Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice

'I am lucky to do this job, it’s a privilege to be there for patients’

2 minute read - 

It is a real privilege to work with families at the time of a loved one’s death, says Ann Bradley, senior charge nurse of the inpatient unit at The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice

I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. We try to make sure that patients have as nice a death as possible and families can look back on that without having any regrets.

We want to make sure that patients are cared for and families are looked after.

It is a privilege to be present at the very end of life when someone is about to pass away. It is a very emotional and frightening time for the family. We are there to talk them through it.

Sometimes the most difficult thing is getting a patient through the door because of the preconceptions that patients only come in to die.

But patients come in to have their symptoms managed and go back home. We get to know them and their families and they feel safe with us.

As humans we complain about very minor things but here you see that there is really nothing to moan about. When you see patients fighting to live, fighting to stay with their families, people moaning about having to go to work is such a waste.

These people would give their right arm to get out of bed and go to work or go on a night out.

My advice to anyone is: don’t waste time. People want to save for things or build up a pension pot but you might not reach that point. Enjoy life now.

I always tell my children, my husband and my friends that I love them. I make the most of every single day. That’s what it’s really about.

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As you mature you realise that time is limited. The things you worried about before aren’t important. Things fix themselves but the only thing you can’t take for granted is your health.

It doesn’t matter how much money you have, it can’t change the inevitable. Life is so fragile. Things aren’t important, it’s people that are important.

You can’t believe the strength of people we see. They are really brave. Sometime you sit and look at somebody and you think, ‘How do they do that? How do they cope with that?’ But they do. They get this inner strength that they didn’t know they had.

I am lucky to be doing this job. Of course there are stresses and strains but we are a great team who ensure the patient comes first.

You do get difficult days but you can walk away knowing that you have helped and feel good that you were able to do something – maybe something quite simple.

Treat people the way you would like you to be treated, the way you 
would want your family to be treated. If you remember that you won’t go wrong.