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Anne and Vicky tell us a little more about their St Oswald’s Hospice story

Anne started:

“I joined St Oswald’s Hospice in January 1996 as a Team Leader on the Adult Inpatient Unit after working in gynaecology at the RVI. After a spell of acting up I was successfully appointed as Matron last year, at the very start of the pandemic.”

Vicky said:

“Before becoming a permanent auxiliary nurse on the Inpatient Ward I was on the bank covering shifts as and when needed and I also worked on reception. Before that I worked at Morpeth Cottage Hospital.  Myself and Anne joined only a few months apart so we’ve pretty much always worked together for the last 25 years.”

“Over those years we’ve helped to create so many special memories and occasions for our patients and families – that’s why I’ve stayed here so long. We’ve had marriages, christenings, family celebrations and we do all of this to make the patients happy. I also love seeing patients come in, thinking they won’t go home again but our care and support sees them improve and flourish enough so they can go home.”

Anne tells us what she loves about the Hospice:

“Some patients come in and out and have several stays so we get to know them and their families well. We have time at the Hospice to develop relationships and get to understand the patients. We work with them to find out what they really want and need and there’s always something we can try to make them more comfortable.

“Some patients really have an impact on you and years on I still often think about them. One lady was in for end of life care and she loved Christmas so wanted to have a last festive celebration with her family. She unfortunately wasn’t going to live long enough so we brought Christmas forward and celebrated in September! The staff dressed up as elves, we decorated her room, we had a carol concert and her family came in for Christmas dinner. We went all out and made the time so special for her and her family.”

Vicky added:

“Working at a hospice brings great opportunities, you never know what’s going to happen and we’re able to do things for our patients that they can’t in a hospital. Our care is tailor made and we work with each patient to find out what is best for them. After working here for over 25 years there are too many memories to mention but it truly is a very unique place.”

Anne added:

“I’m very proud and privileged to have worked for such an amazing charity for the last 25 years. Being here gives me the chance to be the best nurse I can be, every day is an opportunity to make a difference.

“It’s such a supportive organisation and everyone who works here has the patient at the centre of everything they do. We support one another and there’s always lots of joy and laughter – and Vicky’s singing of course!

“Patients and families often compare the Hospice to a hotel and say that it’s like a safe haven and little oasis in the middle of Gosforth. We’re very lucky to have spaces like our gardens and family room for the patients to enjoy.

Vicky continued:

“Working here is so rewarding. Within 30 minutes of a patient arriving you can see them visibly relax, they know that they are going to be well looked after and made to feel at home. Some people come in and have hardly eaten at home, have no appetite but our chefs work with them to create meals and they’re able to enjoy food again. Moments like that are so impactful and special.”

When asked how St Oswald’s has changed over the last quarter of a century Anne said:

“The type of patients we now treat have much more complex conditions so we’ve had to adapt to that and learn. We have a lot more non-cancer patients and younger patients now. The Hospice services have grown and developed in so many ways around us but our Inpatient Unit has always been a constant as we were here from the start, 35 years ago. Our care and culture has remained the same throughout – patient focused and always striving to make a difference during difficult times.”

Thank you to Anne and Vicky for sharing their stories and for their hard work and commitment over the last 25 years.