1st November 2023

    Dedicated nurse Amanda bids farewell to Pilgrims Hospices after a fulfilling nursing career

    Amanda Larking retires from nursing in October, Pilgrims Hospices wish to thank Amanda for her  years of dedicated nursing and celebrate her career of honouring compassion and commitment to care.

    She told us: “As a young person I undertook my nurse training in Thanet, were I still live now.

    “I always knew I wanted a career in nursing. At the age of 16, I had a secondary school, work experience placement at the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother Hospital in Margate; at that point I knew straight away that I would definitely apply for nurse training when I left school.

    “I started nursing in 1976, after completing my training, I spent some time working in theatres, then went on to spend three years nursing in the USA from 1984 -1987.

    “I nursed on oncology wards in the USA, and spent two years in New Jersey and a further year in Florida.  It was a really good experience, it definitely enriched my nursing knowledge, and I’m so glad I did it.  It was just one of the great opportunities available to me as a young nurse.”

    On returning to the UK, Amanda trained as a district nurse and worked in the Thanet area. She explained:  “I often became involved with patients who would be referred on to the hospices for end-of-life care.  I had to visit the hospices on occasions, and valued the services provided to local people and decided I would really like to work within palliative care at some point.

    “I married, then and took a career break in order to bring up my three children. In 2005 I returned to work having seen an opportunity to join the Pilgrims team as a health care assistant.  I applied, and was pleased to be accepted at Pilgrims Hospice, Thanet.

    It’s a very special service that we offer to the local community we live in

    Amanda     –     RGN Pilgrims Hospices

    “The hospice kindly arranged for me to study for my Return to Nursing Practice course at Christchurch University in Canterbury, helping me to re-qualify, which was wonderful and meant I could continue my career in nursing.”

    Having completed her course training, Amanda worked as a band five nurse on the Pilgrims Hospice Thanet ward, until one day she was asked to support the Community Team Palliative Specialist Nurses (PSN’s) by taking the incoming phone calls from patients and their families.

    The duty nurse is an office based role; it’s a key role between patients, families and other health professionals who come to the hospices.  Amanda said: “I call patients, check referrals and the support we’re offering, it’s quite an intense role, but really rewarding.”

    She added: “I was told it would be a few days….. but here I am 12 years later, having developed the role of the Duty Nurse and have really enjoyed the challenge.”

    I would certainly encourage nurses to consider end-of-life care

    Amanda    –     RGN Pilgrims Hospices

    We asked Amanda what made Pilgrims a special place to work for her, she told us: “It’s a very special service that we offer to the local community we live in.  It’s an honour to be a part of the team that is so highly praised and has a recognised reputation within the community.  Patients and families speak so highly of our care, it’s a true privilege to work here.

    “Some of our services, are not available elsewhere making Pilgrims Hospices a valuable asset within the community.”

    hen asked what she would say to anyone interested in working in end-of-life care Amanda said:

    “I would certainly encourage nurses to consider end-of-life care.  A career in specialist nursing is very interesting; like any career in medicine, it can be very intense and complex, but definitely very rewarding.”

    At the age of 65 Amanda hasn’t started planning for her retirement as yet, she told us: “I’m not too sure what I shall focus on when I have time to relax.  My daughter is marrying very soon,  therefore I’m busy with lots of lovely family plans to celebrate with her.  I will think about what comes next after the wedding in November.

    Each year Pilgrims supports thousands of local people coping with a life-limiting illness and their families. The charity offers a range of services: from end-of-life care given on its wards, to its Wellbeing Programme supporting people after they are diagnosed to live well and stay independent.






    Patsy Worthington: Dedication to Palliative Care Nursing

    Patsy Worthington, a compassionate and dedicated nurse, is retiring at the age of 70, bidding farewell to her colleagues and friends at Pilgrims Hospices this month. Her remarkable journey as a palliative specialist nurse at the Canterbury and Ashford Hospices has left an indelible mark on countless patients, their families, and friends. Before her nursing career, Patsy had a diverse background that included working as an air stewardess and owning her own hairdressing salon. However, she found nursing to be a truly rewarding and fulfilling career, especially in the context of her work with Pilgrims Hospices.

    Patsy’s journey into the healthcare field began when she trained as a healthcare assistant.  She started with no formal qualifications, working her way up from being a healthcare assistant to becoming a qualified nurse. Her decision to undertake her nurses training was influenced by her husband’s illness, which ignited her passion for nursing. She embarked on her nurses training in 2007 at the age of 50, inspired by the district nurses who supported her husband during his illness.

    With resolute determination, she pursued her nursing degree at Christchurch University Canterbury, committing herself to caring for the terminally ill. It took three years of hard work and study, and her husband’s unwavering support, to achieve her goal. Pilgrims Hospices also played a vital role in supporting her through this educational journey.

    Patsy’s pride in her profession is evident as she reflects on her role in providing comfort and solace to terminally ill patients. Her colleagues, Sarah Martins and Kate White, speak highly of her, acknowledging her understanding of the unique needs and concerns of patients and their families.

    “I’m so proud when people ask what I do for a living, and I can say I’m a nurse and I’m part of the Pilgrims Hospices care team.”

    Patsy      –     RGN Pilgrims Hospices 

    One of Patsy’s most significant contributions was her mentorship of nursing students who passed through Pilgrims Hospices. She shared her knowledge and wisdom, instilling in them the importance of caring for the person behind the illness. Her work in inspiring the next generation of nurses has been particularly special to her. Patsy offers a positive message for future nurses and students considering palliative care. She emphasises the rewarding nature of her career and the value she felt as a member of the Pilgrims Hospices team.

    Reflecting on her nursing career, she expresses her willingness to do it all again, despite the challenges that come with age. The COVID-19 pandemic was a particularly challenging period in her career. The absence of volunteers, restrictions on visitors, and the emotional toll it took on both patients and healthcare providers, left a deep impact to all it touched.

    I’m finishing my career with a really positive message for students and nurses who are in training, or thinking of working within palliative care.  I’ve had the most wonderful career, and can only say it has been truly rewarding. Pilgrims has always made me feel to be a valued member of the team, I’m very lucky to have enjoyed such a wonderful and rewarding career.

    Patsy    –   RGN Pilgrims Hospices

    As Patsy brings her nursing journey to a close, her legacy is immeasurable. The lives she has touched, the comfort she has provided, and the future nurses she has inspired will forever remember her dedication and compassion. Patsy’s legacy will be cherished by many.

    In her well-deserved retirement, Patsy, her husband, and their faithful dog Popeye, plan to enjoy the peaceful coastal village of Dymchurch. She intends to focus on gardening, walking her dog, and spending quality time with her sisters. She looks forward to celebrating her retirement with her colleagues, knowing that her relationships with them will endure.

    In conclusion, Patsy Worthington’s dedication to palliative care has left an indelible mark on the lives of countless patients, families, and future nurses. Her retirement marks the end of a beautiful chapter, but her legacy of compassion, dedication, and love will continue to inspire and guide others for years to come.

    Each year Pilgrims supports thousands of local people coping with a life-limiting illness and their families. The charity offers a range of services: from end-of-life care given on its wards, to its Wellbeing Programme supporting people after they are diagnosed to live well and stay independent.

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