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"I truly believe that I have the best nursing job in the North East”
“I truly believe that I have the best nursing job in the North East”
Each month we are profiling one of our amazing nurses to celebrate International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020. This year has been an opportunity to say thank you to the professions; to showcase their diverse talents and expertise; and to promote nursing and midwifery as careers with a great deal to offer.
As the Year of the Nurse draws to a close we felt that it was only fitting to introduce you to Angela Egdell, our Director of Care who has worked at St Oswald’s since we first opened our doors in 1986!
Meet Angela here:
Tell us about your current role…
I’ve worked for the organisation in a variety of roles since 1986 when the Hospice first opened and started my current role, as Director of Care 15 years ago. I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1985 and then joined St Oswald’s as a staff nurse on the adult inpatient unit having previously worked at the General Hospital in Newcastle as a Staff Nurse on a surgical ward.
I truly believe that I have the best nursing job in the North East. I lead a team of amazing staff, not just Nurses, but a whole multidisciplinary team including Doctors, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Spiritual Care, Bereavement support, Social Workers, Therapeutic Activities, Complementary Therapists, Music Therapists and the volunteers who work within those teams. They all contribute to making the Hospice the special place it is.
As 2020 has been the Year of The Nurse I would like to pay particular tribute to my three Matrons – Anne, Joss and Kath – who are definitely my right hand women and make me proud everyday of the services they lead. I couldn’t do my job without them.”
Tell us about a typical day…
There is no such thing as a typical day for me, especially since the Covid pandemic began. My role is primarily to ensure that we are providing high quality services to patients, children and young adults. The day may include working with department leads looking at operational issues and service development, urgent work regarding staffing or patient issues and problem solving if needed.
I also have some responsibilities in my role as Registered Manager for CQC (Care Quality Commission) ensuring we meet the standards set by that body. I meet regularly with Hospice Management Team colleagues looking at operational issues, our future plans and funding.
Tell us why nursing, as a career, is rewarding
Because it is! Every single day of a nurse’s life, wherever they are working is spent helping people, often people who are vulnerable as a result of an illness or disability. No profession gets as close to patients (in my opinion) and is able to understand to some degree what they and their families are experiencing. To be able to do that and hopefully help in some way, however large or small, is a great privilege and infinitely rewarding.
Something that has stuck with me and had a great impact on me happened shortly after we opened in October 1986. A patient on the inpatient ward, hearing I was about to go on annual leave, told me about a holiday she and her husband went on, even though they couldn’t really afford it. He had died suddenly of a heart attack and she took great comfort from the happy memories of that holiday. When I returned from my time off she herself had died. It reinforced the message to me, at the age of 23, that we need to live for today and that life is not a rehearsal.
St Oswald’s has an impact on all of us who spend time here as much as we impact on St Oswald’s.
What would you say to someone considering a career in nursing in a Hospice?
It’s not for everyone so you need to understand why you are attracted to the work and organisation and what the job really entails. I always encourage those interested in applying for jobs here to take the time to talk to others who work in the Hospice and if possible visit us.
If it is what you’re looking for then I would encourage you to go for it! Working in a hospice will offer a great work experience alongside a fantastic set of colleagues. The skills you will learn will also be of use in any future jobs as well.
It’s often been said that hospice nursing is “proper” nursing and I agree with that. We have the skills, environment and time to truly work alongside patients, children and young adults and their families at whatever stage of their life they are at. That is such a privilege.
Also to be alongside patients at such a difficult time, to make them comfortable by what we say or do to me is the essence of nursing.
We hope you’ve enjoyed meeting some of our fantastic nursing staff throughout 2020. This year has been such a challenging time for all of our clinical teams yet they have continued to show commitment, kindness, drive and compassion to ensure that our patients, children and families are cared for to the highest standard.
Thank you to everyone who has shared their story.
It couldn’t be more timely that the World Health Organization designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. The courageous work of nurses and other healthcare workers in the face of Coronavirus does honour to the Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020 and the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Find out more about the Year of the Nurse and Midwife here https://www.england.nhs.uk/year-of-the-nurse-and-midwife-2020/