Rowcroft celebrates success of traineeship in end-of-life care

At a celebration evening last night with local stakeholders and their organisations, Rowcroft recognised the fabulous success of a new traineeship initiative in end-of-life care that recently saw four nurses complete training over a period of 12 months.

“We’re delighted with the success of this new scheme and so proud of our four nurses who completed this traineeship,” said Rowcroft’s Head of Education and Project Lead Kerry Macnish. “By the end of the traineeship, they all demonstrated increased confidence, skills and knowledge in palliative and end-of-life care, enabling them to make improvements in their workplaces, for example, developing a bespoke end-of-life care private space to improve the care of those dying on a dementia ward, or creating an overnight stay room for relatives.”

The trainees, who work as nurses in a range of healthcare settings including an acute hospital, an older people’s mental health ward and hospices in Devon, were recruited into the newly designed Rowcroft traineeship in Autumn 2020, with funding from Macmillan. As Project Lead, Kerry’s role was to support each trainee to identify their learning needs, plan their learning, and to achieve identified tasks including making improvements in their healthcare settings for people with cancer, dementia and those at the end of life.

“The trainees developed insight and capabilities in a wide range of areas,” said Kerry. “For example, learning about withdrawing treatment for someone dying with COVID, how to convey news sensitively by phone to relatives unable to see loved ones before they died, and how to have difficult advance conversations with patients with regard to their end-of-life choices.”

As part of the traineeship, participants took part in Rowcroft’s educational training courses (face-to-face and online) and found the placement opportunities particularly beneficial with trainees shadowing and learning from Rowcroft’s specialist care staff working with patients, either in Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit, in the Community Team or in Rowcroft’s Hospice at Home Team.

“The days in the Rowcroft hospice were absolutely amazing,” said nurse Bridget who took part in the training. “In my own personal development, I realised that the early conversations are essential. I’ve got to be braver and have these conversations because the end result is people dying in just the way they want to, in their own homes.”

“Following shifts spent on placements, periods of time were set aside for trainees to reflect on and share their learning and experiences, and this was particularly useful,” said Kerry. “One trainee described the group as becoming a community of practice, evidenced in the learning sets, inspiring each other to stretch practice, feel more confident, share experiences and inspire others to take care further.”

“It’s been wonderful meeting up with everyone and sharing experiences,” said nurse Carole who in addition to completing her traineeship has won the National Daisy Award 2021 for extraordinary nurses. “I’ve learnt how important it is to look outside of your job role for help and advice, and not to be afraid to challenge, to push boundaries, and to fight for excellence in care for end-of-life and palliative patients.”

“We are so impressed with the learning that has been generated as a result of this training,” said Kerry. “We recognise that there have been huge challenges and obstacles along the way, especially given the global pandemic, but our trainees have persevered and it has paid off. They are now taking their learning into their community healthcare settings, and we congratulate them on their amazing achievements.”

The hospice will continue to support the trainees over the following year by inducting them into the local End-Of-Life Care Ambassadors Programme.

To find out more about the work of Rowcroft’s Education Team, including their broad range of training opportunities, please visit our education pages here or email:

Website designed and developed by Bluestone360