A Day in the Life of a Specialist Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care
A Day in the Life of Karen: Specialist Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care
Find out what it’s like to work in Specialist Palliative Care at NCH&C.
We spoke to one of our Specialist Nurse Consultants in Palliative Care, Karen, for this Day in the Life article.
What team do you sit on, and what does this team do?
My base is at the Priscilla Bacon Centre for Specialist Palliative Care and I work predominately within the Rowan Centre. The Rowan Centre offers day services for specialist palliative care patients. The centre provides group therapeutic sessions, intravenous treatments, and blood transfusions.
What is your job role?
I work as a nurse consultant, so my role is very varied.
I have three components to my role:
1. Managing a caseload of palliative care patients within the day service
2. Providing palliative care education to healthcare professionals throughout the trust
3. Developing procedures and policies, informing services, and leading the blood transfusion group
What sort of activities do you do day-to-day?
I mainly work clinically but do have days where I am not patient facing.
On two days of the week, I provide education sessions to NCH&C trust staff. I work closely with a specialist palliative care nurse and administrator; we organise and provide virtual and face-to-face education sessions about palliative care. The courses that we run are for both registered and unregistered health care professionals.
On the days that I am patient facing, I would be meeting patients who attend the Rowan Centre for treatments. I would clinically assess their symptoms and prescribe the relevant treatments such as bisphosphonate infusions or blood transfusions. The Rowan Centre now has six therapeutic sessions which run over three days for specialist palliative care patients to attend. These sessions are run by therapists and nurses. I help support the sessions and review patients who may require some advice with their symptoms
What are the highlights of your job?
I really enjoy the variety of work that my role offers.
Caring for palliative care patients can make you feel very humble, we see a lot of patients who are so brave dealing with their emotions and symptoms at such a difficult time. It can be very rewarding providing good holistic care which incorporates psychological, spiritual, physical, and social support to patients enabling them to have the best possible end of life care.
How did you get into your role?
I have worked in oncology since 1992 and had a very varied career looking after oncology patients in different settings. I undertook a degree in palliative care nursing and latterly a master’s degree in advance nursing practice. My last role in acute oncology led me to work in palliative care as a nurse consultant, where I can use all my skills and knowledge.
How has your role changed over the last two years due to the pandemic?
My role has changed during the pandemic. Our day services closed initially. I joined the senior management team at Priscilla Bacon Lodge and helped develop documents and SOPs for use during the pandemic. Following the announcement that vaccines had been developed, I was redeployed to support the vaccination team by clinically leading the Coleman office vaccination hub for staff and care workers.
I returned to clinical practice caring for patients requiring intravenous treatments. As the day services remained closed to groups, I was able to help redesign our day services and provide input into the new Priscilla Bacon Hospice building.
During this time, I also focussed on developing further palliative care education sessions such as the palliative care bitesize masterclasses.
I was redeployed for a second time in December 2021 to the vaccination team at Norwich Community Hospital to help facilitate the latest booster vaccination drive.
Anything else you’d like to add or talk about?
I have developed a very good working relationship with the senior management team at Priscilla Bacon Lodge, and whilst my role does not have any line management responsibility it has been very interesting learning more about the workings of NCH&C trust and palliative care services.
I work with an amazing team of dedicated healthcare professionals who are all very supportive towards each other and endeavour to provide excellent end of life care for our patients, this makes PBL a fabulous place to work.