Penny's story

In her final year at university, Penny shares her experience of her work placement at the Hospice, and how rewarding it has been.

As a naturally caring person, Penny had always wanted to be a nurse. Her mum was a nurse and she just wanted to care and give something back to the community. Also, originally coming from Australia where they don’t have hospices, the whole experience has blown her away.

After just 10 weeks at the Hospice she knew she’d done the right thing. She recalls;

I was so impressed after my first visit.  What the Hospice offers, the free service to patients, the whole atmosphere – it’s a very caring and loving environment. It’s just incredible’.

During her placement she has been involved basic patient care, daily living arrangements, helping patients brush their hair, teeth and freshening up for the day right through to pain management, meeting patients needs and their final wishes, if they have any.

She was also allocated two mentors during her shifts and they would help planning the day. This would cover anything from admitting and discharging patients, sending them back to their home environment and making up controlled drugs.
Reflecting on her experience she said;

I think if I was a younger person, in my first year, I may have found it difficult. However, I haven’t found it difficult at all.  My mentors and staff have been really supportive. If I had any questions or felt emotional at all, the support has been absolutely brilliant.  The nature of the work you can’t help but feel for the families.

‘It’s given me a lot of insight into dealing with dying and the family dynamic. In a hospital environment you are just dealing with the patient, but here you are dealing with the whole family and it has given me a different outlook’.

 ‘I have also learnt about me as a nurse, and how I communicate with the family and the patient.  It’s about getting to know your patient really well here, I feel that I have been taught that well and I have learnt it well.’

We asked Penny what she enjoyed most about her time and if she could offer any advice to other student nurses considering a placement at the Hospice. Her response was;

‘I have enjoyed all of it.  The staff have really made it, they’ve always been welcoming, and that is very important as a student because it is very easy to get lost. They have made sure that I haven’t been lost in the environment. My advice would be to come with an open mind, and talk with your mentor.’

Penny qualifies in September, where she will move into a community-nursing role in Leeds. We wish Penny the best of luck and thank her for taking the time to speak to us about her time at the Hospice.
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