To mark this year’s International Nurses Day on Friday, May 12, Southern Area Hospice are delighted to celebrate two of their longest serving Hospice Nurses.
Staff nurse Bernadette Duncan will celebrate 42 years of service in Southern Area Hospice in June of this year. In 1981 she joined the nursing staff long before the Hospice was even established. It was then an independent hospital known locally as St. John of Gods, run by the Sisters of St. John of God.
Prior to this Bernadette started her nursing career in Lagan Valley and Daisy Hill Hospital where she undertook her nurse training. On qualifying she then worked as a theatre nurse in Daisy Hill Hospital before joining the staff in St. John of Gods.
In 1989 the Hospice opened a six-bed unit to provide palliative and end of life care to the people of Newry and Mourne. Bernadette decided to continue her illustrious career as part of the Hospice nursing staff and has never regretted her decision.
Bernadette continues to nurse in the Inpatient unit providing patient centred palliative care to Hospice patients and their families.
When asked about her work, Bernadette said: “I continue to do it because I love it and I am privileged to work every single shift with an amazing team. I have had many happy and challenging years working in Hospice, many of which have been on night duty.
“We, the nurses, work together as a team and are always there for our patients but also there for each other through the good times and the sad times too.”
Louise Stewart is the Clinical Sister for the Inpatient Unit and has been a nurse for 35-years. On qualifying as a nurse, Louise worked in Musgrave Park Hospital, and after returning home to Newry, she continued her nursing career in a surgical unit in St. Johns House (now the Southern Area Hospice). Louise made the decision to remain at the new Hospice when it opened in 1989.
She feels that Hospice care has changed and developed over time. Southern Area Hospice Services now offers support to patients with MND, MS, COPD as well as Cancer and other life-limiting illness, offering much more than end of life care.
Louise said: “I am very privileged to be able to do a job I love and to offer the best possible care to people who are living with life-limiting illnesses. I feel like I can make a difference to patients and their families.”
This International Nurses Day, Southern Area Hospice Services are asking you to help celebrate the amazing work their nurses do by leaving a message of support and appreciation on their dedication page here.