“The best thing is making connections with people.”
Following his A level results, Oscar Beet took a role at St Catherine’s as a Healthcare Assistant (HCA). He’s enjoyed it so much, he’s decided to study medicine and will be heading to university in London later this year. Oscar tells us how St Catherine’s inspired him to become a doctor:
“My father passed away when I was 13 and then, during the pandemic, my mum got diagnosed with cancer. For 18 months over COVID and the lockdowns I was looking after her as she was in the throes of chemotherapy treatment. So that’s where I got my caring experience from.
“When I finished A levels I decided to take a gap year and took the job here as I was interested in biochemistry, but from my first day, I thought “This is it”. It’s because of this role that I decided to apply to medical school.
“The best thing about my role as a HCA is making connections with people we are caring for and spending time with them. At St Catherine’s we have time to do that. We can sit with people in the morning when they have woken up and really get to know them and perform great care for them.”
“My main duties are looking after people; giving them food, changing dressings, clothing, washing and lots of talking! We take observations like blood pressure and heart rate, and it’s often the HCAs who notice a change in a person first if they have a temperature, have become muddled or their breathing has changed – so we’ll report that to the nurses.
“It’s always special when someone really clicks with you. One family left a note for me after I cared for their dad, and I was there when he died. Apparently, he spoke highly of the conversations we’d had. It was the first time I’d had that recognition from a family in an official capacity and it was lovely to know that I made a difference to him.
“I knew nothing about hospice care before working here. We get a lot of people who are staying on the ward for symptom control. Caring for someone who is in the last few days or hours of life can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding as you can see how comfortable you’ve made them.
“The toughest jobs are the most important – like offering comfort to a family after their loved one has died. That’s when a lot of our magic is worked as HCAs, when we reassure those patients facing something huge and unexpected. We can’t grieve for them, but we can help other aspects of their environment, so that they are free to grieve.”
“Everyone has been so supportive and kind, it will really help me at medical school. It’s been a great environment to learn in and it’s helped me see things from the nurses’ perspective.
“After being her carer, my mum is very happy I want to go into medicine. She’s not looking forward to me disappearing to medical school for six years, but I’ll be the first person in my family to go to university, so she’s excited about me becoming “Dr B”!”
If you are interested in joining our hospice team you can find out more about what it is like working at St Catherine’s and view our current vacancies.