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For International Women’s Day this year, we would like to pay tribute to the incredible role women have had and continue to have in shaping Ashgate Hospice. We asked colleagues to nominate who at the hospice inspires them – and we’ve asked nominees their thoughts on life as a woman in hospice care.
Paula Cockayne, Ward Sister on our Inpatient Unit, shares what makes her proud to be a woman working at Ashgate and how the dedication of her nursing team inspires her each day.
What is your job role, what does it entail and what do you love about working at the hospice?
I have worked at the hospice for just over four years as one of the Ward Sisters on our Inpatient Unit. I help support the team to give outstanding care to patients and their families. My role includes a whole variety of tasks including complex symptom management, ensuring patients are safely discharged and ensuring we have a strong team when completing rotas to ensure we can effectively care for patients.
What makes you proud to be a woman working for Ashgate Hospice?
Ashgate is one of the most supportive places I have worked, but in general, I feel we are constantly learning how to support women in the workplace, including how to best manage their wellbeing. We are exploring and having open discussions on topics like menopause and how this can affect the team and what measures can be put in place to support women who are experiencing symptoms of this.
What inspired you to get into your chosen career?
My nan was a massive part of my life having lost my dad when I was only 16 to a heart attack. I helped support her into her 90s to live as independently at home as she could, and I was drawn to helping people when they are at their most vulnerable. She was fantastic into her 90s and then struggled the last few years of her life. Everyone was so devastated when she died, but she said to me during the last few years: “I’m totally knackered, it’s time I wasn’t here anymore.” I relate that so much to the patients I care for when they have total acceptance of where they are at in their journey, but families struggle with this and want them to keep going.
How does it feel to know your colleagues are inspired by you? And is there anyone at the hospice that inspires you?
I have lots of admiration for all working women at the hospice, but especially the nursing team who must deal with difficult complex patients and families and then juggle family life. Especially on key dates in the year like Christmas time and Mother’s Day when we all would like to spend time with our families.
What women inspire you most and why?
I am inspired by all kinds of women from all walks of life. Strong independent women who work hard and are good role models for young woman today – from sports personalities like the Williams sisters and the World Cup-winning Lionesses to women in politics and activists like Greta Thunberg.
“Paula is a great role model for the Inpatient Unit and for us all.
Paula is a natural leader who inspires confidence with her professional, friendly attitude and she is great at holding the space for others to grow and shine; a selfless and impressive attribute.”