DEALING with death, loss and bereavement is something many people experience in their lives – but for those working in the care and hospice industry it is an everyday occurence.
In a bid to make sure staff are taking care of themselves, Rowans Hospice hosted its first Growth and Resilience conference to allow an open discussion about feelings and help to develop skills to become their ‘better self’.
Grief and family educator Ted Bowman and psychologist Gemima Fitzgerald, who used to work for Rowans, were the two keynote speakers at the event.
Ted, from Minnesota, has been in the field for more than 40 years.
He said: ‘People are more open now then when I first started and I think that is really great. We want people to be more comfortable, confident and competent and to become their better self to make sure they can help people without it affecting them.’
Gemima shared anecdotes from her life including dealing with parents who were into the occult - which made for a unstable childhood – as well as an abusive marriage.
She said: ‘They still hurt but I don’t mind them hurting because they have made me into the person I am today. It took a long time and lots of baby steps to get me to where I am now but you have to train your brain to be kind to yourself and that makes you more resilient.
‘I think working in the care industry attracts people that are naturally compassionate but often put others before themselves but they need to take time for them and make sure they are growing.’
It comes as the Rowans Hospice celebrates 25 years and is aiming to raise £7.5m for its Silver Jubilee Appeal to transform its Purbrook centre.
Gemima, who still runs sessions at the hospice, added: ‘I think it is so exciting that the hospice is getting a new lease of life and it will mean so many more people can be helped.’
Rowans chief executive Ruth White said: ‘We wanted to do this conference to mark our 25 years and make sure our staff and others support those who need it and that they are supported themselves.’