It’s always an emotional and heartbreaking time for families when they lose a loved one to a terminal illness, but a charity plays a key role in making that critical time easier to bear.
Now the Rennie Grove team – based on Tring’s Icknield Way industrial estate – is seeking five new registered nurses to work shifts between 30 and 37.5 hours a week, including evenings and weekends. So what do the roles involve?
Support nurses Lynn Grout and Jenny Roberts are part of a 24-hour responsive nursing service – thought to be the only one of its kind in England – that assesses and administers care to up to 90 patients suffering from terminal illnesses such as cancer at any one time.
Their duties range from washing patients, administering medication and setting up syringe drivers to providing pre- and post-bereavement care to families.
The care provided by the nursing team enables 65 per cent of patients to pass away in their own home – compared with just 25 per cent nationally, and the charity is a well-oiled machine.
Nurses work closely with other healthcare staff including GPs, district nurses and hospital consultants – as well as other hospices and charities – to ensure each patient receives personal, co-ordinated care in a place of their choice, be it at home or in a hospice.
Lynn, who lives in Tring and is mother to two boys, said: “People often have a misconception about palliative care. We often have some patients refuse our care because they believe they’re dying. But it’s not unusual to discharge people, and that’s the best part of the job.”
Jenny said: “We feel privileged to be part of people’s end of life. You often hear midwives saying that about a birth – it’s the same for us, but at the other end.”
Lynn said: “I know this might sound odd, but it’s a lovely job. It’s so fulfilling, and you’re always learning something new.”
The pair admitted that the sadness of a patient’s passing can sometimes overwhelm them, and Lynn has found herself sharing in families’ ordeals.
She said: “We do get upset, and we do cry. Empathy is needed in this job, and sometimes I’ve sobbed with the families. You really feel their pain.”
However, there is support and supervision available if nurses have to cope with a particularly upsetting case, and they’re able to discuss it during weekly meetings.
When asked what essential qualities a potential candidate must have, Jenny and Lynn said in unison: “A good sense of humour, and a love of cake and chocolate!”
To apply for one of the roles, visit www.renniegrove.org/jobs to download an application form, or call the HR team on 01494 877200.
Although experience of community nursing or palliative care is required, full training will be provided.