Read about what it's like to work at Prospect Hospice

Ruth Alderton, trainee advanced nurse practitioner

“I love working at Prospect Hospice. It’s a great place and we can make such a difference.”


Ruth Alderton loves her job at Prospect Hospice helping patients make the most of every day.

She is a highly experienced clinical nurse specialist and a trainee advanced nurse practitioner. She enjoys getting to know patients and working with them to help them to live well with the time they have left and that their wishes are met for them to have a good death.

She said: “What drew me to palliative care was the person-centred approach and the time we’re able to spend with patients. I love talking to patients and getting to know them as people.

“You find out what they have been through and what they want at that stage of their life. Every patient is different and the care and support we provide at Prospect Hospice is personalised to their needs.

“We ask what matters to them and we support them through their illness or condition so they can have the best possible quality of life. We also support the loved ones of patients – the people who are important to them – so they are not alone.”

She said the teams at the hospice – nursing staff, therapists, doctors, family support and volunteers – work very closely together, bringing their expertise to benefit patients and their loved ones.

Ruth, of Royal Wootton Bassett, works both in the community seeing patients and treating them in their own homes and on the hospice’s inpatient unit.

She said: “I love the continuity of care I’m able to give to patients throughout their journey with the hospice and patients and their loved ones really appreciate seeing the same nurse. Often people think every patient who comes to the hospice does so to die, but a lot of patients come in to receive help to get their symptoms under control or to manage pain and they return home. We’re able to improve their quality of life hugely.

“During my time working for the hospice we have arranged weddings for patients, enabled much loved pets to visit them and supported people with no permanent address to have their end of life wishes fulfilled.

“It’s such a privilege to care for and support patients at the end of their lives and because we have been with them throughout, our hope is that their loved ones can look back at the experience of their death as positively as possible.”

Ruth, who was born in Devizes, qualified as a nurse in 2001 after completing her nurse training in Nottingham. She moved to Swindon soon afterwards and worked at Princess Margaret Hospital and then at Great Western Hospital.  She worked on medical wards for a number of years before specialising in intensive care for eight years.

In 2012 she joined Prospect Hospice’s palliative care team based at Great Western Hospital and became a palliative nurse specialist. For the last two years of her time there she was the team leader and achieved her independent prescribing qualification, enabling her to prescribe medications for patients and therefore ensuring timely access to appropriate medicines for symptoms such as pain and breathlessness.

New role

Ruth moved to the hospice in September 2020 when she was appointed trainee advanced nurse practitioner in end of life and palliative care – the first such role created at the hospice.

In her role Ruth has a significant degree of autonomy in her daily work.  She manages a small caseload of community patients and is able to plan her own workload, ensuring that patients’ changing needs are responded to flexibly and appropriately.  She has advanced clinical skills which includes prescribing medicines, such as for pain relief for patients, and she also delivers training sessions on end of life care to nurses on the inpatient unit, volunteers and junior doctors.

Ruth is also involved in the development of a new project of clinical support for Prospect Hospice staff, to help them cope with the emotional demands of working with people who are approaching the end of their lives.  This ongoing investment in staff well-being aims to ensure they feel valued and nurtured in their clinical roles.

The hospice supports Ruth in her studies at the University of the West of England and she hopes to complete her Masters degree in advanced clinical practice in 2023.

Carolyn Bell, director of patient services at Prospect Hospice, said: “Ruth is a highly valued member of the Prospect team and it’s fantastic that in recognition of her higher level of nursing experience, knowledge and skills that she is now on a career pathway to be an advanced nurse practitioner. Her role plays an important part in our responsiveness to patient needs in the community and in the inpatient unit. Ruth is a great role model – working alongside nurses and the teaching element of her role both play a key part in our development programme for Prospect nurses.”

The hospice is rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), with particular outstanding recognition for its care and leadership and it reported that staff were proud to work for the hospice. Ruth agrees that it is a great place to work with an inclusive culture.

She said: “I love working at Prospect Hospice, it’s so fulfilling. Everyone is supportive and friendly. It’s a nurturing environment and there are opportunities for career progression. I’m very grateful to the hospice for supporting and investing in me to develop my clinical and leadership skills.”


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