Nursing in the Scottish Highlands - Above and beyond

by Dawn Irons
Information Lead, Caring Services

Nadine Archibald, pictured far right

"I cover Sutherland and Caithness, which is an area bigger than Kent and Sussex, so I’m always going the extra mile – or 100.

It’s challenging, but very rewarding. It can be up to 100 miles to the nearest hospital from some areas and it would be so difficult for their families to be with them, so we provide a service to keep them at home. It really is a privilege.

We can be on the go from the second we walk through the door until the second we leave – nine hours later, which means wherever they live, we have saved the family that busy night, giving them the vital rest they need. I might be comforting someone with dementia through the small hours, when it’s dark and cold outside. I’m also there for the family - a lot of people have never experienced the dying process, and we can help them through what might occur and what happens afterwards.

In winter, it can easily take a couple of hours to get to a patient. It’s like a toboggan run in the snow. Herds of deer come down to lick the salt off the road – you can come round the corner and there’s a huge stag on the road, and he’s not moving for anyone."

Nadine was a winner in the Above and Beyond category of this year’s Marie Peacock Nursing Awards. The Awards were developed to celebrate the difference Marie Curie Nurses make to patients, families and carers. They are supported by the Peacock family, who have donated to Marie Curie for over 40 years.

This year’s winners were: (Above and Beyond Award) Nadine Archibald and Phyllis McKirdy, both Senior Healthcare Assistants for the Marie Curie Nursing Service in rural Scotland; (Clinical Award) Aisyah Scott, Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Marie Curie Hospice, Hampstead.