Do you have good communication skills? Do people often commend your ‘way with people’, or laud your ability to understand and empathise with others?
If so, Dr Sarah Thurgood explains, you’ll be a natural fit for a career in hospice care. Dr Sarah’s first brush with ellenor was as a volunteer, but – even as circumstances led her into general practice – she still harboured a love for the palliative care space.
As part of her training as a GP, Southfleet-born Dr Sarah spent four months at ellenor – gaining vital experience and building her skillset in a hospice care environment. Later, she became a Trustee, and now she spends three quarters of her time working with our Hospice at Home team, caring for patients with life limiting illnesses in the community.
For Dr Sarah, ellenor has helped her develop character-building experience, and find that crucial balance between dual roles: as a GP, and as a speciality doctor in the community with ellenor. For her, a career in hospice care has given so much back.
So what can a career in hospice care do for you?
Between development opportunities, more time to connect with patients, and a deeper understanding of your local area, Dr Sarah explains what building a hospice career can offer you – and your community.
Professional Development and Knowledge Sharing
For young doctors looking to enhance their skills and develop professionally, hospice care provides a thriving career pathway.
And, for GPs with an interest in growing their skills in the palliative space, the sector offers plenty of on-the-job training – development that, as Dr Sarah explains, isn’t always that accessible.
“Palliative medicine and care training is quite difficult to come by as a GP. But at ellenor, there are so many opportunities to continue to learn and hone your skills. There’s so much on-the-job support and coaching – particularly for those new to palliative medicine.
“We try really hard at ellenor to fit them into roles where they’re well supported, and base it on the experience they come in with – not their old job title.”
Flexibility Alongside a GP Role
Another of a career in hospice care’s pulls? Its versatility.
For example, if you’ve trained as a GP – but want to continue your professional development, while balancing that role alongside other duties – ellenor can accommodate.
Just ask Dr Sarah.
“It’s a really lovely job to work alongside general practice – which, in turn, gives you a huge number of the skills you need to be an effective palliative medicine doctor.
“What’s more, hospice care can really act as a foil for some of the stresses of being a GP. It provides the opportunity to do some of the things we might want to do as GPs, but may not have the resources to do on a day-to-day basis.”
More Time with Patients
Many healthcare professionals start their career with one key driver – to spend time with patients. To connect with those in their care, and feel that inherently human connection. For most doctors, though – particularly those in acute settings, such as hospitals – time with patients soon becomes a ‘nice to have’, rather than a must have.
But as Dr Sarah explains, this is one of the key advantages of a career in hospice care.
“It’s so refreshing to have time to spend with patients; to have resources available. Here, we’re able to ask ‘what does the patient want – and how can we provide that?’ Rather than having to look only at what care we can provide under the constraints upon us.”
A Better Understanding of the Local Community
With large catchment area that extends across Kent and Bexley, we provide care to a wide range of diverse demographics and cultures. But to be able to provide effective palliative care – particularly from the homes of patients – it’s not enough to simply be working in those communities. You have to understand them, too.