Meet Angela Egdell
To mark International Women’s Day and celebrate women’s achievements we’d like to introduce you to a woman who leads our Clinical services, she is instrumental in all patient developments and along with the whole clinical team ensures we provide outstanding care and the patient and their family is very much at the centre of everything we do. Angela Egdell is our Director of Care Services and she has worked at St Oswald’s Hospice for over 35 years, since we first opened our doors in 1986.
“I’ve worked for the organisation in a variety of roles since the Hospice first opened and started my current role as Director of Care Services 17 years ago. I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1985 and then joined St Oswald’s Hospice 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. My role now is primarily to ensure that we are providing high quality services to patients, children and young adults.
“I truly believe that I have the best nursing job in the North East. I lead a team of amazing staff and volunteers including Doctors, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Spiritual Care, Bereavement support, Social Workers, Therapeutic Activities, Complementary Therapists and Music Therapists. They all contribute to making the Hospice the special place it is. The need for Hospice care and the particular ethos of looking after the patient as a person with both physical, emotional and spiritual needs and their family is as great today as it was 36 years ago
“When people ask me why I’ve stayed at the Hospice and what I love about it I find that very easy to answer. Not long after I joined St Oswald’s Hospice I realised that I’d found my niche. Working in palliative care is so rewarding and it was a good fit with my skills and passion. Hospices were relatively new back then, so I’ve learnt so much over the years from the people I’ve worked with and the patients themselves. Nursing has changed a lot but 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. At the Hospice we see the patient as an individual person, not just a condition and that’s why I am so passionate about hospice care.
“I no longer work directly with patients, so I sometimes miss that contact and the problem-solving side to the job but I still get great satisfaction of knowing the support and care the team provide is greatly appreciated and of great benefit. However, I don’t miss working night shifts!
“Over the last 35 years so many areas of the Hospice have developed. When we opened, we were just the inpatient ward and Day Hospice two days a week with around a total of 40 employed staff. Now in addition to the Adult Inpatient Unit and Focus on Living Centre we have Children and Young Adults Service, Outpatients, Lymphoedema Service, Bereavement Support and more. We now have over 300 members of staff and lots more wonderful volunteers. The needs of the patient and their family are so much more complex now so what we provide is very specialist. The team are very skilled and I’m beyond proud of the work they do.
“Since we opened in 1986 I’ve worked with so many inspiring and strong women, far too many to mention. If it wasn’t for our founder, Dorothy Jameson not taking no for an answer we wouldn’t be here today and now the organisation is led by another strong woman, our CEO Steph Edusei, who joined us just before the pandemic hit. As today is International Women’s Day I would also like to pay particular tribute to my three Matrons – Anne, Joss and Kath – who are definitely my right-hand women and make me proud every day of the services they lead. I couldn’t do my job without them.”
Angela ends with one of her favourite memories from the last 35 years:
“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 had enjoyed, even though they couldn’t really afford it. He had died suddenly of a heart attack shortly after 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 Hospice has an impact on all of us who spend time here as much as we impact on St Oswald’s.”
Our team of staff and volunteers is made up of over 75% women, so we’d like to take this opportunity to wish them all a very happy International Women’s Day and say a huge thanks for all they do.