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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.
Here Emma Gould, one of our Community Nurse Specialists, tells us how her mum and auntie inspired to dedicate her career to caring for people in need and her admiration of the bravery of women in the suffragette movement.
What is your job role, what does it entail and what do you love about working at the hospice?
I work as a Community Nurse Specialist in Ashgate’s Community Palliative care team. I have worked in the team since October 2018. As part of my role, I support people with life-limiting illnesses and their carers in their own homes, trying to optimise difficult to manage symptoms both in their palliative journey and at the end of life, giving advice and sourcing support to enable patients to be at home for longer.
Later this year I will have been working at Ashgate for 20 years, from starting as a Staff Nurse on the Inpatient Unit, becoming a Ward Sister to moving into the community caring for people where they want to be the most at home. I still love working for the hospice otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed for this long! I love that the hospice enables me to give the care that people deserve.
What makes you proud to be a woman working for Ashgate Hospice?
The hospice has many of the same values that I have – such as respect. Respect is such a big part of being a nurse, respecting a person as an individual, who they are, recognising individuality and being person centred.
A lot of people ask how can you do what you do? Isn’t it sad? Working in palliative care is very special, it’s not just doom and gloom – there is light as well as darkness and I have met and cared for some of the most amazing people and see it as a privilege, giving quality care at one of the most difficult times of their lives.
What inspired you to get into your chosen career?
My mum and my auntie who is a nurse. Prior to me being born, my mum was training to be a nurse. Unfortunately, she never got to complete but she has shown and continues to show tremendous kindness to everyone that she meets. This combined with being an 80s child, when there was so much famine on TV from around the world, inspired me to be a nurse. I felt that I just wanted to be able to give people the care and support that they deserve.
How does it feel to know your colleagues are inspired by you? And is there anyone at the hospice that inspires you?
I was shocked to get nominated as I don’t see myself as doing anything different to anyone else that works at Ashgate. I work as part of a close team and all the members of the team I work within inspire me every day. We all keep the focus and the heart of what we do on our patients and their carer’s and support each other to do so.
The team has faced numerous challenges over the past three years, both professionally and personally, but it is the focus on giving the best possible care and the kindness that I find inspirational.
What women inspire you most and why?
There are so many inspirational women, one of the first women that inspired me was Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragette movement because of their courage in standing up for equal rights between genders. Although I don’t agree with the extreme actions that were taken, I do admire their bravery. They were prepared to stand up for equality no matter what the consequences were. It does make you wonder where women would be now if it wasn’t for their actions in the past!
“Emma looked after my husband Steve. Sadly, Steve died last year and I never really got the chance to say to Emma that I don’t know what we would have done without her. Emma would either phone or come to see Steve for months, so we really got to know her well. She was always so calm and reassuring and always got us through every problem with such care and compassion. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough for what she did for us.
“Without Emma I don’t think I could have carried on; she gave me strength and courage that I didn’t know I had, right up to the end. Emma never gave up on us and Steve was always that bit brighter when Emma got in touch. I think everyone should have someone like Emma in their life and it takes a special kind of person to make such a difference in people’s life. I’m sure she doesn’t know how special she is to all her patients and their family.”