Mary Walding is the Lead Specialist Nurse for Palliative Care at OUH.
She works across both hospices (Katharine House and Sobell House) and, as part of her role, manage the community and hospital palliative care nursing teams.
Mary was one of those people at school who was lucky enough to know what she wanted to do; she always wanted to be a nurse.
Two years after qualifying Mary decided that she needed to be sure she cared well for her patients who were dying. She applied for a job in a hospice with the intention of getting a year’s experience then incorporating that into other work as she developed her career. Within two weeks Mary knew she had found ‘my’ place – the combination of physical, psychological, spiritual and family care felt the right thing to be doing and thirty years late she is still working within palliative care.
Mary says "It is a privilege to know that each day I have made a difference – to a patient or their family/friends, or now I am in management, to staff. Allowing people to die in a way that is right for them is my passion. My top tip is that saying out loud that someone is dying doesn’t cause it to happen, it is acknowledging the reality and it can’t make the situation any worse for that person. But it can allow the opportunity for them to say what they need to and to plan what they want. Death comes to us all and it is never too early to think about what might be important to you at that time."