Sharon Finn, Healthcare Worker
"10 years ago I was working as a police community support officer and I came across a man who was really isolated with no next of kin. He was referred to lots of different places and ended up at St Joseph’s Hospice. I was so impressed with how they treated him and they restored his dignity. I will always remember that soon after he arrived, he smelt of soap. That was a big moment for me. Working at St Joseph’s Hospice became my calling and I applied for the post of Senior Healthcare Assistant.
Can you describe your role?
"I spent the first 5 or so years of my career at St Joseph’s working on the in-patient wards and then I started working on St Anne’s ward, a dedicated unit for respite care. I am a big believer in person-centred care and I like spending time with patients. Working with people gives them a sense of living, of being in the here and now and that’s important to me."
What's it like working on the respite ward?
"We focus on rehabilitation on St Anne’s Ward to enable patients to have the best quality of life for as long as possible. We help people maintain the physical skills they have and encourage them to maintain independence, ensuring they keep their dignity and feeling of self-worth, it’s so vital. I liaise with doctors and nurses, I observe the patients and feedback when they are in pain, any patterns I notice, for example if they are withdrawn I will slowly encourage them to socialise.
I also cut hair, I’m not Nicky Clarke but I try my best. Some of our patients haven’t had their hair cut for years and just washing their hair and massaging their scalps, just a touch, can make so much difference."
What is the best thing about your job?
"I like that on St Anne’s Ward we can be a bit spontaneous, we have a bit of freedom to make proper contact and treat people as human beings, not just patients. We often break out into song and dance and I sometimes play the flute, not that well but I try my best. This interaction helps people unfold and we and they get the most from their hospice experience."
What does the hospice mean to you?
It’s more than just a job, it’s a life within a job. I work part-time so I'm able to balance life and work. From my experience patients say they feel safe here. St Joseph’s Hospice is such an important part of the community, a community within a community. There is no difference here whether you are wealthy or poor. The patient care at St Joseph’s Hospice is wonderful. It’s one big team and everyone is a credit to this place."