Assistant Practitioner, Lisa Thompson, has had a remarkable journey since joining Pendleside Hospice in March 2020. Her story serves as an inspiration to anyone striving to achieve their dreams, even in the face of adversity.
Lisa, from Burnley, has achieved a significant milestone by earning a Foundation Degree in Science, in Health & Social Care (Assistant Practitioner), from UCLan. Her story, particularly in the context of Adult Learners Week, which takes place in September, stands as a testament to determination and perseverance.
Before starting at Pendleside Hospice, Lisa had been studying nursing at Salford University for a year, and although Lisa was keen to work as a healthcare professional, she decided to shift her focus towards a more rehabilitative role.
This change led her to an apprenticeship opportunity at the Hospice, which aligned more suitably with her aspirations and allowed for a more balanced work-life dynamic. This was important for Lisa, being a single parent at the time, to her 10-year-old son, Barney.
However, as Lisa took her first steps towards her new career, the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, Lisa remained steadfast in her commitment. Day services needed to close, and Lisa was placed within the inpatients unit, where she stayed for the 18 months that followed.
Lisa worked long hours and was required to work shifts, including weekends. As a result and in an act of selflessness, she made the difficult decision to have her son stay with his grandmother for 12 weeks, to ensure his safety, while she focused on her work at Pendleside. Throughout this time, Lisa found ways to connect with her son by visiting him at the park or chatting to him through the window.
Lisa had also not long met her partner, Tom, before the pandemic hit, and due to the change in restrictions, they both decided to move in together. While it was early in their relationship, Lisa states that it’s the best decision they ever made. They got to know each other more and found support in one another during what was an uneasy time for everyone.
In early 2021, Lisa became pregnant with her daughter, Ettie, and after giving birth in August, Lisa decided to take a year out of studies and work, to focus on her family.
Upon her return from maternity leave, Lisa approached her career path with renewed determination. Juggling university, parenting, and work, Lisa was finally able to work within the new Health, Wellbeing and Rehabilitation unit, and focus on becoming a qualified Assistant Practitioner.
Working closely with Physiotherapist Danielle Smith, Lisa found the guidance she needed to tackle her university modules and gain the experience she needed to pass her degree.
Lisa's line manager, Julia O'Neill, speaks highly of Lisa's sacrifices:
“Danielle and I are so proud of Lisa and how far she’s come. She has a genuine positive energy about her that staff and patients respond really well to. Lisa sees challenges as opportunities and has taken everything in her stride. We are very lucky to have Lisa within our team and the Hospice is so grateful for all she has contributed.”
Reflecting on her role, Lisa finds immense satisfaction in enhancing the quality of life for patients and service users. Lisa often gets asked what it's like to work at Pendleside:
"Enabling patients and service users to improve their quality of life is extremely rewarding. From something as simple as putting a piece of equipment in place so that they can enjoy a bath, to referring them for a wheelchair, so that they can enjoy time in the park - it all makes a massive difference to their physical and mental wellbeing."
Lisa goes above & beyond for our patients. Recently, on Ettie's second birthday, Lisa chose to accompany Pendleside inpatient, Jack Robinson, to his 70th party in Barnoldswick. Jack was so excited about his big night, but the odds of him being able to attend as time went on, were not in his favour. However, on the day of his party, Jack was able to go. Alongside colleague, Diane Herbert, and with a rucksack of medical equipment, both Lisa and Diane stayed with Jack for the night.
Lisa’s not afraid to get stuck in and give anything a go. She also joined the Pendleside team for this year's 15K Tough Mudder where over £1,000 was raised.
Lisa is a true team player and deserves to have the light shone on her achievements, both personally and academically, over the last three years.