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Jennifer Butler MSc Clinical Leadership in Cancer, Palliative and End of Life Care, 2016

Clinical Nurse Specialist in a Hospice

Jennifer Butler's Photo

Hi, I'm Jennifer Butler and I studied Clinical Leadership in Cancer, Palliative and End of Life Care at the University of Southampton.

I always felt that the University of Southampton was a very innovative place to study; staff are very approachable and friendly and I always felt that we were ‘peers’.

What made you select the University of Southampton for your postgraduate study?

The Hospice where I work has close links with the University and as the University is only half an hour drive from where I live, the commute was a natural choice, whilst raising a family.

What is Southampton like as a place to study?

I always felt that Southampton was a very innovative place to study. Staff are very approachable and friendly and I felt that we were all ‘peers’. It was also very interesting to hear about all the different research that Southampton is currently undertaking. I found it very inspirational to be taught by staff that have worked in similar areas to me and this was an invaluable source of knowledge.

What did you enjoy about the course?

I enjoyed meeting people who work in similar roles to me and with a passion for their work in Palliative and End of Life Care. Not only was it helpful to make these close links for the course, but also professionally too. There were also some great opportunities to listen to some guest lectures, that otherwise would not have had access to.

What is your current profession?

I am a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Palliative and End of Life Care at a Hospice. I have a case load that reside in care homes and my role includes education and support for the care home staff. I also visit our local community hospital once a week to review our patients that are there.

What have been the highlights of your career to date?

Working with some great and dedicated colleagues and meeting some very inspirational and brave patients and their families, being quite autonomous in my role (which originally was ‘new’) and developing this within my area and attending some interesting study days and conferences about palliative and end of life care education. Giving talks at some conferences about facilitating end of life care within care homes have also been a highlight.

Do you have any plans for you future career progression?

I have recently been promoted and looking forward to the development and responsibilities that this entails.

What tips would you give to current students looking to start a career in your sector? What could they be doing now to make themselves more employable when they graduate?

Gaining experience within Palliative and End of Life Care, where you can. Read as much as you can on current research but also some national guidelines/policies. Become familiar with some organisations such as Hospice UK, national association of palliative care, dying matters. Possibly do some voluntary work within a hospice environment as well.

What advice would you give to a student starting their postgraduate study at Southampton?

Enjoy! Be organised and ask as many question as you need to, as the staff will be more than happy to help and support you.

What are you most proud of?

Running a successful End of Life Care link nurse group with local homes, developing my care home facilitation role ‘from scratch’ and finally, obtaining my Master’s degree whilst working and raising a family!

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