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The working life of a Supportive Outpatients Team Leader

Author: Kay Jackson
30 January 2018
  • Kay Jackson, Supportive Outpatients Team Leader at the Neil Cliffe Centre, part of St Ann’s Hospice.

Kay Jackson is the Supportive Outpatients Team Leader at the Neil Cliffe Centre, which is part of St Ann’s Hospice. St Ann’s offers care and support to patients from across Greater Manchester from its three sites, which include one in Little Hulton and Heald Green, in addition to Kay’s base at the Neil Cliffe Centre in Wythenshawe Hospital.

I knew from a young age that nursing would be my vocation.  After working for ten years as a District Nurse, I was drawn to the hospice and I’ve been here almost three years.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job is getting to know my patients and developing a therapeutic relationship with them.  At St Ann’s, we see past the disease to the individual.  For me that’s the true meaning of holistic care – recognising that everyone is different and has different needs.

The Neil Cliffe Centre is an important part of St Ann’s.  We don’t have in-patient beds at the Centre, but we do provide invaluable support to people with life-limiting illnesses, right from the point of diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. Whether that’s providing complementary therapies, inviting patients to join our craft group for diversional therapy, or simply offering a friendly place for people to come and reflect, the message is that we’re always here for people when they need us.

Though the Centre has been open for decades, and the face of palliative care has changed significantly in that time, the ethos and aims have remained the same – to help everyone who comes through our door to have the very best quality of life they can, wherever they are in their own personal journey.

To help achieve that, in Supportive Outpatients, we help people adjust to the effects of illness.  This might be loss of confidence, changes in appearance, fears about the illness itself, or anxieties around returning to work.  We’re also incredibly mindful of how illness affects families and an important part of the work we do is supporting carers.

Being based within Wythenshawe Hospital, which is part of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), offers us unique opportunities to work closely with colleagues in other departments to help even more patients and carers to access the support of the Neil Cliffe team.  We’re flexible in our approach to working with the Trust and our aim is to help them by providing specialist care right when people need us the most.

Patients are my number one priority.  Much of my work each day is around one to one meetings with patients and carers.  People need the opportunity to be heard, and in our experience, patients and carers benefit enormously from speaking about their experience and having their concerns acknowledged.

The Neil Cliffe Centre at St Ann’s is such an inspiring place to work.  I’m continually inspired by our patients and the courage, resilience and appreciation they show.  I get to witness the very best of human spirit and I feel very privileged that people share so much with me.  Privileged to work in hospice care.  And privileged to be part of such a great team.

I spend my working days surrounded by special people, whether they’re patients, carers, volunteers, or colleagues.  People often ask me how I can work in hospice care, and why I love my job so much.  The question for me is always, how could I not love my job?!

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