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Ashgate Hospice > International Women’s Day: ‘My daughter inspires me to champion inclusion at Ashgate Hospice’ – by Laura Wilson

For International Women’s Day, which takes place on Friday 8th March this year, we would once again like to pay tribute to the incredible role women have had and continue to have in shaping Ashgate Hospice.  

To mark the event on this occasion, we caught up with some women at the hospice to hear how they inspire inclusion, not only in their roles at the hospice but also in their lives in general, as well as which women inspire them.  

With over 15 years of experience in palliative care, our Ward Sister Laura Wilson has made it her mission to provide the highest standard of care to patients and their loved ones, while also championing inclusion and diversity in her role. 

What is your job role, what does it entail and what do you love about working at the hospice? 

I have been working as a Ward Sister on the Inpatient Unit for over a year now. Prior to that I did four years on the ward as a Registered Nurse and 10 years on the Macmillan Palliative Care Unit over in Sheffield. Ever since being a Student Nurse at Ashgate Hospice 15 years ago, I have been very passionate about palliative care, supporting those who are probably going through one of the worst times in their life and ensuring they receive the highest standard of care possible.  

My role as a Ward Sister is very busy but very rewarding. I support the nursing team to provide palliative care to those nearing the end of their life and also supporting their loved ones. This includes direct patient care, managing patient safety, working with the multidisciplinary team, organising admissions and discharges, being part of Quality Improvement Projects, and being part of numerous groups including the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group. 

Laura's daughter has inspired her to make the hospice accessible for everyone

What makes you proud to be a woman working for Ashgate Hospice?  

I am proud to be a woman working at Ashgate as I am very passionate about the job I do. I also feel it is important to show my four daughters that you can achieve your career aspirations, while also being a huge support to your family.  

What does inclusion mean to you and what makes you passionate about it? 

Inclusion means facilitating the means to ensure everyone is included, feeling welcome, valued, respected and heard, whatever their background, culture, disability, ability, gender. It’s all about celebrating people’s individuality and differences and enabling them to be themselves. 

Inclusion has been more prominent in my life since the birth of my daughter, Isobelle, who has down syndrome. Over the past 11 years Isobelle and our family have had to overcome many challenges to ensure she gets the support and input she deserves. This has highlighted many barriers to ensuring that Isobelle thrives but with support of our family, friends and colleagues, we have overcome many of these and hope that in the future these barriers will not exist. 

What have you been doing to promote inclusivity in your work? 

I have recently been working with our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, Liz Allam and the MacIntyre Charity, which aims to support and empower people living with disabilities. We want to be able to do everything we can here at the hospice to improve things for patients, their loved ones, staff, volunteers and supporters, not only on the Inpatient Unit but at the hospice as a whole. Our aim is to make our services as accessible as they can be for people who visit us. We are also looking at ways in which we communicate to one another and how we can make this more inclusive. 

For example, we have been exploring training opportunities for our staff in British Sign Language and Makaton to enhance communication skills. I learnt Makaton when Isobelle was a few months old as a way of ensuring we could communicate with her early and it has been a great tool. We have also been looking into some visual aids for IPU patients and relatives who may be non verbal or partially verbal. 

What woman in your life inspires you most and why? 

My biggest inspiration is my mum, Judith. She has always been a very caring and strong woman, and inspires me to strive for what I believe in. My mum is my rock. She has been the biggest support and I hope that I can do the same for my daughters, by putting them first and showing them that they can achieve their dreams and I will always be there to support them.