“I joined the Hospice back in 1996 – initially on the Adult Inpatient Unit as a staff nurse and then an opportunity came up to cover a colleague’s maternity leave in the Lymphoedema Service a year later. As I had experience of managing Lymphoedema in my previous role in a hospice in Cumbria and also in the community as a Macmillan Nurse, this was an ideal opportunity to further develop my knowledge and skills. The Lymphoedema Service has continued to grow and develop since then and we now have around 1850 patients.
“In 2003 I became the Team Leader and in 2012 became the Practice Development Lead for the Lymphoedema Service. More recently, there was a review of job titles to bring us in line with the Trusts and my title is now Senior Sister Day Services.
“My role involves reviewing, reshaping and developing services within day services, ensuring we provide high quality care for patients and their families and carers. As well as this I still treat patients, which I love. No two days are the same and I get the opportunity to work alongside some amazing people both within and outside of the Hospice.”
When asked about favourite standout memories from her time at the Hospice Jill said:
“I’ve got so many memories from the last 25 years and often reminisce with friends, family and colleagues. Some are happy memories, some are sad but none are bad which says something.
“Never did I think when I started my nurse training that I would be walking round a building site with a hard hat on, involved in the planning of the building of the new Outpatient Department. This was certainly one of my highlights as it was wonderful being able to contribute to the project, knowing that the end result would undoubtedly improve the service we provided for patients, as well as making a huge difference to the staff and volunteers working in day services.
Jill went on tell us what’s kept her at St Oswald’s Hospice for 25 years:
“I’ve often thought about why I’ve stayed at the Hospice for so long and whether it was the right thing to do from a professional perspective. Working at the Hospice has provided me with opportunities to ‘keep turning the page’ and in some situations write another chapter or even another book! I’ve never felt that I needed or wanted to close the book and I’m thankful for that. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.
“There have been lots of changes over the last 25 years in terms of the way we work, the people and departments we work alongside and the environment we work in but what hasn’t changed is our vision and everyone’s commitment and drive to achieve this.
“One of the reasons why working at the Hospice is so rewarding is that everyone has an opportunity to contribute to and work together to develop and grow services that patients want and provide expert, dignified and compassionate care when they need it.
“Everyone has a voice and is able to and encouraged to use it. Over the years we have developed our relationships with our partners in other organisations regionally, nationally and internationally. Working at St Oswald’s Hospice has provided the platform for these relationships to grow and develop.”
“I’d just like to finish by saying a big thank you to everyone I have had the privilege to work alongside and also the patients and families I have met along the way.”
Thank you to Jill for sharing her story and for 25 years of hard work and commitment.