Our Hampton hospice, Shooting Star House played host to 29 nursing students from Kingston and St George’s University London on Monday, for a day of insight and understanding about children’s hospices, and the work they do.

The day of learning was designed to give the students, currently in their 3rd Year, an opportunity to learn more about how children’s hospices support babies, children and young people, and their families, and how they fit into the wider world of nursing and health care. The aim being to offer the students more understanding about them and the services they provide.

The students were welcomed by Head of Care at Shooting Star House Geraldine Sheedy, Head of Practice Education and Quality Toni Menezes and Clinical Informatics Nurse Cath Grob who conducted the learning session. The students were also accompanied by Jayne Price, Professor of Children’s Nursing at Kingston University and St George’s University in London and who is a Trustee of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.

Splitting into two groups the students were taken on a guided tour of the hospice to see all the facilities first-hand, including the children’s bedrooms, hydrotherapy pool, bereavement suites and therapy rooms. There was opportunity to ask lots of questions during the tour, which our Head of Care, Geraldine was more than happy to answer.

Following the tour the groups attended an interactive and collaborative learning session where they found out more about the history of the hospice movement and where we are today. They learnt the extensive range of support and services provided by us as well as watching videos to hear the perspectives from a bereaved dad supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, as well as one of our care team who works as a Hospice at Home nurse.

The students were then asked to think about the particular needs of different groups including parents, siblings and extended family and friends, and create mind maps about what they thought a children’s hospice can provide in terms of support to these different groups. To help them the needs were split into groups covering physical, emotional, social and spiritual.

Toni Menezes, Head of Practice Education and Quality said of this particular exercise, “This is always a very enlightening task which produces some really insightful answers. It’s great to hear all the different thoughts and we often benefit from some new interesting ideas to think about and put into practice.”

At the end of the day the students were asked to feedback on post-it notes what they felt they had learnt and taken from the day.

The comments were all very positive with the majority highlighting that the homely, bright and calm feel and environment of the hospice was what they’d take away with them. Also noted was the 1:1 nurse care we provide when looking after a supported child; as well as the number and variety of services and support available to the entire family.

“How happy the hospice is and how homely and non-clinical it is!”
“The ‘energy’ of the hospice is bright and calm.”
“How calm, peaceful and relaxed it is.”
“Warm, inviting and colourful environment.”
“Beautiful, calm, peaceful setting with amazing facilities.”
“Makes me want to be a nurse here!”
“The hospices are really beneficial for comfort and emotional well-being of parents and siblings of the supported child.”
“I learnt how important hospices are, and how wonderful it is!”
“Allows time for the whole family and activities for everyone not just the supported child.”
“Able to support families through illness and life-limiting conditions, offering a home from home.”
“The variety of care therapies the hospice produces for young people and the families.”
“How committed the staff are to the children and how the care is 1:1.”
“I found it comforting to see the support and care that the hospices offers a range of families. We are very lucky to have these hospices.”

Find out more about the how we help, professional open daysstudent placements or how to make a referral to our service.

To get in touch email care@shootingstar.org.uk or call 01483 230960 (Guildford) or 020 8783 2000 (Hampton)