Meet Joan: Palliative Care Lead

As part of our NHS 70 celebrations this week we will be proudly sharing a staff story each day to showcase our exceptional colleagues and the lifetime of care we offer!

For Day 7 we are introducing you to Joan Nelson. She is the Palliative Care Lead in South 2 – Kippax and Middleton.

IMG_24601) Who do you care for?

Patients above the age of 18. I support the teams to care for people that have got a terminal illness, supporting them in their journey from a terminal illness from diagnosis through to their death.

2) Describe what you do.

It is about having the right care at the right time by the right person and our community nurses are predominantly in the best place to deliver this care.

A lot of our role is to provide specialist support to our community nursing teams to allow them to deliver the very best care at this sensitive time. Our education and training is for all qualified and non-qualified staff. 

We make sure our teams are in the best possible position to complete care at the end. Being with a person right through their journey is so important and it is something that is remembered by families. I am also a non-medical prescriber so I support with things such as repeat prescriptions to make sure a person has everything they need to support their end of life care in their home. On a weekend we support with all the nursing homes across the city as required.

3) How long have you worked for the NHS?

I started my career on 1st July 1997 (just 21 years). I was a healthcare assistant for two years and then in 1999 I started my nurse training. Throughout my three years of nurse training I did a lot of bank shifts, I covered night services in wards as a healthcare assistant which was very insightful in learning where I wanted to focus my direction in nursing.

During my training I realised my passion was for the community; I liked being able to care for patients in their own homes without the rigour and routine of patient care on a ward. I came to Leeds Community Healthcare as a newly qualified community staff nurse in 2002, I continued in my education to be a qualified District Nurse in 2005. I found that palliative care was my passion hence my current role which I started In January 2016. 

4) What do you enjoy most about working for the NHS?

I think the NHS is a fantastic service and I think we all deliver excellent quality care to our patients. I have a cousin in America and when they say about going private, I say: ‘you can’t beat the NHS’. It’s the gold standard of care and it’s available to everyone'.

5) Describe your proudest moment.

The day I qualified. I worked really hard to become a staff nurse undertaking a year of study prior to starting my training - all whilst raising a young family.

I love my job, I get great job satisfaction and I am proud to serve the community in which I was raised. I’m proud to be able to give something back.