Rachel’s Story

My Journey at Wigan & Leigh Hospice

Rachel Shaw began her career at Salford Hospital where she progressed to become a Senior Nurse after 16 years. But in 2018, she took a chance and made the decision to join the Inpatient Unit team at Wigan & Leigh Hospice. Since then, she has progressed and has recently become Deputy IPU Manager. This is her story.


Taking a risk

“I thought my life would always keep me in Salford, but in 2018 I had family members stay at the hospice and after my visits it really stuck in my mind. I enjoyed the feel of the hospice and I had always had an interest in palliative care.

After my family member was cared for by the hospice, he was the one who sent me the job description for a Staff Nurse vacancy.

I was really worried at first because I was coming from a big teaching hospital where I was in a senior position as a band six and the role would mean taking a step backwards and starting over. But then I thought to myself that this is something I really wanted to do, and so I went for it.

Within six weeks of starting at the hospice, an opportunity came up to become a Senior Staff Nurse which was the position I held at Salford. At first, I had doubts thinking that there were other people who may be chosen as they had been there for longer. In the end, I thought I’d just go for it as I knew I had the skills and experience the role needed. Within a couple of months, I was promoted to Senior Staff Nurse. I had taken a chance when I left Salford to join the hospice and it had paid off.”

New opportunities

“Over time, I became involved in the management side and learned new skills. So, when the role of Deputy IPU Manager came up, I bit the bullet once again and despite some initial fears I applied and got the job.

There are so many opportunities to grow at the hospice, and the support and encouragement I was given helped me to gain my confidence back. I think it’s important for people to understand that your skills never leave you, even if you do change roles and go in a different direction.

One member of our team has gone on to become a Trainee Assistant Practitioner and others have become Hospice Nurse Specialists. We’ve also had nurses go into tissue viability and breast care, where they’ve become Breast Care Specialists. It goes to show that there are so many different routes and specialities you can follow whilst working here.

We also offer training opportunities, so if you have a specific interest or area of palliative care then you can learn more about it.”

Making a difference

“It’s exciting to see everyone’s progression, their development into other areas and how their ideas and hard work influence the way we do things to ensure that we are providing the highest quality of care. It doesn’t matter what level you are, your opinion and ideas matter. People will listen to your ideas; they see the value in your perspective and opinion.

I’ve found that by moving to a smaller organisation like the hospice, I’ve been able to really see the changes I’ve made. I’ve had the opportunity to set up training schemes for referrals and supported other nurses as they’ve developed their own ideas. One of our nurses is currently developing her idea of memory boxes for our patients’ and their loved ones, so they can make memories with their families to help them remember and cherish important moments.

Since I began working at the hospice, I have been supported throughout my development. I’ve been pushed to challenge myself and do things outside my comfort zone. As a team, we are keen to help one another grow and are eager to welcome new faces, and I cannot wait to see where the future takes us.”

Published May 2024


If you would like to join the Wigan & Leigh Hospice team, please see our current vacancies or contact HR@wlh.org.uk to express your interest.