Step up for St John’s

Our Hospice nurses always go the extra mile for our patients and their busy days involve thousands of steps doing a job that is crucial to the care we are proud to provide. Their efforts are often overlooked as a given in the nature of their role as healthcare professionals, so we spoke to three of our nurses Mylen, Wazhma and Soulla about their jobs and we discovered that they covered a total of more than 30,000 steps – almost 12 miles – performing their daily caring duties.

Their incredible efforts are a key part of the Hospice’s ability to be able to provide outstanding care and service to patients and their families. Their devotion travels way beyond their duties. Here you can read their stories and find out how you can walk  a day in the steps of our Inpatient Unit nurses in the Step Up for St John’s Hospice challenge event to support our Hospice.

Mylen Guadalupe – Healthcare Assistant – 8,164 steps

Mylen has been at the Hospice for almost ten years.

I started with my handover from the night shift and then served some breakfast. I had one patient with motor neurone disease handed over to me and she said “Are you sure you know what you’re doing with me?” and I turned to her confidently and said “Yes ma’am I do”, and she just smiled and said “Thank the Lord”.

The great thing about palliative care is that we are holistic – meaning we take every aspect of the person into account when caring and we are trained to help with absolutely anything.

I then moved on to some personal hygiene for the patients, which involves everything from washing and dressing them to doing their nails and makeup; anything to make them feel beautiful, special and comfortable.

Then it was lunch, which was a little manic because we didn’t have the volunteers in to help us due to COVID-19 restrictions, but so many patients told me that they loved their food

I always really like taking patients out to the garden, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that. Then the daughter of one of our patients ran up to me to give me a hug and I had to say: “Wait, wait – social distancing” but I was glad I could make the visit fun for a child. I finished up at 8pm and handed everything over to the night shift.

The Hospice isn’t like other healthcare spaces – it’s homely and I’ve always loved that. There’s something here that you can’t quite explain, but it’s always full of laughter. It can be difficult sometimes, but that’s when you remember the patients that make a difference in your life.”

Wazhma Mansouri – Senior Staff Nurse – 10,645 steps

Wazhma started with us as a newly qualified nurse in 2008.

My first task on the ward was to allocate patients to those staff I felt they would have the most affinity with. The patients are dealing with so much so I want to give them consistency, someone they can build a rapport with, and someone they can feel comfortable and safe with. I am kind of the go-between from the Doctors to the Healthcare Assistants, so I fed all the information to the Healthcare Assistants and made sure they were completely up-to-date. Then I made sure that all the transport was arranged for the following day. Several patients had doctor’s appointments to get to so I coordinated them with our ambulance service.

The paperwork for the day’s discharge and new referrals took a long time but it has to be done as carefully as possible. I had a lot of calls this day – GPs, dietitians, family members – all wanting updates on the patients, and to give us new information or test results.

I spent 45 minutes talking to a family who were desperate to come and visit their dad but couldn’t due to COVID-19 restrictions. I took them through absolutely everything about their dad’s days here from breakfast, his walks and his medicine to make them feel as close as possible to him.

I finished up doing an audit, which took a while and meant I finished around 9pm. I’ve always felt drawn to palliative care. It’s just the bonding and care you can give to a patient at a time when they need it most.

Soulla Economou – Healthcare Assistant – 11,503 Steps

Soulla has worked at St Johns Hospice since June 2018 and is studying for a palliative nursing degree.

I started at 7:30am, grabbed some food and a large coffee and reported to the Inpatient Unit (IPU) to get the handover from the night shift. That went on for about an hour. Then we went around and checked in on our patients and asked what they wanted for breakfast.

While I was doing my rounds, one lady in room 22 said to me: “Every time you walk in, he opens his eyes and perks up” and I said “oh, well that’s only because I’m loud” and she laughed and said “No, it’s because you’re his angel”. I smiled for about an hour after that. I just couldn’t stop myself; knowing I could make someone feel better.

After serving breakfast, we provided personal care until lunchtime. If anyone needs help with food, we go in and eat with them so they don’t feel so uncomfortable. During the afternoon we talk with patients when we can and help them with their visitors. I spent about 20 minutes chatting to one patient who had been here for about two weeks and it turned out that she spoke Greek. I said “All this time you’ve been here and you never told me you spoke my language” and she said “I just had to get comfortable but I’m completely comfortable around you now”. That meant so much to me. It’s the patients and their families that keep me coming in every single day with a smile on my face.

I caught up with some paperwork in the afternoon and then we had dinner to serve before finishing at around 8pm.

Can you match our dedicated nurses’ steps?

On Sunday 16th May, we are running a challenge event to raise money for the Hospice – Step up for St John’s. All you have to do is choose one of our three nurses and walk the same number of steps within the day.

In order to raise funds for the Hospice, there is a small entry fee of £10 per person or £15 per household (anyone within your household or support bubble). Once registered you can set up a sponsorship page on Just Giving where your friends and family can show their support making sponsorship donations to help our Hospice.

To find out more click here or contact us for more information on or 0207 806 4093.

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