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Jill’s been dedicated to nursing for over 30 years

11 May 2017

Health Care

Jill Abbot, from Leigh, has been a nurse for over 30 years. She originally tried lots of different jobs, such as working in insurance, but after a while those jobs became boring and tedious to her, so she decided to give nursing a ‘try’.

She said: "Nursing really suited me better and I enjoyed it. Also, you could never say nursing is boring or tedious."

Jill describes herself as having 'had a lot more birthdays than anyone else in my department' and has certainly seen a lot of changes in nursing throughout the years commenting that it is much more specialised than when she first qualified,  which has benefited patients.

She said: "We always cared for patients holistically but the job used to be more task orientated. Now the experience is patient led, it's about meeting needs, supporting patients and their families and promoting good general  health and wellbeing during treatment and after, into survivorship."

Chemotherapy is an outpatient service, so it's a very busy setting that sees lots of patients coming through the door on a daily basis. Jill explained a typical day in the unit and how the role is becoming increasingly technical: "It starts by meeting and greeting the patient and paying attention to their general good health. Their blood results are examined and we check for any chemotherapy side effects. Doses are checked and the chemotherapy is ordered and we ensure the patient has any necessary investigations and outpatient appointments arranged. Chemotherapy regimes are complicated and can include a variety of treatments from combination chemotherapy drugs to monoclonal antibodies and biological therapies. We try to promote confidence, letting the patients know that we understand their situation and we make them feel supported, safe and cared for whilst undergoing treatment."

And talking of patients, Jill has nothing but the utmost respect for them as she meets them on their journey, and that respect has clearly been reciprocated over the last three decades. She said: "In 30 years of working in the NHS the majority of patients that I've met have been really fantastic and really do appreciate what we do. In this department, patients come in and start asking how you are and what you are doing, it's quite a humbling thing. We get a huge amount of support from patients."

Jill sounds just as passionate about nursing, nurses and patient care as when she first started out in her career. She trained at Barking, Havering and Brentwood, and her roles in Chemotherapy for the last decade, and before that on a medical ward and then on intensive care at Southend Hospital.

Jill concluded: "I do enjoy sharing my knowledge and encouraging junior staff and they really appreciate it; we are like cogs in a great big wheel and all share our knowledge. Everyone is as valuable as the next person. And that is why I think Nurses' Day is important. I think it is very important to get people talking about nursing and promoting nursing."