I was about 16 when I decided I wanted to become a nurse. As part of my work experience, I spent some time with my mum and her colleagues in a day centre. It was touching to see how they helped people and I too wanted to be able to help give people a good quality of life regardless of their age or illness.

This led me to where I am today, working at Birmingham St Mary’s as their Triage Nurse. My main job is to make sure that we’re reaching as many people as possible by working with health professionals that refer patients to us.

I first heard about the Hospice, whilst I was studying at Birmingham City University, where we visited the Hospice for an End of Life lecture, but I heard more when I was working on an elderly care ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Sometimes, our patients would be transferred across to Birmingham St Mary’s for terminal care.

It’s very rewarding to be able to care for patients, families and their friends at this very sensitive time and I feel very honoured to be able to provide this care.  It can at times be psychologically draining, however there is a lot of support between the staff here, which is why we’re such a close team.

There have been a few occasions where I’ve felt overwhelmed after a shift but talking with colleagues about it really helps.  As a nurse, it’s very important to reflect on your practice the good and the bad.  I do this regularly and I think it helps with coping with difficult situations.

Helping people with terminal illnesses, there are naturally some tough times but we do lots of stuff at the Hospice to brighten the lives of people who come to us. One of my favourite memories of my time here is when we had a gentleman who wanted his marriage blessed at the Hospice. It was such a lovely thing to see and I was amazed at how quickly we arranged it for this patient where time was clearly very precious.

Working at Birmingham St Mary’s has made me feel very appreciative of my own life as I have seen such young people have such limited time, I think it is important to make the most of the time we have.

One of our jobs here at Birmingham St Mary’s is to show people what a hospice can truly offer, where the best experience of living is available to everyone leading up to and at the end of life. It’s very different to what you expect and being fortunate enough to work here, it’s amazing to see how bright and positive it is every day.

A big thank you to Rachel for sharing her story with us during Hospice Care Week. Find out more about how we work alongside health professionals to ensure we reach as many people as possible in Birmingham and Sandwell. Together, our mission is to provide hospice care for all and ensure #hospicecareis available to anyone who needs it.