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.