We would like to pay tribute to a long standing, dedicated member of our Clinical Team Janice Johnston, who is retiring from Hospice at Home West Cumbria after many years of dedication and commitment within our home nursing team.
We’d like to thank Janice for allowing us to share her journey with Hospice at Home West Cumbria, and for her many years of care and compassion.
Born in Harrington and raised in Workington, Janice Johnston trained as a State Enrolled Nurse on leaving school. For the next two years she worked in the Castle Hospital in Whitehaven and the Old Workington Hospital before leaving nursing to have and raise her two children.
Volunteered by her son to help out in the local school, Janice worked as a dinner lady for six years, then in 1991 she left to volunteer for Hospice at Home West Cumbria (HHWC). Janice had always wanted to return to nursing and when she heard about the newly formed charity she knew this was what she wanted to do. A much loved aunt had had died alone and in distress and Janice saw how important it was to provide good end of life care and wanted to do her part to ensure that people who were dying received support and holistic nursing care.
With the blessing of the local priest, Janice volunteered with the Hospice Day Centre in both Whitehaven and Cockermouth for two years and was then encouraged to apply for a job as a Health Care Assistant. At this point, Janice couldn’t drive but was having lessons; so success in her application was the spur she needed to pass her test.
Janice has worked for twenty-seven years as a Health Care Assistant with HHWC, providing care and support to patients in their last weeks of life and much needed respite for families. Janice’s calm, reassuring presence and ability to assess patient needs are some of her many wonderful attributes and her honesty and sense of humour have been welcomed at our monthly nursing support group.
After illness and major surgery in 2018, Janice gave up working nights and focused on day respite. Janice had long understood that good end of life care often involved having difficult conversations with both patients and families and as she returned week after week to the same patients she built up a trusting relationship, so they felt able to talk to Janice about their wishes for end of life.
When asked about her work with HHWC, Janice said it had given her the satisfaction to be able to make a difference and to have the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people. Janice is also very grateful for the support she has received from her colleagues and feels that HHWC is very special in the care and support it gives to staff.
Janice is sad to leave HHWC but knows this is the right time to retire. She will certainly not be bored, for Janice’s many hobbies include painting, swimming and gardening and she plans to make her retirement family orientated.
Janice will be a big miss to HHWC and we would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her devoted twenty-seven years of service and to wish her a long and well-deserved retirement.