EMILY Dixon started working at St John's Hospice five years ago and has not looked back since.

"I worked on the ward for a year and then made the move to Hospice at Home because I could see there was a lot of patients out in the community who needed palliative care," she said. "I really was very interested in the community side of palliative care and there was a big push around community care."

Sister Dixon, 39, is now the community clinical lead for the Hospice at Home initiative - she said that it is like her 'baby'.

"It's the best job I have ever done," she said. "You build up bonds with the families and it's nice to know that you are helping somebody have a good death and helping those who are left behind."

Sister Dixon has been qualified as a nurse for the past 19 years, having worked as a theatre nurse and a midwife - however, it is the ability to offer personal care and work as part of a caring team that makes Hospice at Home stand out for her.

"The nurses are dedicated," she said. "They will go that extra mile. They would go off shift if they knew somebody needed them.

"It's not just a job, it's a vocation."

She described the work as 'emotionally intense' but that the team 'all support each other'.

"We let staff have their time to get out of their environment," she said. "We have reflection sessions and we promote peer support. You can have a cry if you need to."

Despite the taxing nature of the job, she said that her team are far from negative - in fact, it is a happy environment to work in and the feedback that they receive from families makes the difficult days worthwhile.

"We love coming to work, it's happy," she said. "We all live our lives to the full. It makes you realise to not wait for anything and I think that's what all of us are like in the team.

"We get lots of thank you letters and cards. Lots saying 'you are angels' or that it was nice to have you at the end of the phone or that they don't know what they would have done without us."

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