Home News Nurse Sarah completes End of Life Care course in the height of lockdown

30 Oct 2020 Care

Nurse Sarah completes End of Life Care course in the height of lockdown

For our team of nurses and doctors, providing the highest quality of care to our patients is their number one priority. But when Kirkwood Nurse Sarah Reid had the opportunity to go to university to study End of Life Care, she had no idea it would mean juggling assignments whilst working through the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, Kirkwood Nurses Sarah Reid and Steph Bailey took the plunge and headed back into education to study End of Life Care at the University of Huddersfield. Today, we are sharing Sarah’s experience of life as a part-time student whilst working on our In-Patient Unit.

Sarah joined our team of nurses on the In-Patient Unit two years ago after working in nursing since 1989. Sarah reflects on her reasons for joining the team: “I wanted to work with The Kirkwood as I have always had an interest in palliative care. I wanted to work in an environment that provides the highest quality of care for people approaching the end of their lives.

“Throughout my years of working at the NHS Trust, I have always had the impression that the care The Kirkwood provides is second to none. So, I jumped at the chance to apply for a position when I saw the advertisement.”

After 12-months and feeling fully settled in her new role, Sarah wanted nothing more than to continue developing her skills and study end of life care in more depth. Sarah, along with Kirkwood Nurse Steph Bailey, began studying End of Life Care PgCert in September 2019 at the University of Huddersfield.

“The course is approximately one year long part-time and consisted of two modules, End of Life Care and Personal and Professional Development, with two assignments for each module. The assignments all took many weeks of work, which I found quite challenging as I have never previously studied at university,” Sarah continued.

The course was created in partnership with The Kirkwood to ensure that palliative and end of life care is available for all health and social care professionals.

“The End of Life Care module was really interesting. We had the chance to meet with other professionals in the field that also have an interest in palliative care. I found the Personal and Professional Development module challenging. We were having to complete literature searches and identify service improvements, all of which were very new to me.

“It was great to work closely with Steph and another girl on the course with us. We also had lots of support from other nurses at work who had previously completed the course which was fantastic.”

Whilst getting used to an increased workload whilst completing the course, Sarah had no idea just how demanding her role at work would become in the coming months. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK in March, and right in the middle of her year of learning, Sarah had to quickly adapt to the added pressure of lockdown.

“There was a point during the height of lockdown when we were told the course was going to be suspended and we would need to resume our studies later on in the year, which was an awful prospect. Although we were struggling with our assignments, we felt to have the course put on hold and then resume at a later date would have been too difficult. It would almost be like having to get into the routine of studying again.

“Working throughout the pandemic has been very challenging. Especially at the beginning of lockdown when things were so new, we were unable to allow visitors and we had to adjust to wearing PPE. But now, things are much more settled. Visiting restrictions have eased and wearing PPE is second nature to us all. We are all still able to provide excellent standards of care, just in a different way now.”

Sonia Tyndall, our Practice Development Sister on the In-Patient Unit, is delighted to see another member of the team complete the course. Sonia said: “Since the PGCert in End of Life Care began three years ago, Sarah is the 7th In-Patient Unit nurse to achieve the qualification.

“The course provides underpinning knowledge in End of Life care and greatly enhances the care that is provided by our nursing team. Sarah has also shared the new knowledge she has gained from the course with other nurses in our team.

“I greatly admire Sarah’s determination to complete the course at a very anxious time as the pandemic broke. It demonstrated her courage and commitment to be the best nurse that she could be for her patients, not letting the lockdown restrictions get in the way of her completing the course as she was determined to gain the knowledge that would complement the care that she delivers.”

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