Meet our nurses
What’s it like being a Marie Curie Nurse? Sometimes emotional, often uplifting – and always a privilege.
Helping people with a terminal illness spend their final days in their own homes with their families is a vital service that means a lot to all our nurses.
Take a look at these videos starring Catherine, Franky and Lorna, three of our nurses, talking about what their jobs are like, what they enjoy about them and why their role is so important.
Woman 1: If we can provide support, you know, to relieve pain, make somebody comfortable in their own home and also provide the support for somebody to be themselves and not have to wear a mask at that time, I think is really a relief for people.
Woman 2: We're looking after not just the patient, but the caregiver as well. They are often very devoted to looking after their loved one, but they can't do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And if we weren't there to help them, they would become exhausted, and we'd finish up with two patients.
Woman 3: Marie Curie Nursing is so important because when someone's dying, there's only one chance to get better, thrive for them and for their family. And we know that most people want to have a peaceful, dignified death in their own home, and we can help them achieve that.
Woman 1: We've been around for 60 years, and we know what we're talking about. A staff that work, I mean, it's a huge organization with a tremendous amount of knowledge, and yeah, we're experts in giving care to people with terminal illness.
Woman 3: I know that where I'm now, I'll make a difference. I'll be able to explain to them what's going on. I'll be able to guide them through and support them in whatever way I can, so on my way to work, I'm already thinking about how am I best going to serve this family.
Woman 2: The fact that Marie Curie nurses are with a patient for up to nine hours can often give us the opportunity to see things that happen with a patient over a period of time. A patient might have a symptom that isn't obvious to a nurse visiting for a short time. So if that is the case, we can take that information to the district nurse, who can perhaps put in a piece of equipment that might be required or a new medication that might be required.
Woman 1: I think a Marie Curie nurse has to be someone who genuinely cares and loves the job they do. You wouldn't do this job unless you really enjoyed it, which is too difficult to do it just as a day's work.
Woman 2: I find it a somewhat special kind of nursing I've ever done, and it's a tremendous privilege to be able to care to people at the end of their life, give them a choice about how and where they spend their final days.
I love the early morning on the night shift when I draw back the curtains in someone's house, and I can see the view from their window, and I turn around. That can often be the most difficult time for a patient who wakes up and he's anxious about facing the day, and we can just talk quietly and spend time. I know that I can make them comfortable and ready to help prepare them to be with their family and face the day ahead of them.
Woman 1: My favorite part of the day is knowing that I've done even something small to make that patient's life a little bit easier.
Woman 3: I've looked after a lady who had been married to her husband for over 60 years, and he had been looking after her. They had quite a family support network, but he felt that ... he actually said to me, really got to me, "I've never confided in anybody ever in the way I've confided with you." And as I left the door and turned around to say goodbye, he said, "I feel so much more alive."
Franky: Hi, my name's Franky Henley, and I am a Senior Healthcare Assistant for Marie Curie. I've worked for the charity for two years, and I cover the eastern coastal Kent area.
Lauren: My name's Lauren McGarry. I'm a registered nurse working in the community in Lanarkshire, Scotland. I've been with Marie Curie for 10 years now.
Catherine: Hi, I'm Catherine LeRoy. I'm a registered Marie Curie nurse, and I've been with the charity for over 10 years. I work in the Bristol area.
The most rewarding part of being a Marie Curie Nurse is working with different families each time and always being able to help them. And guide them and steer them through what's probably the most difficult situation a family can face, which is when a loved one is dying.
Lauren: Well, you know, one of the most frequently asked questions is, "How do you do the job you do? Is it not sad and depressing?" And I have to say, "Yes, it can be sad." We've all shed tears with patients but for every sadness we experience, we're usually blessed with a joy that compensates. And that joy might be something as simple as a patient saying, "I feel better now." Or a relative giving us a hug at the end of a shift and saying, "Thank you. We couldn't have managed without you." That makes my job so worthwhile.
Franky: I'm motivated to do my work because I feel it's vitally important that people have a choice to be where they want to be when they're dying. It's the most profound time in their life, and I want to be there to help with that in whatever way that I can.
Lauren: Most people would choose not to die in a hospital. So if I can be there to make a journey easier for a patient who wants to be at home, then that's the job I do.
Franky: It's a two way thing. It's not just them getting to know me, but it's me getting to know them as well. And to feel like I have come away from a shift helping somebody feel safe in my company. And feel safe at the particular time in their life is a beautiful thing to be doing with my time.