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The working life of an apprentice healthcare assistant

Author: Leila Hawkins
05 January 2018

Carrice Dickinson was Pendleside Hospice’s first apprentice before going on to work at a children’s hospice. Here she tells ehospice what the apprenticeship involved and about winning an award for her work.

“Before I applied I never actually knew what a hospice was. I would see adverts for Pendleside Hospice and just presumed they were a care home for the elderly.”

Then Carrice went along to an opening evening for apprenticeships with her parents and found out that the Burnley hospice provides care and offers a range of activities for people who have life limiting conditions.  

“I said I would love that, because I do not feel like it is enough to say to someone the usual “hope you are okay” and “let me know if you need anything” sort of words. I know you can do fundraising activities as well but I thought an apprenticeship at Pendleside Hospice is doing that bit more and going that extra mile.”

“My duties included escorting patients to transport, and ensuring they were eating the correct meals so I could feed back to nursing staff and they may weigh that individual and get a dietician involved. I helped out with activities, volunteered at events, and spoke at conferences such as the Hospice UK National Conference.”

“The thing I found most challenging was when I was working with family of people that I knew, because I could see the impact this was having on them. But it also brought me comfort that I was looking after their family member and making their last days that bit more bearable.”

“I do not really think I enjoyed one thing the most, I loved my job and I think it was the best thing I ever did. I would recommend it to absolutely anybody and having a great relationship with my boss definitely helped. Pendleside Hospice is a very happy place to be, when you go in you get a very positive vibe.  Hospice workers do the job because we love it.”

Carrice was nominated for the Themis award by Julia O’Neill, the Day Services Manager, for her hard work and dedication to the hospice, taking on her day-to-day roles with pride and enthusiasm, and also using her initiative to start new activities for the Living with Dementia programme.

When Carrice won the award, the judging panel said that “every hospice needs a Carrice.”

“I just felt so proud and thankful to my boss for putting me forward because I would not be where I am now without her and the help of my colleagues getting me through my apprenticeship even at the most difficult times.”

“When I won the award I was interviewed after and I explained that I had always wanted to work at Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley.  I applied for volunteering when I was 16 but was too young, then when I was 18 they had no positions available. At this point I gave up and thought it was not going to happen unless I went to university and got a degree, but a lady got in touch for me which led to someone advising me to apply for the activities worker position. I am currently doing my dream job at Derian House and I love it.”

“In the future I would love to become a paediatric nurse in palliative care. Now I have been involved in hospice care I could not imagine wanting to work anywhere else.”

For more information visit Themis

See more articles in People and places

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