The Ward Manager of the specialist inpatient unit at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice near Keighley has retired after four decades in nursing.
Sue Taylor, who lives in East Morton, started her nursing career after leaving school and trained at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds – appearing in several episodes of the popular TV series ‘Jimmy’s’ which was filmed at the hospital.
After qualifying as a nurse in 1984, Sue worked on a busy surgical ward at the hospital, before moving to other roles on gynaecology and medical wards. She became a ward sister at the age of 25.
In 2001 Sue decided to pursue her interest of working in palliative care – which was sparked by volunteering at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds as a student – after being inspired by the changes she was seeing in the sector.
“The hospital employed their first palliative care Clinical Nurse Specialist and I was really interested in what she was doing and how she approached looking after someone as they were near the end of their life. She was very inspiring to me,” shares Sue.
Sue worked at St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds for over a decade, progressing to a Team Leader and then Ward Manager. In 2014, she took on the role of Ward Manager at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope, responsible for leading, developing and supporting staff on the hospice’s 15-bed inpatient unit.
Sue shares the most rewarding part of her job has been supporting care teams at the hospice. “What I enjoyed about the role was that I still had patient contact. I also enjoyed supporting the staff on the inpatient unit to ensure they were in the best place they could be – both personally and educationally – to deliver expert care to the patient and family.”
Under her leadership, the hospice’s inpatient unit implemented a number of changes to improve patient safety and ensure the provision of high-quality care. This included in-depth work on falls prevention, ensuring patients have a care plan that accounts for their individual needs, and changing from paper to electronic patient records which can easily be shared with other healthcare professionals.
After almost 20 years working in the palliative sector, Sue is keen to highlight the importance of end-of-life care. “People can struggle with the concept of a ‘good death’, because they can’t see how any death can be good. But we’re all human, and we are all going to die, so it’s making that experience the best it can be for the patient. Whether it’s relieving their symptoms or giving them the chance to do certain things which are important to them. People only die once and the memories are left with their family, so good palliative care makes a huge difference.”
Sarah Bottomley, Service Director at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, said: “When Sue came to Manorlands as Ward Manager she brought a wealth of experience in leading and managing a hospice ward. She has been influential throughout her time at the hospice, implementing changes to the service delivery that benefit the patients, their loved ones and staff. We will all miss having her around, but she deserves a well-earned rest after 40 years of caring for patients, families and staff.”
Reflecting on her time at the hospice, Sue said: “It has been a great privilege working alongside some awe-inspiring colleagues, both at the hospice and across Sue Ryder. I will miss the daily contact with such a group of exceptionally talented, courageous and kind individuals.
“I would like to thank all my colleagues on the inpatient unit for always doing such a fantastic job in caring for our patients. Their ability to adapt and change to any situation, especially during the pandemic, is truly amazing. The last eight years have gone quickly and this is down to their extraordinary passion and for doing the best job possible.”
For more information on Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, visit: sueryder.org/manorlands or for more information about pursuing a career in palliative care with Sue Ryder visit sueryder.org/palliativecareers.