Home News The Kirkwood Spotlight: Janet Bowman

25 Mar 2024 Community

The Kirkwood Spotlight: Janet Bowman

The Kirkwood continue to be one of the leading clinical voices in the Kirklees area when caring for people with life limiting illnesses. We are continuously proud of our staff who provide the best care to patients both on our In-Patient and in the community. 

One of our longest serving members of staff is nurse Janet Bowman. Janet has worked for The Kirkwood for over 20 years and in that time has helped care for hundreds of patients and their families. 

People like Janet have helped to build The Kirkwood's reputation and continue to show everyday why we are so vital in the Kirklees area. We as an organisation and charity are very proud to have Janet work for us for so long. 

Janet, now 65, started her nursing career in 1977, she believes it was her calling. On her career she commented: “I started training in 1977. I've worked in various different places over the years. I've worked in a home for disabled servicemen, I've worked at Stoke Mandeville and I completed a spinal course there. So I've moved around a bit.

“I've worked in young disabled units, nursing homes, community resources and hospices.

“When I first started nursing, I didn't really know what was involved at all. I was quite naive to it all, but I just love to take care of people and to help them. I find it rewarding and hopefully I can help other people.

“Nursing is very different now to when I first started, however the principles of what you were taught, and how to act, never leave you.” 

Janet joined The Kirkwood movement in the early 2000's and believes it's a fantastic charity to work for. On why she wanted to work for The Kirkwood and what her journey with the hospice has been like, she said: “Prior to working for The Kirkwood, I was working in a nursing home, which I loved. I love caring for the elderly, but I found it very frustrating when they were short staffed and I couldn't do the job I wanted.

“I couldn't give enough care to the patient because I didn't have enough time, whereas with The Kirkwood we have the benefit of having a higher ratio of staff to patients and so we can give that care and that precious time to them. We can give that extra bit that sadly a lot of establishments can't.

“I had worked in a day centre at a hospice near Milton Keynes before, but I didn't really know a lot about how the In-Patient Unit ran there. So it was all quite new for me when I joined The Kirkwood, although I had worked in the community side of things, where I looked after a lot of patients with palliative care needs.

“Due to my many varied roles before I joined The Kirkwood, I had a wide skill set in the care sector. I also completed the Palliative care certificate when I first came to the charity.” 

Janet explains the emotional stress the job has had on her and her colleagues, but she also points out the reason why she loves what she does.  

She said: “At times, the work can be challenging, as we are dealing with complex patient conditions and people's lives. When I first joined I had to learn to switch off from my work when I went home. I have a very busy home life and so I am able to switch off.

“I'm not saying I don't think about some patients when I'm not working, but I can put that to one side and enjoy my life outside of work.

“Many times I do get upset, but I try to deal with that and I put my hospice face on and perform the care that I need to. We are here to do a job, which inevitably includes intense emotional circumstances every week. I show emotion in my work but I've learnt over the years to control it.

“People think we are angels with the work we do; we as nurses just believe we're people who care and want to help others. As a nurse I think you have to have empathy and want to care for people and help to improve their lives.

“Sadly, I've also nursed some colleagues here that have died on our In-Patient Unit. Those were very difficult experiences. It was very sad, but it was also, as I say again, a privilege or an honor to be able to care for them and do the little things for them, to give them comfort and make sure that they were pain free and peaceful. 

“I wanted to do that one last thing for someone that meant a lot to me. I also wanted to make sure their families were well supported and had all the information they needed.”

Over the last two years The Kirkwood brand has changed, as we believe our charity is for everyone, and we wanted to take the negative outside connotations away with the word hospice. This is something Janet was pleased to see the charity move forward with. 

She said: “In recent years we have changed the logo and brand from Kirkwood Hospice to The Kirkwood, which I think has been a good step and the right one to make. We concentrate more on the life that people have left, who have a life limiting illness. 

“We try to make memories for the families and for the patients. Over the years I've had the honor and privilege to witness weddings, birthday parties, social engagements and loving moments that will be cherished for a lifetime. 

“We always do our best for the patients and give them whatever they need to make their life, however long or short, that bit more comfortable.”

In a world where some only think about themselves, have a self-centred outlook and don’t see the bigger picture, people like Janet and her colleagues are a shining example of having humility and respect but also the knowledge that the smallest gestures can sometimes make the biggest of differences. 

Janet humbly said: “I'm just a little tiny cog in the great big wheel of The Kirkwood, What I love about nursing is being with the patients at their bedsides. 

“Although lots of things have changed over 21 years, in how to care for patients, in the end it's that human touch and interaction and ability to have compassion, empathy and kindness which matters most to me, my colleagues and everyone who works for The Kirkwood.” 

Need clinical advice?
Call our advice line on:

01484 557910

24 hrs a day