Evening clouds

Evening clouds
Sunshine and Clouds

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The funeral of a friend who was a nurse

Working in palliative care, the end of life is a daily event, but today it touched me personally. I, and many others, attended a gathering and well attended reunion at the local Crematorium. We were there to remember our friend, boss, peer and co-worker. Of course there many family there too. Her husband had also worked with us. Jenni took the development of Willen Hospice, and its clinical services to a point where a 20 bed inpatient unit was complimented by all the community services with back up from incredible fund raising and retail support.
I know too that Jenni would play down her part, understandably pointing to the team effort involved.

Jenni had trained as a nurse, and went on later to manage a variety of services after leaving the hospice. Whilst care of the patients was at the forefront of her mind Jenni also had the care and development of her staff alongside this too. I think this is why so many turned up today, from all sections of the hospice, current staff and those who have moved on or been wise enough to retire. Many of the people there today came from Willen. I was lucky enough to have two bites of the cherry working there, both times Jenni took me on under her wing. In many ways these two appointments were critical to me in the development of my career, particularly in palliative and end of life care, and in taking me forward as a service manager. 

Whatever the role, Jenni had touched all these lives as well as all the lives of all those whom the Hospice has cared for. As such then the turnout today was a reflection of the esteem and affection we had for her. That a malignant disease should be the cause of her death at so young an age is another part of the story. 

Alongside that is her reputation for enjoying a night out. In the company of friends and co-workers the loudest laugh was hers. A love of gin, as well as other drinks if required, fueled many an evening. Of course Jenni loved her job and her family; she will be much missed.
Jenni leaves a significant legacy; people who continue to clean, cook and care for those who are frail and nearing the ends of their lives; those who have been encouraged to take chances, develop as people and as servants of those who need the care.
At a time when healthcare and nursing particularly are being frowned upon, and the NHS seems to be falling apart, I am proud to say Jenni was someone who taught us all how to do it right; how to enjoy work; and how to make a difference.  I am very happy to have known Jenni, though very sad now that she has left our presence. She was a light in our lives, and I look forward to carrying her legacy into the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment