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9 May 2024

Nurses' Day: I will be forever grateful to St Michael’s Hospice for the support I have had through my career

Lorna Banham describes how her career has progressed with St Michael's

My career at St Michael’s has taken me from Healthcare Assistant to Advanced Clinical Practitioner

Palliative care was not a speciality I had considered as a nursing career. Within hours of working here at St Michael’s, though, my mind had been changed thanks to the incredible level of compassion and care provided to both patients and those around them.

Within palliative care, compassion and a desire to give the best possible care are essential, alongside an inquisitive mind. Here, we have the time to provide this care, and it’s a real privilege.

I joined in 2008 as a Healthcare Assistant, before moving on to the role of Registered Nurse, then Advanced Nurse Practitioner, and now Advanced Clinical Practitioner.   

The nature of palliative care has changed a lot during this time, and it’s not just because of healthcare advances. We are finding that patients are having treatments much later in their disease, and as a result their symptom-need has changed. However, the fundamentals remain the same. We will always aim to ensure that all patients are afforded the time and support they need.   

Palliative care is different to other specialities I have experienced. It challenges your clinical thought processes. For instance, just because we can do a medical intervention doesn’t mean we should. Palliative care holds the space to support patients and those around them in making those challenging decisions in what is one of the hardest times of their life.  

The care provided here at St Michael’s is testament to the work of the multi-disciplinary team wanting to provide the best for our patients; this could be a hot bubble bath; walking a horse up the corridor, or even hosting a patient’s wedding. 

On a personal note, the level of support the Hospice has given me throughout my career development has been more than I could have imagined. My passion for palliative care has led me to utilise every opportunity that was afforded to me to develop my knowledge and skills further.  Undertaking Clinical Aspects of Palliative Care modules, my nursing degree and Advancing Practice modules all enabled me to commence roles as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, and then Advanced Clinical Practitioner. These are roles which were non-existent when I was first employed. The nursing structure has changed significantly, and there are now greater opportunities for career development in either clinical or managerial roles, and the opportunity to develop skills that are not the natural domain of nurses.  

I will be forever grateful to St Michael’s Hospice for the support I have had through my career development, as well as from the community that supports it.  

Lorna Banham
Advanced Clinical Practitioner

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