A job like no other: Marie Curie Nurses on why they love what they do

What is the best thing about caring for someone at the end of their life? And the hardest? We asked three of our nurses based at the Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle, to reflect on what makes their job so unique – over a well-earned afternoon tea provided by Gosforth Wyevale Garden Centre!

Marie Curie Nurse Nicola is smiling and drinking a cup of tea
Nurse Nicola enjoying a well-earned cuppa!

A rewarding job

Nicola Milton has been a nurse at the Newcastle hospice for 13 years. 

“I absolutely love my job, and wouldn’t swap it for anything. I love going to work.

“It can be a challenging job at times because you do become quite close with some of the patients – you end up spending more time with them than you do with your own family.

“There are many highlights working for Marie Curie. The best thing is to see everyone making the best of a bad situation. It is a really important time for families and patients alike so we are there to try and ensure that whatever they need us for, we are there to provide it.

“I always wanted to be a Marie Curie Nurse ever since my granddad was cared for by them. When I first applied I was unsuccessful, but when I tried again some years later and was told I’d been given the job, I broke down in tears. Even now, after 13 years working for the charity, I still find it hard to express how much the job means to me.

“If I had to rate it out of 10, I would give it 11!”

A positive environment

 To Nicola, the hospice is a happy place.

 “I wish more people would visit a hospice to see what it is really like. It is not all ‘doom and gloom’ but is actually a wonderful place to be where we try to create happy memories for people that will last forever. I’ve been so happy since I’ve been working here - never do I not look forward to going to work.”

Marie Curie Nurses Nicola and Wendy sit talking at a table with tiers of cake and sandwhiches
Marie Curie Nurses Nicola and Wendy enjoyed a good chat, over tea and cake

Making memories

Wendy Honey is ward manager of the in-patient unit at the Newcastle hospice.

“I love working at the hospice. Palliative care is a really special area of nursing for me. It can at times be very difficult but the work we do can have a huge impact for both patients and their families. 

 “There was once a man we were looking after whose granddaughter was due to be married. We knew he didn’t have much time left and he really wanted to go to the wedding. Thanks to everyone at the hospice pulling together, he was able to get to the wedding.

 “Being a Marie Curie Nurse is so important to me because as a nurse, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on people who have a terminal illness and create happy memories for them.”

Marie Curie Nurse Wendy Honey smiling at the afternoon tea
Nurse Wendy Honey enjoying her afternoon tea

From one team to another

Having started out as a Marie Curie volunteer in 1970, Richard Gamlin has been a member of the hospice’s rapid response team since 2011.

 “Our job is to do our best in ensuring that the family and the patient have all the support they need. It is a challenging time but as a team, all we want to do is make sure there is as little stress as possible.”

 Speaking with staff at the centre, Richard was impressed by their fundraising efforts.

 “We had a great few hours at the Gosforth Wyevale Garden Centre. From speaking with staff here it is clear that they and everyone at Wyevale Garden Centres have been working hard to raise a tremendous amount of money for Marie Curie, which will help us care for people living with a terminal illness and their families.”

Marie Curie Nurses Richard and Jean Gamlin are talking and sitting at a table with tea and cake
Marie Curie Nurses Richard and Jean Gamlin
Thank you to Wyevale Garden Centres and customers

 Wyevale Garden Centres has raised more than £1.7 million for Marie Curie through the help of its customers and centres across the UK. The partnership launched in 2014 under the retailer’s community initiative ‘Gardens for Good’, supporting causes where the garden or the act of gardening can bring benefits to people. Over the last three years, the garden centre retail group has hosted a series of in-store events and team challenges throughout the year to help fundraise and raise awareness for Marie Curie.

Find out more about our partnerships.