Visiting St Peter & St James Hospice

Five things I’ve learnt from working at a hospice

Here, Kathy, our Communications Manager, shares some of the things she’s learnt from working at St Peter & St James Hospice.

Hospices are not ‘hospitals without hope’

There are a lot of misconceptions about hospices, a key one being that they are ‘depressing’ places – I was worried when I first started here! Thankfully, that perception couldn’t be further from the truth. Even when someone comes in for end of life care, they’re often surrounded by loved ones and may have their final wishes fulfilled or their favourite meals cooked.  Hospices offer wellbeing services and expert advice and support at home too. Ultimately, hospice care is about helping people to live as fully and as happily as possible for the time they have left.

The little things make a big difference

The warmth of the midday sun, a delicious cuppa, a beautiful bouquet of flowers… The little things in life mean so much, especially during difficult days, and will always raise spirits or have lasting impact.

Be true to yourself and let people know how much you care

Time is precious. Often the families I speak to here say their situation has taught them to say and do the things that matter most. I think there’s huge inspiration to be taken from that. Pursue your dreams and ambitions and say the important stuff. ‘I love you.’ ‘I’m sorry.’ ‘I miss you.’ ‘Thank you.’

We are stronger than we think

I once met a couple in their thirties who were going through the worst time in their lives. Rosie was an adored mother who had been diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour and told she had weeks left to live. I remember her husband turning to me and saying ‘we are so lucky to have had this time together’ and Rosie beaming in agreement. It really floored me that in the darkest moments of their lives they could still be grateful. It made me realise that we are perhaps so much more resilient than we think, that we will come to the point where we once thought we couldn’t go on, and we will go on.

Nurses are unsung heroes

Spend half an hour with a hospice nurse and you’ll witness a touching lesson in humanity: the compassion, tenderness and humour they show and the love and quiet grit with which they work never fails to amaze me.

If you’re looking for an exciting, rewarding new job in Sussex, we’d love to meet you at our upcoming job fair