Nicky Greatholder joined The Donna Louise in 2004 as a children's nurse and she hasn't looked back since.
Nicky joined The Donna Louise in 2004 as a children's nurse. Thirteen years later she is a team leader and absolutely loves her job.
Having completed her general nursing training, followed by specialist oncology training, Nicky worked in several nursing roles when she came to The Donna Louise in a temporary role, but that's where the story only begins.
She explained, "I always felt in my previous roles that I didn't have time to care for the families – I wanted to have more chance to support and spend time with them but there was always too much to do.
"Although I'd always done children's nursing I didn't have any experience of palliative care, but when I came to The Donna Louise I immediately knew that I wanted to work here permanently. I loved that I actually had the chance to spend time with the children and their families, getting to know them and help them in any way I could to make their stay at the Hospice special."
Nicky now works three days a week as a Team Leader and is responsible for approximately 20 people including nurses and family support workers. Her role involves managing shifts, wages, training and staff appraisals. She also spends one day a week "on the floor" where she supports new staff and also gets to spend time with the families using the Hospice.
Nicky absolutely loves her role and has a real passion for The Donna Louise. She explained "I love what I do. The families who come here are an inspiration and we're making a real difference to their lives. I feel very honoured that they allow us to look after their child."
Having worked at the Donna Louise for so long, Nicky has become something of a "jack of all trades" and is regularly used as a sounding board by her colleagues.
The biggest challenge of her role is being able to balance the needs of the children and families using the Hospice, against having the right staff in place. It's Nicky's responsibility to assess the team who are working on a given day and put the right people in place to offer complete care for the child.
As Nicky is often involved in the recruitment of new care staff, she has a real insight into the qualities that the Hospice is looking for. She said, "We're looking for people who have a real passion for children's nursing. It's not just about having the right skills – we can teach those – but we want people who love being with and caring for children."
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