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Cherry Ewing

Cherry Ewing – WT Nightingales - Cherry Ewing - WT Nightingales

Western Trust Nightingale Challenge 2020 Staff Profile Cherry Ewing: Macmillan Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist at South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen
Tell me about yourself

I have been a Nurse for almost 12 years. I have worked in a variety of clinical areas such as surgical, haematology, oncology and Community Palliative Care. I joined the Western Trust Specialist Palliative Care Team in 2016, and worked in Altnagelvin Hospital for 3 years. I joined the Specialist Palliative Care Team at SWAH in 2019.

Why did you choose this job?

I wanted to work in Palliative Care since I was a Student Nurse. People think my job must be very sad all of the time, but it isn’t! I find it very rewarding to be able to help patients control their symptoms, and love getting to know them over a period of often years. For patients who I am with at the end of their life, it is a true privilege to be with them and their family at such a personal time.

I know it has been a particularly challenging couple of months for all health care workers due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can you explain what has changed in your role? What are the best and most challenging aspects of the job?

My clinical role as a Cancer Nurse Specialised has not changed over the course of Covid. As well as our Clinical work, however, we also have other responsibilities such as education. Over the course of the pandemic, we have been very busy delivering training on communication issues and symptom management to staff from all across the Trust, and we done this virtually in order to adhere to social distancing. Despite the occasional technical hitch, it mostly was very successful, and that has probably been one of our biggest learning curves in how we may work in the future.

This is the Year of the Nurse/Midwife and although many plans to celebrate has been significantly curtailed due to COVID – what makes you proud to be playing your role as a nurse/midwife?

I am very proud to be a Nurse, and although the celebrations for the year of the Nurse/ Midwife have been curtailed due to the pandemic, I feel that the admiration that the public now have for all healthcare staff has been very humbling. Nursing is an excellent profession, I have been very blessed with opportunities to continue to learn and further myself.

All health care staff have risen to the challenges faced by this global pandemic. Many traditional services have had to be stopped or done in a different way either via telephone or virtual clinics. Have you experienced this in your role and how do you think this has or hasn’t worked?

Yes, I think technology has been most helpful over the course of the pandemic. I am still seeing patients on a face to face level, but try to adhere to social distancing as best as I can, and always wear the appropriate PPE. However, our team meet bi-weekly on a virtual platform, and we also delivered multiple teaching sessions via this platform also, which was very successful. On this basis, I think technology has been great, but I am also hopeful that face to face contacts won’t be a thing of the past, as I think it is really important.

Looking forward to the next year or so – what would you like to see achieved in Health and Social Care?

Within the next year, I would like to see a vaccination developed for Covid-19, so that life can get back to some kind of normality. However, I am hopeful that all of the great teamwork displayed across all HSC sectors over the course of the pandemic is not lost, and that we continue to work well with one another.

How does your work help in the overall delivery of Health and Social Care services?

Improvement of Palliative Care has been one of the priorities in recent regional strategies, and we have been working hard as a Palliative Care Team to ensure that patients with life-limiting illnesses are receiving the best standards of care regardless of where they are in their home, hospital or hospice.

Please also include any particular personal messages of how you, your colleagues have supported each other during this global health crisis.

The Covid crisis has been very stressful for all of us as a team, but we have worked really well together, and picked each other up on the bad days. I have been very proud to be a part of a team that has been very innovative, displayed great leadership and been forward thinking from the beginning.

What advice would you give to the public on how they can help the NHS deal with the ongoing pandemic in the months ahead?

I for one am delighted that the lockdown restrictions are now easing, I am about to become an auntie for the first time, and the thought of seeing my new niece or nephew through the window has been breaking my heart. That being said, I hope that every remains vigilant, try to adhere to social distancing, wash their hands regularly, and remember that we have a duty to protect ourselves, our families and everyone around us by trying to stay apart as best we can.

Cherry is one of 20 nurses and midwives in the Western Trust who are taking part in the Nightingale Challenge. The Nightingale Challenge was launched by Nursing Now – a programme of the Burdett Trust for Nursing, to improve health globally in collaboration with the International Council of Nursing and the World Health Organisation. The Nightingale Challenge asks for every health employer to provide leadership and development training for a group of young nurses and midwives during 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.