Search

St Francis Hospice 30for30: ‘It has been a privilege’ says nursing chief on retirement

PUBLISHED: 14:07 16 March 2014

Saint Francis Hospice nurse Cecilia O'Keefe.

Saint Francis Hospice nurse Cecilia O'Keefe.

Archant

As we continue our 30for30 appeal, Cecilia O’keefe talks about her time at the hospice and says she couldn’t have chosen a better career.

How to donate

Donate online through our Just Giving page by following the link below or contact the hospice fundraising team on 01708 771407.

Alternatively you could send a cheque made payable to Saint Francis Hospice: Saint Francis Hospice, The Hall, Havering-atte-Bower, RM4 1QH.

Please write “Recorder/Post appeal” on the back.

After 16 years at the hospice and a decade in its day therapy unit, Cecilia O’Keefe made the bittersweet decision to hang up her nurse’s uniform and retire.

As the unit’s nurse manager, she was responsible for seven members of staff and about 80 patients, but that didn’t get in the way of Cecilia loving the job.

“I couldn’t have chosen a better career,” she said. “I’ve loved every minute of it. Meeting so many wonderful people has been a privilege and an honour.

“One of my favourite parts of the job is watching the transformation in patients after they have been here a while.

“They come to us so low but it’s such a pleasure after a few weeks with our counsellors, psychologists, physiotherapists and chaplains to watch them blossom like a flower. It can change their outlook and lighten their mood mixing with other people in the same situation as them.

“If somebody has a life-limiting illness we may not be able to cure it but we can help them to live again,” she added.

Cecilia started at the in-patient ward in 1998 but has spent the majority of her years at Saint Francis in the newly named day therapy unit.

The day therapy service is an integral part of the hospice’s work in the community. It enables patients who do not require an inpatient unit bed to use the hospice and its multi-professional team for specialist advice and support.

Over the last year the service has been enhanced to reflect the changing needs of patients who have told the hospice they would like to use its services for a short period without disrupting their normal daily life.

Cecilia talks highly of the hospice’s founder, Joan Matthews, and considers herself lucky to have worked with such a “passionate and inspirational” woman.

After leaving the hospice she said she will miss the supportive environment and will be especially sad to say goodbye to colleagues, volunteers and patients. “I’ll always keep in contact with the hospice,” Cecilia added.

“I’m not sure how exactly, yet – but I know I will always want to stay involved and to help as much as I can.”

Related articles

Latest Romford Stories

An invitation is being extended to residents across the borough to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at a special service.

Hammers centre half James Collins says he has heard nothing from the club about a new contract

10:00

The latest news from the Thomas McCurtains GAA club

14:38

A man who is wanted in connection with nine burglaries was arrested in a police raid after he jumped from an upstairs window.

08:54

Raiders completed a four-point weekend with success in south London on Sunday to maintain their hold on fourth place in the table.

A woman has been taken to hospital after a three-car pile up on the A127 in Upminster this morning (Monday, January 22).

Two 20-year-olds from Chadwell Heath and Goodmayes have been charged in connection with a robbery in Southend on Saturday (January 20).

A 60s-themed show celebrating everything that is British will be taking centre stage at a Romford theatre.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Window and conservatory specialist Ken Rhodes talks about the possibilities for brightening up your home for the new year, and with their home improvement finance deals it’s possible for everyone to make some changes

Lisa and Jennie are cousins who grew up in the borough. Their grandmother, ‘Nanny Fish’ was a huge part of their lives, and while she had dementia and increasing needs, she really benefited from having care in her nephew’s loving home. This experience was the inspiration for Lisa and Jennie to set-up their own home care service.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now