EACH is 'perfect place to further my career' says clinical nurse specialist

Clinical nurse specialist at East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), Louise McLaughlin (pictured) b

Clinical nurse specialist at East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), Louise McLaughlin (pictured) believes she's had "amazing learning opportunities" whilst working for the organisation. - Credit: EACH

A clinical nurse specialist at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) believes she is working for a “gold standard organisation” and that it is the "perfect place to further my career".

35-year-old Louise McLaughlin has been in her role at EACH Milton hospice for just over six months, having started at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, before spending 14 years at Bedfordshire-based Keech Hospice Care. 

Now she is settled in, the mum-of-two believes EACH is the perfect place to progress her career further thanks to the wealth and knowledge within the team she works in. 

“I’ve always been interested in hospices and palliative care. It’s what I studied at university,” said Louise. 

“I spent my first year in the profession working on the oncology ward at Addenbrooke’s but I felt that it wasn’t quite right for me. 

“I moved to Keech Hospice Care and stayed there for 14 years, starting as a band five nurse and I worked my way up to a clinical nurse specialist.” 

Louise believes her job embedded her passion for palliative and end-of-life care and that’s when an opportunity arose at EACH. 

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“For me, it’s always been a gold standard organisation. It’s mainly nurse-led and empowers nurses like myself,” she said. 

“A lot of very qualified, knowledgeable people work here and because of that it’s absolutely perfect for me, because I wanted to come here and learn.” 

She added: “Every day I gain something new because the learning opportunities are amazing. 

“The leadership is very good and it’s evidence-based practice, with lots of support and opportunities. 

“It's the perfect place to further my career.” 

A typical day for Louise as a clinical nurse specialist starts with a tri-site and online planning meetings alongside colleagues from The Nook and The Treehouse. 

She may then be asked to review a child’s condition, either at the hospice, at home or within a hospital. 

Louise works with several East Anglia Children's Hospices (EACH) nurses.

Louise works with several East Anglia Children's Hospices (EACH) nurses. - Credit: EACH

“Our days are always varied and it’s a real team effort,” she said.

“We have planned visits and in terms of talking to parents, it’s a case of discussing next steps such as plans B and C.” 

Louise has discussions with a child’s family about hospice and palliative care to make it clear to them what can be offered and what their choices are for their loved one. 

She also writes symptom management plans for each child, discussing symptoms that might arise and how they can be treated. This may involve ordering drugs. 

“Sometimes this can involve making adjustments to medication, liaising with consultants and other team members to ensure the child is having the right drugs and right doses,” said Louise. 

“We may also need to discuss things with occupational therapists or liaise with wellbeing leads if parents or siblings need extra support.” 

In addition to covering shifts herself, Louise says another important part of her job is setting work up for the on-call staff as she needs to make sure that “everything’s documented”. 

She admits her job can be emotionally draining but says that when it comes to end of life, her and her colleagues just want to make a difference. 

“If a child has a particularly distressing symptom and is experiencing pain, we need to be armed with the right drugs,” said Louise. 

“If that ensures they have a pain-free death, it makes it easier to deal with. 

“There are obviously occasions when you can’t get on top of the symptoms though and that’s harder to come to terms with.” 

EACH training, which Louise believes has "amazing opportunities."

EACH training, which Louise believes has "amazing opportunities." - Credit: EACH

Despite its challenges, Louise greatly enjoys her job. She finds it satisfying and rewarding and is proud to be a part of Team EACH. 

She believes by doing her job, her and her team are filling a massive hole when it comes to palliative care services. 

“We’re needed – no-one else can do our job – and we’re the experts in palliative care,” said Louise. 

“Intensive care staff and those in oncology look at what we do. 

“There are so many cogs in a big wheel, from the job we all do to the fundraising and retail and the marketing and communications team. 

“There are lots of people involved and it really is great being part of it. I love working for EACH.” 

She added: “Without that team ethic that EACH has, we wouldn’t be able to offer the service we do.”