Community is a very important concept for St Ann’s. We are part of a wide community and every person involved in or touched by the hospice contributes to it, whether that’s our team of staff and volunteers, our patients and their loved ones, or our supporters. We couldn’t continue to provide the specialist care we do without our community, but the care we provide isn’t the only way we contribute.
Training and education is an essential part of ensuring that patient care is the very best it can be, whether that’s at St Ann’s or elsewhere. Jude Edwards manages our Practice Development team, responsible for education and training.
There’s no doubt that the care we deliver is beyond excellent, but I believe that we should be able to offer this to even more people in the wider communities of Greater Manchester, reaching as many people as possible with our services.
We’ve been looking at ways to engage more groups that traditionally, for many different reasons, haven’t felt that hospice care is for them. We’ve been working with the Alzheimer’s Society, homeless communities in Manchester, the prison service and with transgender groups. We’re aiming to improve awareness, demystify hospice care, and improve access, and we were pleased to be recognised in a recent report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for our outreach work.
A large part of the work we do is around in-house training for all nursing staff. This includes everything from breathlessness management, nutrition and spirituality. We also develop and deliver training and education for people outside of the hospice who provide palliative care, such as in nursing and residential homes, and home care teams. We’ve also been leading dementia awareness training which has become increasingly important for those working in the healthcare sector. It’s great knowing that we’re making a difference, both to those professionals and their patients. Jude Edwards, Practice Development Centre Manager
Another way in which we’re contributing to our community is through student placements. Student nurses from local universities join us for placements of up to 12 weeks in either our day therapy or inpatient units, and we support them with nursing student mentors. We recently started to offer placements to year 12 and 13 students, and we’re thrilled that so many are showing an interest in careers which are based around hospice care.
The experience of our students varies each day, with lots of opportunities to chat with patients, increase confidence and communication skills, and develop an awareness of the importance of psychological support. They’re also actively encouraged to engage in creative therapies and discover their benefits.
Feedback from some of our student nurses shows how beneficial they’ve found their placements:
I have had a great learning experience on this placement and thoroughly enjoyed my time here.
My mentor was very good at discussing ideas and providing me with resources to support my learning.
All staff made me feel like a valued member of the team, respecting my views and opinions.
Trainee doctors can also choose to do a six month placement with us as part of their training, and it’s great for our teams to know that we’ve helped to shape their career, which can impact on the future patient care they then provide.
At a specialist centre, I will see only cancer patients whereas in the hospice I will see a range of other medical conditions, so there’s a broad spectrum. What I like about working at a hospice is that you’re able to look at a patient as a whole person, so as well as the medical and scientific input, you can focus on social and spiritual aspects, and the family side of things, and how all that impacts on a person. There are few medical specialities where you have the time to be able to do that. Previous trainee doctor
For Jude, seeing the difference we make for the individuals who access – or would benefit from accessing – our care is what makes it all worthwhile.
Though no two days are the same at the hospice, I can honestly say that I really love the work I do here. I’m looking forward to working with my team to make sure our projects continue to help people in the future. Jude Edwards, PDC Manager