Through the darkest of times, stars shine brightest

These tough times are bringing out the best in people across our community; we are inspired by all the acts of kindness being shown across South Devon, as people rally round to care for each other through this pandemic.

As a hospice, we are so proud of our care teams, who are doing everything possible to continue providing expert care to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Without the strength, devotion and willingness of Rowcroft’s staff and volunteers, this would not be possible. We are inspired by the way our team members are switching roles to offer support wherever it’s needed most, so that we can continue caring for our community.

Kerry Macnish is Rowcroft’s Head of Education, but for four months during the pandemic she changed roles to lend her expertise to our Community Team as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). From March to June, Kerry cared for patients and families across South Devon in their own homes. We asked Kerry to share some insights about her redeployment …

What past experience do you have that enabled to you to be effective in this temporary role?

“My first palliative nursing job in 1987 was as a Community CNS in Exeter. I continue with a regular bank shift both there and when Rowcroft Community Team have needed additional support.“

Why do you think it is so important to come together and share our skills in other departments during these difficult times?

“We often hear the term ‘patients come first’ and of course they do, however I also think colleagues come very close! In order to look after others, we must care for ourselves and help our teams with increased workloads. I was so glad to be redeployed to support this inspirational and highly committed team of nurses and allied health care professionals, as we adapt Rowcroft’s Community Team to remain compassionately and effectively responsive during this awful pandemic. Another member of our Education Team – Catherine, our Education Facilitator – was also redeployed to a nursing team in Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit.”

How did it make you feel knowing that you were helping in the Community Team during these unprecedented times?

“Although I have worked in an education role over the last 15 years, you can see I never left nursing completely. I think that’s important when you teach, so that you are credible and empathetic with other people’s work environments and pressures. During my time with the Community Team, I learned and re-learned so much about our responses to isolated patients and to families frustrated by ‘no normal’ anymore. I helped to ensure that people got their medications and that their wishes were discussed and communicated. Rowcroft is now using a range of electronic/ remote methods to remain in touch with patients and families when we are not visiting. I even did a few local visits on my push bike, changing into personal protective equipment (PPE), which became quite a talking point with families.”

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