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“St Oswald’s – nowhere else I’d rather have spent such a huge chunk of my career.”

16 April, 2020

“St Oswald’s – nowhere else I’d rather have spent such a huge chunk of my career.”

Each month we are profiling one of our fantastic nurses to celebrate the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. In these challenging times we want to continue celebrating and thanking these very special people.

Meet Linda Barrett, who recently retired as Sister on our Inpatient Ward. Linda worked at St Oswald’s for almost twenty years so it felt very fitting to introduce you to her as our second International Year of The Nurse and Midwife case study. Read on to find out more about Linda’s career and her reasons for becoming a nurse.

Linda qualified as a nurse in 1981 and joined the Hospice as a Staff Nurse in 2000. During Linda’s time at St Oswald’s she progressed from Staff Nurse to Deputy Team Leader, Team Leader and then Sister.

What’s a typical day for you?

Each day is very different on the Inpatient Ward as it varies depending on the needs of the patients.  However, we always have an Admissions Meeting each morning to discuss the current patients we have on the Ward, any new patients coming in and any new referrals.

Before taking early retirement I worked 30 hours each week and my time was split between working on the Ward, being there for our patients and families and managing and supporting the team. We have 45 fantastic members of staff working on the Inpatient Unit who all strive to provide outstanding patient care.  The patient is always at the heart of everything we do.

During the twenty years I was at St Oswald’s the service has changed massively as the patients’ needs are more complex.  As a Sister I didn’t get to provide as much direct care and support as I used to, which I missed as that was the most rewarding part of working at a Hospice.

One way I’ve made a difference as a nurse…

It’s hard to give just one example as we all hope that we’re making a difference to patients each day we come to work and put our uniform on.  Little things that most of us take for granted each day can make a huge impact. At St Oswald’s we have time to care and be there for the patients and families.

We recently had a gentleman on the Ward whose wife recognised me from eleven years ago when I was caring for her Mum.  It meant a lot that she remembered me and the fact that I wasn’t a Sister back then.

What would you say to someone considering a career in nursing in a Hospice?

I would say that it’s very challenging but also extremely rewarding. Sometimes people think that when you’re a nurse in a hospice you just sit and hold the hands of patients.

However, we are very busy caring for patients with complex needs. I’ve had many a down day and I always say that if the team who offered me the job knew how easily I cried, they wouldn’t have.  However, there is also lots of laughter and positivity.

When I qualified in 1981 as a nurse we received a talk about St Oswald’s as they were fundraising to build the Hospice. From that day I knew I wanted to work at St Oswald’s and there was nowhere else I’d rather have spent such a huge chunk of my career.

It takes a special person to be a palliative care nurse, during my time at St Oswald’s I’ve worked with some amazing people. The patients and their loved ones are so inspirational and it’s very rewarding to be able to help them at such a difficult time.

Now that I’m retired I’ve got a lot to look forward to, including time with my family, looking after my granddaughter, holidays and craft workshops but there will always be at bit of my heart still at St Oswald’s.

To continue supporting St Oswald’s and Nurses like Linda to provide care, comfort and expert care to patients and their families, please donate to our urgent appeal.