I first heard about Demelza when I was providing support to children at a Special Educational Needs school. I was asked to accompany a child to Demelza for respite care. I didn’t really know what to expect – when you hear the word ‘hospice’, mostly you think of adult hospices. Demelza was so different. It really gave the impression of being a ‘home from home’. The staff were so friendly and the child I was accompanying ran through the doors, they were just so happy to be there.
After that, I decided that Demelza was the place I wanted to work. I started as a Band 3 healthcare assistant 11 years ago now. I am one of those people who really enjoys learning and I always think about the next steps, so I was over the moon when the opportunity to train as a nurse came up. I was so nervous, I almost didn’t apply. Thankfully I did, and became a Band 5 nurse in 2020 and have no regrets. At first I worked at Demelza as part of a job share alongside working in a hospital, but decided that Demelza was where I got the most satisfaction.
I just loved how much quality time you got to spend with each child and the families. You see so many of them on such a regular basis that you get the opportunity to build a much deeper level of trust and rapport than you can elsewhere. I also found that it developed my skillset in a more holistic way. Yes, I have the clinical skillset to deliver complex care, but I also have developed my resilience, my empathy and my communications to a level that is unique to Demelza.
For me, the time and skills that Demelza offers lead to some truly satisfying professional experiences. Although the support we offer can be at the worst time of a family’s life, the expertise and reassurance that the Demelza team provides mean the world to them and that’s what means the world to me.
When I progressed to a Band 6 nursing role, I was again a bit worried. It can be daunting initially to take on a leadership role, but actually, the team is so incredibly supportive of one another that I have really enjoyed the step up.
Our debrief processes are really strong: the team is always constructive if there is anything we can do better, but also quick to share praise if you’ve done something well. I can turn to any of my colleagues and know that they are there to offer support – you’re never alone. The nursing and care team at Demelza is nurse-led too, which I have found to be quite empowering. We work together as a team to problem-solve.
Being a leader at Demelza isn’t about bossing people around – it’s about being trusted by others for them to come to you for advice and supporting the whole team to provide the best possible experience for the babies, children, young people we care for.