“I always wanted to work with children with complex needs and their families so when I saw my current role at Demelza, advertised over three years ago now, I didn’t hesitate in applying. And I haven’t looked back.”

Melissa Mungovan is Lead Nurse at Demelza, East Sussex, managing a team of nurses based at the hospice in St Leonards who deliver care at home to children with serious or terminal conditions across the region.

Melissa started her career as a Nursery Nurse but was always looking for something more challenging. She started working at Chailey Heritage residential school in 1998 which kick started her interest in nursing. She studied Children’s Nursing at Brighton University, working in A&E at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton before moving into community nursing.

Further study followed, including a degree in ‘Specialist Community Public Health Nursing’ and a Post Graduate Certificate in ‘Transforming practice for health professionals through education’, alongside extensive experience gained in community nursing and safeguarding, teaching public health and safeguarding sessions for both Brighton University and Sussex Police.

But for Melissa, Demelza is where her heart truly lies. She says: “To know you are making a difference to children and families who are going through the one of the most difficult moments of their lives, is humbling. I am privileged to be with the families on that journey, giving care, building relationships and supporting the whole family”.

For Melissa, there is always something positive to be found in her work. She continues: “I remember receiving a thank you letter from a dad after we had helped facilitate plaster casts of the hands of a child who was at end of life, alongside their sibling, as part of our memory making – in the saddest of circumstances, I know we can make a difference”.

Melissa is a keen runner and is the face of this year’s Miles in May campaign. In her spare time, she loves to run, and living right by the beach means she has access to some spectacular training runs. She is also taking on the Brighton marathon this year - after two postponements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melissa says: “I feel so lucky, and proud to work for such an amazing organisation that really puts the children and families at the centre of what we do at all times – and I work alongside truly fantastic colleagues. I am passionate about ensuring our families receive the best possible care, support and experiences that we can provide.”