I first became aware of Haven House as a student nurse and like many nurses starting their career I initially assumed a children’s hospice would not be the place for me. Being told my placement was at a hospice really scared me. I thought to myself, ‘can I really do this, won’t I find it too depressing?’

However, when I started my placement, the warmth and support from the nurses and healthcare support workers made me immediately want to join the Care team. I realised that a children’s hospice is all about providing wonderful care to children and their families and creating special memories.

When I saw the advert for nurses on the Haven House website, I applied straight away knowing that I was coming to a place where I can learn from colleagues about how to deliver an exceptional service and be the nurse that I always wanted to be.

As a nurse at Haven House my role consists of caring for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. This includes helping them with sensory play, reading, singing, taking them out in our beautiful grounds and providing every opportunity for them to enjoy life.

Being a children’s nurse is challenging as it requires a high level of skill, but rewarding when you see the difference you make to children and their families every single day. I lead on medicine management which is a very exciting role as it gives me the opportunity to liaise with parents and other health care professionals involved in the care of the child.

Many of our children require so many different types of medicines which have to be delivered at various times of the day and night. I’m always looking at ways to improve our medicine management and make it easier for families.

We recently ran a pilot project for home dispensed medication. Parents gave lots of positive feedback and they really appreciated getting extra help from our nurses with their child. Greater access to families means we can be more efficient with medication, reduce the risk of errors and give parents more support when they attend the pharmacy clinic.

I have also worked with pharmacists to create a medication chart to effectively log and monitor the large number of medications which many of our children require. Ultimately, medication is the thing which keeps our children alive and to work with families to improve the delivery of such a vital element of care is a huge privilege.  

Find out more about what’s like to be a nurse at Haven House by reading Aisling’s blog.