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How Anke’s following her lifelong passion for nursing to go back, not to basics – but to bedside

On 3 July 2023, Anke Bohn will step down from her post as the Operational Lead of ellenor’s Adult Hospice at Home team.

But it’s not to pursue a role with another organisation. And, while family is at the heart of her decision, she’s not retiring – or even leaving the palliative and end-of-life care sector.

Instead, Anke will depart her leadership role to enter a nursing role on our ward. To say it’s a ‘new’ role isn’t quite accurate, either – because to Anke, it’s a one that’s intimately familiar.

Anke has, after all, been a nurse for 45 years – with over 20 of those in the palliative and end-of-life care sector. What’s more, she always wanted to be a nurse – ever since, at the age of 9, she was hospitalised for two weeks, and ended up befriending (and assisting) the nurses on the ward.

So her new duties, which will involve providing hands-on, holistic care and support for ellenor’s inpatient ward’s life-limited patients, aren’t simply a part of her position – but her passion.

In the leadership role she’s stepping down from, Anke has been coordinating the care of around 350 patients with a range of life-limiting conditions. And overseeing ellenor’s teams responsible for supporting the staff who, collectively, support around 400 more patients throughout Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley care homes.

Now, Anke’s caseload will consist only of the inpatient ward’s eight beds. Yet what Anke swaps in terms of the quantity of patients under her watch, she’ll gain, on the ward, in quality care – going back to her roots to provide a more personal approach.

“I’m ready to get back, not to basics, per se – but to bedside care,” Anke says. “I love working on the ward – it’s so rewarding, because you get to see patients all the time. In a community-based care role – particularly a management one – you speak to patients a lot on the phone. But you don’t always get that face-to-face interaction; that one-on-one time that’s so integral to good patient care.

“On a ward, you can actually nurse a patient directly: administering medication, fitting syringe drivers, and alleviating the patient’s symptoms. You can talk to them, and their families; and be with the patient when they’re dying.

Of course, our ethos of holistic care – which sees the individual, and everything they are, rather than simply the patient or the illness – means Anke won’t simply be seeing to each patient’s clinical needs. But working with ellenor’s wider teams to support the patient’s unique psychological, emotional, social, spiritual – and even financial – needs. As well as those of their loved ones.


“Sometimes, it’s about just taking the time to sit with the patient – and let them talk,” Anke explains. “Giving them room to talk about their feelings, their anxieties around leaving their family behind – and all the emotional pain that comes with it.”

On top of returning to a role where she can give even more back to patients – and which gives so much back to her – Anke also plans to spend more time with her family. To make precious memories with her grandchildren and help her daughter Nele (Ward Sister at ellenor who, incidentally, will become one of Anke’s direct colleagues when she makes the move) and her partner do school runs.

Over the past few weeks, Anke has been spending some time working on the ward “to get the feel back” – and her already excellent relationships with the team there pave the way for a seamless transition into her new responsibilities.

As for her previous position – which will be filled by the extraordinarily capable hands of Linda Cahill – Anke doesn’t simply leave the Adult Hospice at Home team behind. 

She leaves it in a better place.

Anke’s emphasis on staff training and education has seen a number of nurses upskill under her leadership. From enhanced assessment skills to advanced communication – a set of capabilities vital in such a patient- and family-facing profession – Anke’s legacy is one of care, courage – and constant improvement.

It’s this same energy and experience Anke will bring to her new role on the ward. Mentoring new nurses, supporting her colleagues, and bringing steadfastness and stability to the ward as ellenor – where construction is already underway on a new Wellbeing Wing – navigates some expansive, exciting changes.

“I’d love to help develop the team I’m coming into,” Anke explains. “There’s so much empathy and knowledge on the inpatient ward already. And, with my knowledge and experience, I hope I can help the team continue to grow and become more confident.”

To her previous team in the community, Anke offers words of grace and gratefulness.

“Keep going!” she smiles. “I couldn’t be more proud of you. You’ve done so well – especially throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ve been just brilliant, so keep doing what you’re doing. Support Linda – and don’t forget I’m still here, and if you ever need to ask me anything, you can.”

While Anke’s following her passion, she’s equally excited to watch on, and see where her successor – and an emerging cohort of highly skilled, ambitious, and empathetic care professionals – take her former team.

“Now, it’s time to leave the management to the younger, up-and-coming generation. The team is built, and it’s a well-developed team; a good team.

“I can’t wait to see what it achieves next.”