A quick chat with Alexa-Claire Legg, Bank Nurse at Weston Hospicecare.
Since 2015, Alexa-Claire has been working as a bank nurse at Weston Hospicecare, both in our Day Services Unit and In-Patient Unit at Jackson-Barstow House in Uphill.
‘Bank nurses do the same job that a registered nurse does but with added flexibility in scheduling,’ Alexa-Claire said. ‘I have the flexibility to slot nursing into my life and to be a flexible resource for the IPU and for Day Services.’
That flexibility is a highly valued trait, both for the nurse and for the hospice. Due to the nature of the work at the hospice, you never really know what the next week will hold, and having the flexibility to bring in additional members of staff helps us make sure that patients get the highly specialised, personalised support we’re proud to deliver.
Alexa-Claire shared her thoughts on being a bank nurse, which she said is a hugely rewarding career that offers its own set of highlights and challenges.
‘My favourite part of my job is being able to have a laugh with the patients about some things that family members and friends might gasp at. It’s nice to be able to ask those awkward, delving questions that need discussing but that others might not feel comfortable to ask,’ Alexa-Clare said. ‘But because we’re not in as regularly as the other nurses, we don’t always get to know the patients as well, as quickly. We do get to know them, but it just takes a little bit longer.’
Of course, working in a hospice is a job that often takes an emotional toll on staff. Alexa-Claire points out that nurses at Weston Hospicecare have a strong support network, and difficult times are greatly eased with a few laughs.
‘Nursing humour with the rest of the nurses helps, as does being able to talk over problems with the team and having Karen, our chaplain, and Helen, our doctor,’ she said. ‘I also tend to always carry the Palliative Care Handbook: A Good Practice Guide with me. It has all sorts of symptoms and non-medical things, too. Everyone in the team has a copy and we all work from it, which is nice.’
Without the support and generosity of the local community, Weston Hospicecare wouldn’t be able to provide all of our services for free. The hospice costs over £4 million to run each year, and just 20% of our funding costs are met by the NHS. Alexa-Claire supports the work of Weston Hospicecare not only by working in our Day Services and In-Patient Units but also by fundraising for us, too.
‘If you’re considering supporting Weston Hospicecare by making a donation, please give! I’m having a coffee morning, so even I fundraise, because I believe in the work we do,’ she said. ‘Your support is so important. Every donation — no matter how big or small — makes a big difference.’
Lastly, Alexa-Claire has a few words for anyone who feels they’d like to work for the hospice, perhaps even as a bank nurse: ‘Come and talk to us, and find out if it’s the sort of thing you’d like to do. We’re brilliant, so why wouldn’t you want to join us?!’
We’re always looking for more bank nurses to join our team. If you — or anyone you know — might be interested, please visit www.westonhospciecare.org.uk/careers or call 01934 423 939 for details. You can also stop by the hospice in Uphill for the In-Patient Unit’s 20th anniversary celebrations from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m., and there will be plenty of staff on hand to talk with.