International Nurses Day 2020 - Meet Caitlin

12 May 2020
Meet Caitlin, a nurse on our care team

How long have you been nursing and what roles have you had in your career?

I qualified in 2011 as a children's nurse, but I have taken a different route to nursing at Martin House!

Initially, I worked as a school health staff nurse. I then worked as a staff nurse in a busy children's hospital in London. At this point, I wasn't sure nursing was for me. I couldn't spend as much time as I wanted to looking after children and families. So, after much thought, I let my nursing registration lapse, came home to Yorkshire and trained to be a teacher. I worked as a teacher for three years, before realising again that it wasn't the career that I had wanted. 
In Spring 2018, I saw a job advertised on the Martin House website for a care team member. I had always wondered about volunteering at Martin House, and I thought this might be the perfect combination of both nursing and teaching. It wasn't long before I realised that, at Martin House, I could be the nurse I had always wanted to be, caring for children, young people and their families in a holistic way, so I completed a return to nursing course, got my registration back and in May last year, I became a nurse at Martin House!
What motivated you to go into a nursing career?

I always knew I wanted to work with children, but wasn't sure in what capacity. I had an interest in science and how things worked, and took sciences at GCSE. When I was 15, I became acutely unwell with appendicitis and I think this was when my first thoughts of becoming a nurse started, having spent a week on a children's ward!

I was lucky enough to complete some work experience on the same children's ward when I was in the sixth form before deciding to study children's nursing at university.

What do you enjoy about your role as a nurse at Martin House?

I love working as a nurse at Martin House. Every day is different - you never know when you come into work what you are going to be doing. It could be any number of things, from going on a trip out, having a water fight or looking after a family after their child has died. The things that I believe are important in nursing are important at Martin House. We have time to build relationships with children, young people and families, so that the care that we give is individual and the best it possibly can be for the child and family.

How does being a nurse at Martin House differ to other nursing roles?

People have flinched when I have told them where I work. People hear the words ‘hospice for children and young people’ and they imagine the worst. And yes, we do have sad days, when we work alongside families who are going through the worst possible situations, but we have the privilege of trying to help make the lives of the children, young people and families just a little bit better, whether that be by taking a family out for a trip when they struggle to do this with a poorly child, giving a mum and dad chance to get a good night’s sleep, helping to control a child's symptoms or helping with memory making after a child has died.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to pursue a career in nursing?

My advice would be to not worry if your route is different from others, get as much experience as possible and sometimes you just have to find the right place that suits you as a nurse!