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Student experience offers new perspective on life and hospice care

19th March 2015

student physiotherapist

I started my placement at St. Richard’s Hospice in November. I hoped I would be able to look at all the different sides to physiotherapy that could be offered there. Not only would I shadow the physiotherapists at the hospice, but I would have the opportunity to spend time with other members of staff so I could get to know what roles everyone else has at the hospice.

Being a first year and this being my first placement I was nervous. I had never done anything like this before and because the placement was going to be in a hospice, I assumed I was going to see a lot of patients dying or deteriorating, which I do but that isn’t always the case.

I was really anxious, but confident on the first day. I was a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience, because of the number of people I met. That’s when I started to get really excited to be here on placement, because I saw how much everyone worked as a team and really cared for the patients and their families. I see patients walk down the hall who previously couldn’t get out of bed, patients getting better and more mobile so they can go home and be with their loved ones.

I attend Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings where various members of medical staff discuss current in-patients. They all talk about how each patient had been overnight, and plan what needs to be done with that patient. I spent the day with the Occupational Therapists and joined them on a home visit, which was wonderful! I also spent a day with the Family Support Team. It was really interesting to get to know all about the different areas that are a part of the team and how they all come together to assist patients and their families.

I spent a day with the nurses, which was really exciting. I always see them running around from room to room trying to tend to every patient they can and really got to see another side of treatment and how it can be very hard on them sometimes. Besides the physiotherapists, the people I see the most are the volunteers at the Day Hospice. I spend most days at the Day Hospice and get to really know the patients and their stories. It always seems to amaze me how they arrive at the hospice and are just so appreciative and happy and never complain about their condition. They enjoy the day and everyone’s company.

Being at the St. Richard’s Hospice has been an amazing experience so far, and I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many dedicated and amazing people. Becoming close to patients can be difficult but I love having them being a part of my life no matter how short that might be, because they give me a new perspective on life and hopefully my future career.