The life of a palliative care nurse
Lecturer in Palliative Care at De Montfort Leicester University (DMU), Amanda Whateley gave an overview of her life as a palliative care nurse ahead of World Palliative and Palliative Care Day on Saturday 10 October 2020.
“Palliative care is not just about death. It helps people live while they die and get the most out of life. “
Having served as a palliative care nurse for over 30 years, Amanda Whateley would know.
“It can be difficult to see families having to come to terms with a sometimes very unexpected diagnosis,” she says. “But I think it’s a truly humbling experience to give people the tools to manage their lives, whether it’s for days, weeks, months or years.
“I think working in palliative care is an absolute privilege.
It is this belief in the importance of palliative work, gained over decades of experience, that makes Amanda an advocate for palliative care.
After joining DMU last year, Amanda made it her goal to arm students with her frontline skills, knowledge and ability to speak openly about palliative and end-of-life care.
Having initially trained as an adult nurse before going on to train as a child nurse, she became a ward sister in an oncology ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Amanda has found working alongside the hospice team, patients and their families to be her heart.
And her journey into palliative care and palliative care began.
Amanda said: “I had a job for seven years in the community, working with adults and children with limited living conditions, I just kept going and one thing led to another.
“I got my first hospice job about 10 years ago, working and setting up a baby hospice. I moved from there, as head of care, to another hospice where I was director of care for six years working with children and young people.
“For most of my career I have had a real interest in working with people with life challenges and I really want to make their lives better in the later stages of their condition. I always want to make sure they have choices about their care and where they are treated, working closely with patients and their families.
“Death and dying can be frightening, and while we try to prepare patients and families for it, patients can change their minds, which is normal.
“I would like to see more options available to patients as to where they would like to die,” she continued.
Amanda said working with families as well as patients is an important part of hospice care.
She said, “What is about palliative care is working with families, not just the individual, it is meeting the needs of the patient and the whole family.
“I am a true supporter of the hospices and the approach to care for people with life disorders, improving their quality of life and ensuring that all issues associated with these conditions are managed.
“Palliative care is not limited to the management of physical symptoms, it is also the psychological and spiritual emotional side. Hospices provide such a valuable service to people with palliative care needs and their families.
Amanda also explained the importance of communication and the stigma sometimes still attached to hospices, palliative care and end of life.
She said: “Communication is an integral part of the role not only in terms of nursing and communicating with patients and their families, but also in educating the public.
“So many people don’t understand the work that hospices do and how they are funded, which is mainly due to charitable fundraising.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people still do not have the option of using the services of a hospice because they are not aware of it, or they are afraid of it or what it could mean and they think that being sent to a hospice means they are going to die imminently. This is not necessarily true. People have access to support from palliative care services often alongside treatment and often for many years. “
Amanda continued, “The pandemic, unfortunately, has changed the way we are able to provide compassionate care and we have had to find ways to make it work for patients. Having volunteered as a nurse during the pandemic at (Leicester Hospice Charity) LOROS, I saw this with my own eyes.
“I think working in palliative care is an absolute privilege, we don’t necessarily help people heal or heal, but we help them cope with their illness, manage the symptoms associated with their condition and plan for their illness. end of life. care of life, with loved ones. “
She added: “The work of hospice and hospice care needs to be promoted and that is really why I have now entered education, I hope to get to a point where people can enter their careers. ‘nurse without being afraid to have conversations about death and death; and understand the importance of palliative care and its care services.
“World Palliative and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to support palliative and palliative care around the world. It is hoped that by raising the profile and awareness of people about palliative and palliative care, those affected by a life-limiting illness will continue to receive high quality and well-funded care and support.
“I would like palliative care to receive the funding and resources it needs with every professional truly trained in palliative care, especially end-of-life care.
Posted on Friday, October 9, 2020