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Sussex nurse praised for going extra mile in care of dying patient

A staff nurse has received national praise for the exemplary care she gave to an end of life care patient who was missing her pet dog.

Rosemary Campbell was looking after a woman living out her last days at Worthing Hospital, which is run by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

“She could enable the patient to feel safe and live out her last days contented and at peace”

Cathy Stone

The patient was desperately missing her dog Mutty, who had been placed in kennels but nobody knew where.

Ms Campbell decided to find the dog and began calling local kennels. She tracked down Mutty, took a photo, had it developed and framed, and returned the same day to give it to the patient.

Ms Campbell, who has worked on Buckingham Ward for 14 years, said: “I gave it to her and she had tears in her eyes, and she kept stroking the picture.

“She kept it on her bedside table until unfortunately she passed away, but at least she had her dog with her,” she added.

Rosemary Campbell

Ms Campbell’s actions touched colleagues who put her forward for the trust’s employee of the month, which she won. She was then nominated for and won NHS England’s “6Cs Story of the Month”, which is promoted across the health service and published online by Nursing Times.

Ms Campbell, 52, said: “It was part of my job, looking after the old lady and her feelings, and for them to recognise it is wonderful. I am really shocked to get an accolade from NHS England and the Nursing Times, but very, very proud.”

Cathy Stone, director of nursing and patient safety at Western Sussex Hospitals, said: “We are very proud of Rosemary’s actions.

“It was a unique response to the needs of the patient and, whilst she couldn’t save her life, she could enable the patient to feel safe and live out her last days contented and at peace,” she said. “Her story has touched many staff at the trust.”

Marie Batey, head of acute and older people at NHS England, added: “It reminds us of the quote that no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Readers' comments (7)

  • Another reason why the NHS is so valued and must be saved from Tory hands.

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  • This is not about the NHS but about compassion and caring which is the responsibility of each individual nurse.
    Well done to Rosemary and I hope you inspire others to just 'go the extra mile'....some of us have been TUPE'd into independent organisations striving to save tax payers' money from NHS waste, but that shouldn't make us less caring and forget why we became a nurse.

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  • Pussy

    It's absolutely nothing to do with the NHS or the Tories! Don't talk rubbish. It's to do with a caring nurse-end of.

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  • The compassion and care shown here is not just "nursing". This is about a compassionate person (forget their role) going above and beyond the call of their emloyment to meet the needs of another person they care about. Well done Rosemary, your actions continue to demonstrate to the world that people are not defined by their employment and roles. They are defined by the things they are prepared to do and the places they are prepared to go. Your kindness has touched not only the heart of the patient whose need you met, but all who read your story and see its value in how we as humans are most likely to act.

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  • We arranged a dog vsit on a sunny sunday afternoonfor a patient who was with us for a long time. Made her day, her familiys day and the dog was thrilled to see his missing family member. Still brings a smile to my face now, and nothing to do with being a nurse, just wanted to bring a bright spot to a long & in the end sucessful recovery.

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  • What a heart warming story that is. SUch a shame that the dog and her dying owner couldnt have been reunited for one last time. Would have brought tears to my eyes!

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  • I agree whole heartedly with Anonymous (14th Jul 2014) that is was a real shame that it couldn't have been organized for the lady and her dog to have seen each other one last time.
    This though does not diminish in any way what the nurse did do though.

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