up now, they’re still involved in supporting the Hospice as supporters and members of staff. We like to keep it in the family!     
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