St Catherine’s nurses speak in schools

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Nurses from St Catherine’s Hospice have been inspiring the next generation by giving talks in local schools and colleges about what it’s really like caring for local people at the end of their life.

Speaking to pupils about their daily work and why they decided to choose nursing as a profession, the hospice nurses answered questions from young people  at Reigate Collage and Reigate School who are aspiring to work as doctors, nurses and therapists in future.

Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Esther Walker, who took part in the school visits said: “I’ve never regretted training as a nurse, it’s been a very fulfilling but challenging career. I want to encourage pupils considering this career but also to help them understand that it’s a career that involves life long learning.”

The community’s local hospice

Each year, St Catherine’s cares for more than 2,000 people with 80 per cent of the care the hospice provides taking place in the familiarity of patients’ own homes. Thanks to the hospice’s community nursing teams, patients benefit from expert end of life care in the place they feel most comfortable.

St Catherine’s Community Nursing team provide services seven days a week, 365 days a year. They act as the key contact between patients in their homes and the hospice as well as working with a wider team of fellow healthcare professionals including: GPs, District Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Counsellors and Welfare Advisers.

Nurses can refer patients to St Catherine’s Day Hospice and Inpatient Unit, depending on their needs, which helps people to achieve the best possible quality of life.

Between 2013 and 2014, the Clinical Team at St Catherine’s made 12,367 visits to patients, carers and healthcare professionals and St Catherine’s East Surrey Community Team received 432 referrals.

Educating nurses of the future

As well as giving talks in local schools, St Catherine’s is also committed to educating future nursing staff to help ensure the best possible care is available to everyone living with a terminal illness in the local community. The hospice also takes student nurses on placement from the University of Surrey and Brighton University to mentor them.

One Student Nurse who recently completed a placement at St Catherine’s was Sarah Botting. Sarah said: “Throughout my placement it was inspiring to see a group of professionals, both on St Catherine’s Inpatient Unit and in the Community Team, working together to provide individual patients’ care with such dedication. Seeing them work has certainly motivated me and shown me that not only is this type of care always achievable, it truly does make a difference to patients. My time with the teams at St Catherine’s has awakened a passion within me for Palliative Nursing and inspired me to be the best nurse I can be. I’d encourage any nursing student to consider a placement in a hospice. It sheds a lot of light on an area of nursing many of us do not consider and it’s so rewarding.”

If you would like to find out more about arranging a visit from the St Catherine’s Community Nursing Team to your school, please email