Meet Caz Martin, one of our amazing Ward Auxiliary Nurses at St Wilfrid’s. Caz has been part of our team for almost 12 years now, and we sat down for a chat to ask her about her time at St Wilfrid’s and why she loves her job as a hospice nurse.
Hi Caz, could you tell us how long have you been working at St Wilfrid’s?
This October I will have been at the Hospice for 12 years. I started as a member of bank staff with our Hospice at Home team, and after a couple of months I was asked If I wanted to see how the Ward worked. I thought it would be a good opportunity to see what their routine was, as when I was out visiting people at home and they were planning to become an inpatient, they’d often ask what it was like, so I thought if I went and did a shift or two I could give the community patients a real idea of what to expect.
What is your favourite part about working here?
Definitely the patient care. I have worked in the care sector since I was 15 (I’m 42 in February 2023) and over the years have worked in care homes, Hospitals and in the community. When I joined the Hospice, it was really nice to be able to spend the time with the patients, giving them the care they need and deserve.
What keeps you going as a Nurse?
As a nurse, I think you need to make sure you have a good work-life balance. Wherever I have worked I have always been very good at not taking my work home with me. Here at the Hospice, we have cared for two of my family members and a very good friend of mine so of course that’s a bit different. 2014 was probably the hardest year for me as I lost my grandad in the January and my good friend in the August, and if it wasn’t for the support of my wonderful colleagues it would have been a much more difficult time for me.
What’s the most fulfilling part of your job?
I really enjoy being able to build relationships with patients and relatives. Some patients come into the Hospice frightened of the ‘unknown’. People often think that the Hospice is a scary place that you come to to die. To be able to sit and talk to them and watch them relax and feel reassured is a great feeling.
What is your fondest memory of the Hospice?
I have had the privilege of caring for a lot of patients over my time here at St Wilf’s, but two patients will always stay with me for a very long time.
One of these patients laughed from the moment they arrived at the Hospice right until the end of their life. We played lots of games of scrabble and they would even make up their own words and score, their sense of humour was amazing. They also loved Dolly Parton and would always get me singing ‘Jolene’ with them before they would let me assist them with care. My friends can confirm that I cannot sing at all and it took me out of my comfort zone, but it’s all part of the job!
The second patient was very nervous about coming to the Hospice, and I was the first person they met as they came out of the ambulance. They were very closed off, so I left them for a little while to settle in. I checked in half an hour later and said “I’m sticking the kettle on can I tempt you?”. They looked at me and replied, “I’ll have coffee”.
We sat and chatted and I thought I’d drop into our chat about our jacuzzi bath and how popular it was, and I was asked who would be in the bathroom, I said only me and it wasn’t mentioned again. That afternoon I was asked if a bath was possible and it was a success. The following morning one of the CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) team who had looked after them in the community had asked what I had done. I thought I was in trouble and I explained the process and the CNS said “I have tried for this person to accept help and they wouldn’t, I can’t believe it, well done and thank you”. From then on, the patient and I got on well, and when they died, I worked with another auxiliary nurse and our chaplain and arranged a service for them.