Hi Becky, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Can you tell us a little bit about your role please?
I’m a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) in the Living Well Centre, which is the day hospice at John Taylor. Patients who visit us are receiving palliative care, and they come to the centre one day a week for some respite. When they’re with us we provide educational talks which can include advice about medication, managing finances, diet, and coping mechanisms for anxiety. We also have a lot of fun and play games, bingo and do quizzes. Our visitors get to enjoy a two-course lunch at the centre too, which is prepared by our hospice Catering Team.
As a HCA, I am also on hand to offer support to other hospice teams when needed such as with our Inpatient Unit (IPU) and Hospice at Home Teams.
What inspired you to pursue a career in palliative and end of life care?
I have a deep connection to John Taylor Hospice, as over the last 11 years many of my family members have been looked after by the hospice. My grandad was cared for here and passed away on IPU. My uncle also passed away on IPU and, most recently, my nan was cared for by the Hospice at Home Team. The care they gave to all my family members was amazing, and the support they gave to our family too was just brilliant.
My journey towards joining John Taylor as a HCA started when I was a volunteer driver for the day hospice. I was working in a bank at the time, and condensed my hours so I could spend one day a week volunteering – I loved it so much. When a HCA opportunity came up, and I was asked if I’d be interested, I jumped at the opportunity!
John Taylor Hospice is often described as a ‘family’. What words would you use to describe JTH?
I think the word ‘family’ describes the hospice environment perfectly. Many of our patients say that our team, volunteers and fellow visitors are like their extended family. Patients are able to tell us things they may not feel able to tell anyone else, and if they just want to chat about what was on TV last night then that’s okay too! Visiting us once a week helps to get people out of the house and it distracts their minds. We’re always having a laugh and a joke, so it feels like visiting close family and friends every week – it’s just lovely.
As a place to work, the hospice is very supportive and all our teams work together to make sure people get the high-quality care they deserve. Working in the Living Well Centre is such a fun environment and we’re a very close-knit team. We bounce ideas off each other, and have scope to try new things. It’s not unusual to see us dressing up, dancing or doing crazy things to fundraise!
Have you learned a lot since working at the hospice?
Personally and professionally I’ve developed and grown so much. I’d never worked in care prior to joining the hospice, so I’d never done any hands-on personal care – but I did have empathy, personal skills and a passion for helping people.
Starting in October, I’ll be doing the two-year Nursing Associate training course. The course will be three days a week at the hospice, one day on placement and one study day. Nursing Associates work with healthcare support workers and registered nurses to deliver care, and it can also be a stepping stone to becoming a registered nurse. The hospice has helped me to do this by recognising what I’m capable of, and encouraging me do something I never thought I’d be able to do.
I’d never had a ‘career’ until I started here – I’d just had jobs – but now I’ve found my vocation. Being able to give back just some of the care and support my family and I received is an honour, and I’m so proud to tell people what I do and where I work.
Join our team!
We have a number of exciting vacancies available for those looking to begin or continue a career in palliative and end of life care. We give our people opportunities to continue to develop their practical skills as a part of our fantastic team, as well as many staff benefits such as NHS discounts, the ability to carry over your NHS pension, complementary therapy and flexible working.
We are currently seeking:
- Inpatient Unit Staff Nurse
- Day Hospice Staff Nurse
- Clinical Nurse Specialists Band 6 and Band 7
- Responder Roles to support Clinical Nurse Specialists and the Hospice at Home Service
- Healthcare Assistant roles in Hospice at Home and IPU
- Occupational Therapist (part time)
- Spiritual Care Co-ordinator
- Bereavement Counsellor
- Full or part time roles available and also opportunities for bank staff Healthcare Assistants and Registered Nurses
Do you want to find out more about joining us or have any questions? Register to come along to our recruitment drop-in sessions
Saturday 2nd October 10am – 4pm at John Taylor Hospice, 76 Grange Road, Erdington, B24 0DF https://jthrecruitment.eventbrite.co.uk
Saturday 9th October 10am – 4pm at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, 176 Raddlebarn Road, Selly Park, B29 7DA https://bsmhrecruitment.eventbrite.co.uk