Being a Macmillan nurse is so rewarding

Robyn Willis and Nicola Smith say their year-long secondments as Macmillan development nurses have been the most rewarding part of their careers so far.

Once they have come to the end of their placements, two more Macmillan-funded vacancies will be offered to nurses at the trust.

img_3796Robyn is a district nurse who has previously never worked in hospital while Nicola is a deputy ward matron in an elderly care ward with no past experience of working in the community.

Robyn said: “All I had known before was working in the community so I had a lot to learn. The first thing our manager did was switch Nicola and I around so I was working in hospital while she was in the community. It wasn’t easy – I was not familiar with how wards were run and Nicola wasn’t used to driving around all over the place to health centres and patients’ homes!

“But we found it very rewarding – I was able to offer my expertise about palliative patients in the wards while Nicola was able to apply her acute knowledge to patients in their own homes. We found we were able to do a lot more than we thought we would do.”

“Nicola said: “I have been into a patient’s home for a routine visit and ended up admitting this patient to hospital. That acute knowledge I had helped a lot.

“These roles are a lot more specialised. We have treated fewer patients but the ones we do see are more complex and we have more time with them to see their care right through. We rotate between the community and in hospital and we manage our own caseloads, we have learned so much.”

The aim of a Macmillan development nurse is to help nurses gain expertise in specialist palliative and end of life care.

Nurses are offered the chance to attend conferences and courses, study days, the coroners court and have worked closely with a wide range of colleagues a nurse might not normally work such as psychologists, chaplains and consultants at other trusts.

Nicola said: “Sometimes when you work in just one role you get tunnel vision. We both feel like more well-rounded nurses now.”

Robyn added: “Any nurse who is thinking of doing this won’t regret it. It will challenge you but you will learn a lot and become a better nurse.”

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