Working as a Community Hospice Nurse Specialist (HNS)

Taking an inside look at life as a HNS at Wigan & Leigh Hospice

At Wigan & Leigh Hospice, we have a dedicated team of Community Nurses who care for and support patients and their families within the local community. We believe that it is important to offer patients the choice of their preferred place of care whether that be in the Hospice or in their own homes, so that they can be as comfortable as possible.

Many people are unaware of our Community Nurses, and they hard work they do day in and day out, to support patients with their physical, mental and psychological needs. To help cast a light on the team, our very own HNS Katie Longmate kindly shared her experience.

What is a typical day/week like for an HNS?

“No day is ever the same! You might plan your day one way, and then something comes in which changes everything. Some of what I do consists of regular visits to patients, new patient assessments, review visits to look at patients, symptom management as well as psychological management and support.”

“I am also one of the few nurse prescribers within the team, this allows me to save time when supporting and helping patients as I can offer specialist input where necessary. This can mean that specialist palliative care support and prescribing can save time without patients being seen by their GP’s in some cases.”


How long have you worked at Wigan & Leigh Hospice?

“I’ve worked at the hospice for over 10 years now. I started as an Associate Hospice Nurse Specialist (AHNS) and worked in that role for 6 years, before the opportunity came along to progress in my career and become an HNS in June 2017.”

“Some people have the wrong perception of the hospice, it’s not all about end of life. It’s also about helping people to manage their illnesses and improving their quality of life, so that they can continue with their day-to-day lives as much as possible. This is where symptom management comes in.”

“We work closely with local GP’s, district nurses, community matrons and the wider MDT (a mix of health and care professionals who come together to plan and coordinate people’s care), to ensure that patients receive the best possible care available.”

“We are also aiming to recommence satellite nurse led clinics, so patients that are more independent can be seen more within a timely manner nearer to where they live.“


What are your favourite parts of the job?

“The patient rapport, knowing that you can help patients and make sure their symptoms are managed and they are well supported in their own homes. Another favourite part of the job is being able to fulfil patient wishes, whether this being preferred place of care or other unique needs.”

Recently, Katie went above and beyond for one of her patients, a 49-year-old lady diagnosed with progressive cancer. Katie liaised with the prison services to arrange a visit with her patient and the patients’ brother, as it was the patients wish to be able to see her brother before her illness significantly progressed.

The care that our community nurses provide to the Wigan and Leigh area is invaluable and a huge part of the Hospice’s goal to provide accessible, high-quality services to those in need.

Find out more on our Community Nurses and the work they do.