Barbara Van Brummen

“Working in the community, you can develop a care plan to suit the individual patient, spend more time with patients and be flexible to their needs.”

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Dacorum Hospice at Home Nursing Team

“The combination of hospice-at-home care and specialist nursing that we deliver is so valuable. For me, it is the best thing about nursing with Rennie Grove”

As a specialist nurse, with a Master’s degree in palliative care, Barbara van Brummen brings expert skills and knowledge to the care of our patients. She consults with other healthcare professionals and teaches staff nurses in her team.

But she also uses her nursing skills and experience to deliver hands-on care. One minute she might be discussing a treatment plan with a patient’s consultant, the next sitting at the bedside, looking after her patient’s daily needs and finding time to listen.

“We operate a shift system and I still deliver hands-on care to patients, washing them, administering medicines and setting up syringe drivers. I like that,” Barbara says.
“It’s also very important because spending time like that with your patient is when you get the most valuable information. You find out whether a treatment is effective, what works and what needs changing.

“The combination of hospice-at-home, hands-on care and specialist nursing that we are able to deliver is so valuable. It is unusual, and, for me, it is the best thing about nursing with Rennie Grove. It is what makes my role so special and rewarding.”

Barbara joined Rennie Grove Hospice Care in January 2012, moving from an NHS palliative care team in Islington. She trained at BucksNewUniversity and has worked as a palliative care nurse both in a hospice and in the community.

Barbara much prefers working in the community. She found end of life care in hospital could be too “medicalised”, structured around the needs of the institution. And earlier this year she co-published research into the experiences of palliative care nurses and midwives working in hospitals.

“The nurses we interviewed were dissatisfied with the level of care their patients received. They wanted more time to deliver holistic, non-medicalised care,” Barbara said. “Birth and death are natural life events, they are not the same as acute illness or an accident.
“Working in the community, you can develop a care plan to suit the individual patient, spend more time with patients and be flexible to their needs.”

Barbara is currently working towards a prescribing qualification, which will help her to improve patient care. “It will enable me to prescribe emergency diamorphine, for example, when it is needed out-of-hours.

“I have been in situations where a patient has had to wait hours for a doctor to prescribe emergency pain relief. It is distressing for the patient and everyone involved.”

Barbara values the emphasis Rennie Grove places on education for all its nurses. “We have a brilliant education team, who help us to develop our skills and knowledge. Despite all the pressures on budgets, nurse education is rightly seen as an important investment.”