Today we meet Julia Stuurman, a home care sister who has served the community and Helderberg hospice for the past 15 years.
What is a home care sister you might ask? They are the ones who go out to patient’s homes and manage their care in the comfort of their own home providing palliative care.Julia’s background is one that is very thorough. She trained at Groote Schuur Hospital and spent a further eight years as a specialised psychiatric nurse.
Sister Julia resembles a sister with such love and passion around her job and even boasted to say that: “in the past 15 years I have not had one day where I felt like I didn’t want to go and work”. That just shows that surrounding such a job as much as surrounding the practise of ‘palliative care’ there are many misconceptions that need to be addressed and like sister Julia said it really is not a job as bad as people assume it to be.
She wakes up with a smile on her face, always positive for work and about work and that is what keeps her going and despite the everyday challenges of being a home care sister (traffic, bad weather, fierce dogs, limited resources in the community) Julia finds her job utterly satisfying because she is able to help patients achieve a better quality of life through the management of their pain and any distressing symptoms.
I then asked Sister Julia how she came about knowing the practise of palliative care and she responded by saying that it was while she worked in the field of nursing as a community sister that she got to know more about the special care of hospice and specifically Helderberg Hospice, and decided that Palliative care was where her heart really lays. “I knew this is where I wanted to be and I haven’t regretted it once,” said Julia.
At the end of a long working day Julia is kept busy with a family of three children but still finds time to read, walk, visit her extended family and even spend time on the beach. We as an association appreciate people like Julia because of her utmost dedication, love and care shown to her patients and we salute her.
If you need any further assistance surrounding hospice and more specially Helderberg hospice feel free to visit their website: www.helderberghospice.org.za
If you would like to know more about hospice and palliative care in general visit the Hospice Palliative Care Associations website: www.hpca.co.za