Jo, palliative care nurse specialist
Jo Merritt knew early on in her nursing career that she wanted to specialise in palliative care. She was drawn to the role because of the way it looks at all aspects of a patient’s life, not just their condition.
Now Jo is one of four palliative care nurse specialists at Milton Keynes Hospital. She is based on the Macmillan unit, but can be found in many areas of the hospital.
“We follow the patient, not the ward,” says Jo. “If a patient is admitted to a ward, we will visit them there, if they need to attend a clinic or come into the unit for symptom control, we’re there to support them if needs be.”
Palliative care nurses are clinical nurse specialists who care for people with advanced illness. They are concerned with caring for the patient’s whole needs – not just physical. Jo is one of a tight-knit team which includes colleagues Emma Goodship, Anna Moore, and Wendy Black, They all work closely with Haley Coetzee, our palliative care discharge nurse, who does her utmost to try and ensure that patients spend their final days in their preferred place. They all liaise extensively with specialty doctor Ben Dietsch and consultant Dr Jane Wale.