Beth has been a nurse for over 30 years, predominantly working in haematology nursing, but prior to joining Rennie Grove she worked in domiciliary care in Devon. She has been a Rennie Grove Band 5 palliative care nurse for almost a year and is part of the Herts team. Here, she explains why her job is so rewarding and why she feels a sense of pride to work for the charity…
“One of my previous roles was at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxfordshire, and I remember my colleagues at the time always speaking so highly of Rennie Grove – or Iain Rennie as it was known then before the merger. Everyone wanted to work for the charity because it was, and still is, so highly regarded. It has such a good reputation, largely because it’s recognised that nurses can provide a higher level of care for people in their own home compared to on a ward. So, when I moved back to the area from Devon, I wanted to see if there were any opportunities to work for Rennie Grove, and I was over the moon to get the job!
“Working out in the community is completely different to ward-based care, it’s just so much nicer to be able to visit someone in their own environment, where they feel the most comfortable. While we’re of course still very busy, it never feels rushed. I can sit and talk to patients and their families and spend much more time than I ever could on a ward, which is better for me as a nurse and for them. I can give my patients the quality of care that all nurses ultimately want to be able to give, but can’t always do.
“We all know that nursing is never just about a patient’s physical symptoms but their psychological health too, and it’s so important to have that time to build relationships and get to know them. It’s a stressful and confusing time for the whole family, but I can help to piece it all together and explain everything. It’s about getting to know what they need and what they want so that I can offer the best care that I can, and that’s what the profession is all about.
“For me, our shift patterns are another real plus of working for Rennie Grove, particularly when comparing them to the NHS. It’s predominantly 9-5, but because we offer 24 hour care, we do either a late (1.30pm – 9pm) or an early (7am – 3pm) most weeks – sometimes both. We also tend to work one weekend a month. There’s a separate dedicated night team to cover the overnight shift.
“Working lates really isn’t a problem because there is great support from the rest of the team and the night staff even ask us to ring them so they know we’ve got home safely. If we forget, as on occasions I have, they’ll send a text to double check, and it’s the little things like this that really help you feel at ease when lone working. We also have a protocol system in place for emergencies, which is reassuring, and if a nurse is ever concerned about visiting a particular patient alone then we can pair up.
“Safety is always at the forefront, and there’s such a supportive network. For example, the Dacorum and St Albans teams have a weekly meeting to debrief, which gives us the chance to discuss any worries and concerns. It’s so helpful to be able to confide in colleagues in an environment like that, particularly if there’s been a difficult visit.
“The support continues when it comes to training and development. There’s a big focus on building on your qualifications through an educational programme, which is perhaps something that people don’t always think about when it’s outside of the NHS, but it’s a real benefit.
“For me though, the best thing about working here is that there’s so much enthusiasm. The whole team – not just the nurses but the wider fundraising team and staff across the whole organisation – are so positive and really believe in the cause. I’m astounded by all of the volunteers who give up their time to support Rennie Grove in so many different ways, and it gives me a real sense of pride to work for such a well-loved local charity.”