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A varied career in care

Written by on 18th April 2021

Dr Zoe Salmon held the role of Speciality Doctor in Palliative Medicine at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice after a varied career as a Doctor in the Royal Air Force, in Occupational Therapy at Gloucester, Cheltenham and Swindon hospitals and at the Honda car factory in Swindon.As she retires, Dr Salmon shares some insight into what it is like working in palliative care with Sue Ryder. “The best part has to be the staff I have worked with,” she said. “Every time you tell someone you work at a hospice the reaction is ‘Oh that must be so dismal, depressing and upsetting’. It might sound bizarre, but it is the absolute opposite. It is the one of the loveliest, most life affirming and fun places to work.

“I have been inspired daily by the colleagues I work with and the courage I have seen from patients and their relatives, who are dealing with such difficult situations.

“Hospices are not sad places to work at all, although that is what people perceive it to be. The hospice world is a different world. It runs in parallel to world outside and people don’t know about it until they step into it.”

Working together for patients

Dr Salmon said being part of an expert team is what has helped make her job so rewarding. “Everyone is working to the same aim and you all work together. It doesn’t matter where you work or what your role is, we all work to one aim and that is to make our patients feel safe and secure.”

“We can’t do that without each other. It is one huge, massive team effort. Everyone is a cog in a big wheel.”

Zoe said that Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice is a special place to work, too. “The building looks magnificent when you drive up the main driveway in spring. Daffodils line the drive and there is so much wildlife outside. Patients love reporting back on whether they have seen foxes and deer.”

But, that’s not the only reason why it is so special. “People don’t realise we are so specialist. People don’t realise we are the only specialist palliative care inpatient unit in the whole of Gloucestershire.”

“We care for people aged 18 and over with all types of medical conditions too, and I don’t think people realise that.”

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