Student nurse shares her experiences

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Sarah Botting, a first year student nurse, shares her experience of being on placement at St Catherine’s Hospice in 2015. 

As a first year student nurse receiving an eight week placement at a hospice was quite daunting, especially as I’d never considered a career in Palliative Nursing. However, having lived locally for several years, I’d heard how amazing all the nursing staff at St Catherine’s were and how calm the hospice environment was.

From the day I started, what I’d been told was confirmed. I’d never been in such a warm, welcoming environment and all members of staff made me feel at ease and supported completely. My mentor, as well as other hospice staff, supported my learning in every possible way. Not only emotionally, when I needed it, but in sharing their experience. Allowing me to be hands on in administrating medication, dressing wounds and supporting patients and their family and friends taught me a lot about being a nurse emotionally that I’d not come across or thought about before.

“Genuinely interested”

The genuine interest St Catherine’s nursing staff showed in my own training and development, and the emotional support they provided me with, was inspiring and enabled me to fully experience every aspect of the care they provide. This experience has taught me what hospice care really is and how important it is to the people we care for. I’d had my ideas about what St Catherine’s was about and did some background reading before starting, but this didn’t do justice to what I experienced during my placement. The care provided by the hospice is so vast and not limited to common perceptions people have of hospice care. 

The broad range of work of all hospice staff was far beyond my expectations. All are highly skilled and their knowledge is astounding. The care they provide is second to none. It was inspiring to see a group of professionals, both on the Inpatient Unit and in the Community Team, working together to provide individual patients’ care with such dedication in different environments. 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 our patients.

“My time with the teams at St Catherine’s has awakened a passion within me for Palliative Nursing”

The work I took part in during my placement at St Catherine’s, such as dealing with medications and pressure care, certainly developed my skills. I feel the skills I’ve learnt during my time at the hospice have enhanced me as a nursing student. It was a privilege to work alongside the staff and I’ll be forever grateful for their input in my training.

“People have had an impact on me”

My time at the hospice has strengthened me as a nurse and all the staff have inspired me to be the best nurse I can be. I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting patients and their families, all of who have had an impact on my training and me as a person.

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.

St Catherine’s is a truly amazing place and I’ll be eternally grateful for the experience of working on placement here.”