"I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today."
Sally Taylor is very much the glass half full person, she feels that there is some good in everyone but we just have to look hard for it sometimes and that life should be as fun as possible in between the serious bits.
Being accepted into Nurse training at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in the late 70's meant that the county is where Sally has called home for nearly 40 years. After qualifying in 1980 Sally spent the next 20 years working in the NHS, Private sector and her last post was as a District Nurse in the Forest of Dean, which would actually shape the rest of her life. At the tender age of 40, Sally decided to take a different road in life and started a garden furniture and accessories business at a craft centre on the outskirts of The Forest. The next 9 years Sally was to learn a great deal about not only her own strengths and capabilities but how to remain resilient in the face of challenging times of recession. Sally takes great delight in seeing others succeed and began teaching and coaching business women in networking, public speaking and communication skills which she thoroughly enjoyed and developed confidence in many women entrepreneurs throughout the county.
However, once a nurse, always a nurse. Sally describes herself as the proverbial stick of rock, cut her in half and nurse is written all the way through. Sally joined Dean Forest Hospice, Great Oaks in 2010 as a very part time bank Heath Care assistant within in Day Hospice working 2 or 3 shifts a month. This soon increased to a permanent post, in addition to which Sally joined the Hospice at Home, Service on overnight visits. Her interest in this aspect of the hospice increased and she became an assistant to the Coordinator and taking on more responsibility. The turning point came after Sally successfully completed a return to practice course which enabled her re register again and use the skills she had developed over her long career. Sally is now the Community Service Lead and Coordinates Hospice at Home and Outreach service. Hospice at Home provides mainly over night support for carers looking after loved ones at home. Knowing that a nurse is with them at night reassures the family and enables them to rest. Outreach supports people again at home with the practicalities of normal life but maybe need signposting to other services and organisations or assistance from the volunteer team.
"I don't know what you can do to help", patients and their families often say when we first make contact with them. The fact is that we cannot change the situation that has led us to be involved but we can try to make the situation a little easier and manageable by supporting in the most appropriate way. Being guided by the needs of the individual means that we are going at the right pace for people to able to cope day to day and to keep life as normal as possible for them to the challenges of their disease or diagnosis. Over the years there has been a great deal of change by growth and development in the Hospice at Home Service but all the time responding to the ever changing need of the community.
It's not all work Sally says. Whilst on holiday with her sisters 10 years ago Sally "found" running as a way of exercise!!! However not actually being able to run for the bus at the time, it was a challenge, but within 8 months had signed up for the Rotary Forest of Dean Half Marathon and has gone on to do many more. Saturday mornings she can be found at Newent Parkrun, now having done over a hundred! Running is also a great way of relaxing she says and I do my best thinking and planning when I am out in the fresh air and there is a lot of that near May Hill where Sally lives with her husband Nick, 2 dogs, and numerous chickens!
"No two days are ever the same and I have met some very special people at what can only be the most challenging time of their life, which is why it's a huge privilege when they allow you to be part of it” Sally said.
Having attended the NAHH conference for over 8 years there came a light bulb moment 3 years ago when Sally felt she wanted to become more involved with the organization and applied to be a Trustee. The role has enabled her to play an active part in not only supporting the Chairpersons but also to ensure that the along with the other committee members and trustees, ensure that the NAHH supports and guides the entire member Hospices across the country.
In the recent month’s Sally has taken on the role of Vice Chair, big shoes to fill from Lesley Spencer she said but feels well supported by the other committee members.
If you are reading this for the first time, welcome, and consider how you could be part of this wonderful charity to support others like you in this unique area of very privileged care.