It’s good to talk
●● 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