Current employer: St Luke’s Hospice
Current job title: Palliative Care Specialist Nurse
Current location: Plymouth
"You must be dedicated! Every day I meet such wonderful patients who deserve the very best, high quality care which I believe can only be provided by people who are dedicated and committed to their work… if it’s something you really are interested in, then go for it! Just be prepared to work hard."
Tell us about your career path since graduation.
On completion of my degree I secured a job as a Staff Nurse on an Acute Cancer Care ward (Oncology and Haematology). It was here that I furthered my desire to specialise in end of life care and was able to be involved in various courses which helped extend my knowledge and experience. After a year of working on the ward, I successfully joined St Luke’s Crisis Team specialising in end of life care which is where I currently work. I have continued to develop my skills and completed a module at Master’s level in Enhancing Palliative Care. This has led to career progression and I am now a palliative specialist nurse.
Has your career path changed since graduation?
When I first graduated, I thought it would be many years before I would have the opportunity to get a job in an area that I really loved. However, it just goes to show that when you have a passion for something and you work hard at it then the right opportunities will arise.
What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?
Undoubtedly, the most difficult thing is those first few months as a newly qualified staff nurse. The sudden increase in responsibility, the fast pace of the work, and the steepness in your learning is daunting. You just need to be completely focused and dedicated for your patients.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
As a student I was part of a steering group called ‘Bridges’ which set up inter-professional learning opportunities for all students in health and social care studying at University of Plymouth . This presented so many opportunities, such as presenting to various groups of professionals and professors within the University. To actually get ‘Bridges’ up and running was incredibly rewarding, and to see it going from strength to strength and even holding conferences over a year later is brilliant.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?
You must be dedicated! Every day I meet such wonderful patients who deserve the very best, high quality care which I believe can only be provided by people who are dedicated and committed to their work. It can be very challenging, both emotionally and physically. I believe a caring and compassionate nature is not something you can teach, so really think hard as to whether you have the right qualities needed to be a nurse. But if it’s something you really are interested in, then go for it! Just be prepared to work hard.
How did studying at Plymouth help you?
University of Plymouth presented me with so many opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills. For example, I was given training to be able to support others learning through PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Support). If you prove yourself to be hard working and willing, then your lecturers will recognise this and help to push you further. They will also listen to your ideas and help you to achieve them.