Nursing assistant connected to Hospice care in more ways than one
In April 2011, Dawn’s husband John was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and despite months of hospital appointments, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, the tumour rapidly took over.
Palliative care became the best treatment for John and he was transferred to St Catherine’s a few months later. Although John did return home briefly, he died in February 2012, aged just 50.
It was whilst at St Catherine’s by her husband’s bed side that Dawn became inspired to follow her new career path, encouraged by John before his death.
She said: “When John was at the hospice, I would often watch the nurses with admiration and think ‘you know what, I’d love to do something like that’.
“I did talk about it with John, and he said I’d make a good nurse and that I should go for it, and I promised him I would.
“I remember being on the other side of care at the hospice and knowing how it feels, and that’s helped me to do my job. I know what the patients and their families are going through because I’ve been there myself.”
A nursing career was something that always interested Dawn, and had it not been for the commitments of raising her children and caring for John, it would have been something she pursued sooner.
“I really think its fate that’s brought me here,” continued Dawn, who’s worked at St Catherine’s for just over a year now.
“One day I got a brochure through my door from Preston’s College so I had a look at the nurse courses. I noticed St Catherine’s was having an open day that very day! So I got in the car and rushed to the hospice.
It was the first time I’d been back to St Catherine’s since John was there so I do admit I found it tough coming back, but I thought to myself, if I don’t go to this open day I might regret it.”
“When they offered me the job I was absolutely ecstatic!” she said.
“I’ll always remember promising John that I’d go through with it, and for it to finally happen, it was quite emotional.
“When I started work, I remember going back to the room John stayed in. I had mixed emotions, as although it was where John stayed before he passed away; it also brought back such good positive memories of the care John received while he was there.
Dawn, who is sharing her story as part of this year’s Hospice Care Week, said she enjoys great job satisfaction – knowing she’s made a difference and connected with families and patients when they need it most.
“I love my job,” she declared with a smile on her face. “When I drive up the road to the hospice and leave at the end of my shift, I have a real sense of pride, and I feel it’s been a job well done.
“I really do think this place is special – I like to call the work we do the magic of St Catherine’s.
If you’ve been touched by the magic of St Catherine’s and our stories from the past week, you can donate £3 to St Catherine’s by texting ‘Hospice Care’ to 70444. Your support helps Dawn and the team at St Catherine’s offer outstanding care and support to families.
Texts cost £3 plus network charge. St Catherine’s Hospice receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission. Customer care 01772 629171 Charity No: 512186.
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