Skip to main content
Hospice Stories

Claire’s Story: Why does she love being a palliative care nurse?

Claire has worked for St Peter & St James Hospice for 15 years and chats to us about being a palliative care nurse and why she loves it.

Could you tell us what an average day for you might look like?

“There really isn’t an average day when you work in palliative care, each working day can be very different depending on the patients you are looking after and what their symptoms are. At St Peter & St James’ Hospice we focus on patient centred care. Which means enabling the patient to achieve things, which to other people, may seem small. Some days it can be as simple as helping a patient get up and out of bed, getting into a wheelchair to be able to go outside for a few hours, or it may include allowing their pet to visit them, or enabling family or friends to stay overnight if that’s what they wish and that’s what the patient wants – that might be the most important thing for them to achieve. It can be very tiny things, but so important to them.”


What misconceptions do you think people have about working in a hospice?

“There are several misconceptions about working in a hospice. I think most people think of it as a distressing, sad place to work but my experience is the complete opposite. It is extremely rewarding. Working in a hospice gives freedom to explore with patients and families what they are feeling, what their fears and hopes are when faced with their own mortality.”

“Working in palliative care is quite different to other types of nursing; we help patients to manage their symptoms which means that they can go home and enjoy the rest of the life that they have. Or patients come into the hospice, and we enable them to have the end of life that they wish for.”


Does palliative care just involve nursing or are other professionals involved as well?

“There is a variety of people involved in palliative care, it’s not just the nursing and medical team. We look at the patient in a very holistic way, so I work with a variety of people, including the social workers, the counselling team, because when you look after people holistically you are looking at their physical problems and it encompasses their psychological needs and support which they might need with those. We also work closely with the spiritual team.”


And finally, why did you want to be a palliative care nurse?

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse from a very young age. I was greatly influenced in my early teens by my Nan and Grandad who were admitted to a hospice up in London. They were patients together. This had a profound effect on me. Visiting them in the hospice was very different to visiting them in the hospital and that made quite an impression on me when I was in my teens and I always knew that I’d become a palliative care nurse.”

“I love my job: I love palliative care. It’s what I always wanted to do so I’m very happy I’m doing that. I love my work. I work with a great team and I love meeting new patients and their families. We work in a beautiful setting, you can see the effect on people as they arrive. You can see they relax instantly and that’s what I love about working here.”

If you would be interested in working for St Peter & St James Hospice then please check out our current vacancies here.

Working with Us