A day in the life of a Hospiscare nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ward Manager Julie Wakley and Hospiscare@Home nurse Sasha Turner take us through a day in their lives during the pandemic

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our specialist ward in Exeter has remained open and our nurses have continued to deliver end-of-life care to patients in their own homes. We asked two of our nurses to share their experiences of being on the frontline during the pandemic.

A Hospiscare nurse wearing a face mask

“I’m Julie Wakley, Ward Manager at the Hospiscare’s palliative care ward in Exeter, and I’ve been a Hospiscare nurse for 17 years.

“The 12-bed ward has carried on, ‘business as usual’, during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve continued to accept admissions 7 days-a-week.

“Today I spent time with a gentleman who is dying. His daughters have just arrived and they have travelled over 100 miles to be here. Over the past couple of days, I have had several conversations with them over the phone supporting them in making the decisions about when to come.

“We see people for such a short window of their life but they share with us so much. I think that makes the job; you become passionate about what you do to make it as good as we can for them.

“A simple hug or just a touch on the shoulder to support families; these are the things we haven’t been able to do because of the distance we need to keep at the moment to keep everybody safe. I think our nurses find it tough because they can’t do the job they normally do; smiling and laughing with patients as although people are headed towards the end of life, there is still a lot of laughter and enjoyment at times.”

A Hospiscare nurse wearing a blue uniform

“My name is Sasha Turner and I am a nurse with Hospiscare@Home.

“We are quite visible in the community and we have to put PPE on outside the patient’s house before we can go in. A lot of passers-by have witnessed us putting on PPE and plenty of times I have been congratulated or applauded and people have said ‘Well done nurse!’ It makes me feel very proud to be a frontline worker.

“It is a completely different way of life at the moment but we just get on as a team and do it. It has been challenging but I love being a nurse; I’ve been a nurse since I was 18.

“Coronavirus is absolutely awful but it’s not going to stop me looking after my patients.”