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Meet Julie Nash: 25 years of nursing at Weldmar

Julie was here to welcome our very first patient in 1994.

This year, Weldmar Hospicecare celebrates 25 years of providing care in Dorset, and there are a number of team members who have been with us since the day we opened our doors for the first time.

Julie Nash is one of our original staff members, and is a Sister at our in-patient unit in Dorchester.

How did you come to be part of the team at Weldmar?

Before the hospice, I was working on a ward where we had palliative care patients.  It was nursing that I enjoyed, but being part of a big ward sometimes not enough attention was paid to end of life care and having time for relatives, so when I heard the hospice was opening up, I thought it was right up my street.  I applied, and that was the start of it!

What was it like when it all started?

I was here before the first patients were admitted, helping to get everything ready.  It was very challenging, working somewhere brand new.  It was unusual and exciting.  There was definitely a team approach to the patients.  Nurses, physios, doctors, occupational therapists, and complimentary therapists all started to work together.  It was exciting and good to see it grow.

We worked with community nurses to begin with – and then they became Weldmar Community Nurses.  I worked for twenty months as a WCN, and also did a stint in Day Services, so with that and the in-patient unit I’m the only nurse to have done all three elements of care, so I can see how we help from all angles, both caring for people at home and in the hospice.

Pictured above: members of our original nursing team Chris Barrett, Jayne Callow (aka Woody), and Julie Nash

How has the care at Weldmar evolved since those early days?

Originally it was just for cancer patients, but now it’s everybody who needs end of life care for any condition.  This can include heart failure, respiratory problems, Motor Neurone Disease, or Parkinsons.  As an ageing population we are dealing with a number of different diseases now.  There are patients with more complex needs coming into the hospice, and we do more complicated procedures, including IV antibiotics and blood transfusions.  We also have to keep up to date with changes in palliative care medicine, as treatments change all the time.

We have student nurses and medical doctors visiting – we try and share and pass on our knowledge so they can take it to the next place, and we learn from them too.

We’re also providing the 24 hour telephone advice line now.

What is it like to be part of the Weldmar Hospicecare team?

There is a real community feel in the hospice, especially as several of us have been there since the beginning.  We see a lot of sad cases and need to help and support each other.

It’s important to remember that a person is more than their illness – they come with a family and those that love them.  End of life can be very hard for family members, but we have facilities so they can stay if needed, and bereavement support afterwards.  We care for people from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave, and I think that’s reassuring for relatives.  Sometimes it’s the little things we do to help them that really makes a difference.

I think a lot of people are surprised at what a lovely atmosphere there is at the hospice.

I’ve still got the passion for palliative care 25 years later, the same as all that time ago, which is good.  To give good holistic care is very rewarding.


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