40 Faces of hospice care | Meet Sue Carter, Ward Manager

12th May 2023

A lady, Sue Carter, who is the Ward Manager at the St Barnabas Hospice Inpatient Unit in Lincoln, photographed in black and white, against a black backdrop

Climbing on dustbins and appearing on the back of the number 56 bus from Lincoln to Skegness is all in a day’s work for Sue. She takes going above and beyond for the Hospice to great lengths!  

Sue has always been drawn to end-of-life care and when a community nursing role came up at the Hospice, she didn’t hesitate to apply. She got the job, and her hospital nursing experience stood her in good stead as a Hospice at Home Community Nurse. But it’s her heartfelt dedication to making the final weeks, days and moments matter for patients and their families that makes her care truly special. And going the extra mile comes naturally to her.

When a young patient wasn’t at home for Sue’s planned visit, Sue was slightly concerned. Usually, the front door was left unlocked for her, but not on that day. Sue knocked. She shouted through the letter box. Tapped on the window. Getting increasingly worried the lady had fallen or worse, Sue hot-footed it down the alleyway to the back of the terraced house. With the back gate locked, her only option was to climb on top of a dustbin and scramble over the fence to the back door – which was also locked! Several unreturned phone calls later, concerned Sue headed back to the office to check whether the patient had been readmitted to the Inpatient Unit. But before she had a chance, her phone rang. “Sorry Sue, but I felt so well today and the sun is shining, so I’m sat outside a café with my children and a hot chocolate!”. Needless to say, Sue was overjoyed and very relieved. If only the call was a few minutes earlier!

These days Sue’s working life is slightly less adventurous as Ward Manager, yet it’s a world away from her past ward experiences. Sue will often say that on those wards, if you didn’t quite get it right first time, you would often have a chance to do it again. But you only have one chance with end-of-life care, and it’s got to be as good as it can be.

That sentiment drives Sue every day. Whether she’s nursing a patient, supporting pharmacy students on the unit, or collaborating with peers to drive best practice within wider end-of-life care.

We’re sure helping the Hospice be the best it can be for patients, families and carers was in the back of her mind when she agreed to be the face of St Barnabas in a campaign that saw her portrait on the back of a bus! It was a picture Sue tired of seeing very quickly on her travels, but we think it embodied everything St Barnabas stands for because Sue lives and breathes the very best end-of-life care.

In her own words…

“It’s an absolute privilege to work with patients at the end of life and support their families within the Hospice. It’s something I wouldn’t want to change. It’s where I want to be.”

To see all 40 Faces and their stories, please visit: https://stbarnabashospice.co.uk/40faces

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