It’s good to talk

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE HOSPICE -

●● AS part of se­ries of pro­files of some of the staff work­ing at the East Cheshire Hos­pice, this week we meet a pro­fes­sional who be­lieves com­mu­ni­ca­tion and lis­ten­ing skills are vi­tal tools for ef­fec­tive healthcare. IN a world of emails and so­cial media, sim­ply talk­ing can be a route to suc­cess says East Cheshire Hos­pice se­nior nurse, Tracy Gra­hamWool­lard.

Tracy, 44 from Mac­cles­field, who was re­cently pro­moted to the role of ad­vanced nurse prac­ti­tioner (ANP), spends part of her job train­ing oth­ers – both in­side and out­side the hos­pice.

“Along with the clin­i­cal and prac­ti­cal symp­tom man­age­ment skills, some­times be­ing able to ar­tic­u­late and in­ter­pret pa­tient needs prop­erly is key” says Tracy. “Of­ten we have to com­mu­ni­cate in dif­fi­cult or dis­tress­ing sit­u­a­tions with pa­tients or rel­a­tives – that’s the na­ture of our job and be­ing able to con­vey in­for­ma­tion or sup­port to oth­ers is re­ally im­por­tant.”

Tracy is one of just two ANPs at the hos­pice and part of her role is to share her knowl­edge and ex­per­tise with other pro­fes­sion­als.

“I re­cently met with ju­nior doc­tors at Mac­cles­field Gen­eral’s A&E depart­ment ex­plain­ing more about the role and work of the hos­pice,” she says.

“They meet all sorts of pa­tients ev­ery day but I was able to share with them some in­for­ma­tion on how to man­age the symp­toms of pa­tients with life-lim­it­ing ill­nesses”.

As a nurse with more than 15 years ex­pe­ri­ence, Tracy trained as a pain spe­cial­ist and it’s these skills which she be­lieves help in her cur­rent role.

“Peo­ple think pain is just pain but it’s not that clear cut and can de­pend on a whole va­ri­ety of is­sues such as other med­i­cal or long-term con­di­tions,” she says.

And help­ing pa­tients with some skills to man­age their own pain, en­abling them to re­turn to their own homes, is one of the plus points of her job.

“It’s not al­ways the case, but some­times we are able to help pa­tients re­turn to their fam­i­lies when they’ve learned how to man­age their ill­nesses and that’s re­ally ful­fill­ing,” says Tracy. “Un­like a lot of peo­ple, I can leave my job at the end of a shift and think ‘well, that was a re­ward­ing day.’”

When not at work, Tracy spends her time watch­ing mo­tor rac­ing at Oul­ton Park or walk­ing her three large dogs, Buffy, Bob and Arthur.

Her ded­i­ca­tion goes way be­yond work­ing hours and last Satur­day Tracy threw her­self out of a plane to take part in one of the hos­pice’s most spec­tac­u­lar fundrais­ing events – a 10,000ft sky­dive. “I’m no dare­devil and am, in fact, pretty scared of heights, so it was quite a feat,” she says.

To sup­port Tracy visit www.just­giv­ing.com/ Tra­cyGW.

●● Tracy Graham-Wool­lard af­ter her para­chute jump

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