A Day in the Life of Annette, Ashgate Hospicecare Nurse
9:00– I arrive at the Hospice and look at the online diary to see which patients I’m going to visit today. I look at their clinical records on the computer to check if anything has changed since I last saw them.
9:30 – All patient referrals are triaged and assessed to decide how quickly we need to see them. We have a team meeting to discuss patients whose conditions have become unstable and who may need an urgent visit.
10:00 – After the meeting, I go to see my first patient. All the specialist nurses cover a different area in North Derbyshire, from the Manchester border to the Nottingham border. I see patients in Bolsover, Creswell and Shirebrook. The patients I see can have any life-limiting condition. Each person is affected by their illness differently and will have different symptoms and needs. Assessing a patient to help with any symptoms is one part of our role, but it’s just as important to make sure they understand what’s happening to them. Another crucial part of our role is speaking to family members and letting them know that they can contact me if they have any worries. It’s vital that family members also understand what’s happening and can start to prepare for any changes that might happen in the future.
11:00 – A visit to see a patient can take up to an hour and a half. If I have seen them before it can take up to an hour. When I see them, I always ask what their main symptoms and worries are. Some patients and families may talk to me about their symptoms and how they’re feeling emotionally, others may be concerned about moving around the house safely, others may have financial worries, whereas others may have family troubles that are causing them a lot of distress. We talk about what the Hospice can do to support them.
12:00 – I go to see my last patient of the day. I always plan appointments with patients ensuring I give them plenty of time to express their worries and concerns and to talk these through. I usually see up to three patients in a day. It’s all about giving a patient and their family quality care. It’s our role to take stresses away for them and to reassure them that we will do our best to help with any problems they have.
13:00 – I head back to the Hospice and have lunch.
13:30 – I document the mornings visits in the patients’ clinical records. I spend my afternoons making phone calls to review other patients and answer any calls from patients, carers or health care professionals who are needing advice. Families are often surprised that we get back to them so quickly, but we know that time is precious and it’s essential that we help with any issues as quickly as possible. Everything needs to be in place for each patient and their family.
16:00 – I will refer patients to other teams at the Hospice if necessary. For example, I will let the Occupational Therapy Team know if a patient is struggling at home and needs assessing for equipment that will help with their independence and quality of life.
17:00 – I head home for the day. I feel proud when I know I’ve done everything I possibly can for a patient and their family and when they know they can count on me to answer any of their concerns.