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Home > Advent Calendar 2017 > Day 2 – Di Hollidge

Day 2 – Di Hollidge

What do you do for the Trust?

I am the end of life lead for the Trust. I work with teams including the specialist palliative care team, the chaplaincy, the bereavement office, the ward teams and the outreach team to develop and improve the service we provide to patients and their families at the end of their life.

Staff in the trust work incredibly hard and provide amazing care to dying patients and their friends and families, and my role is to support this and develop systems to make provision of care as patient focused as possible – providing the right care at the right time.

Why did you join the Trust?

I have worked in cardiology for over 15 years, most recently as the matron in the cardiac cath labs at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. I have taught ALS (advanced life support) for many years and I joined the outreach and resuscitation team at NDHT in January 2015. I have a huge amount of respect for the staff at NDDH and I feel valued and part of the hospital team. I have always felt happier working in a small trust and the team here are great. At times when we have faced incredibly difficult situations – the whole hospital has pulled together and this is unique and something we should be proud of.

What makes you proud of your job?

I am very proud to work with incredible staff who have passion and empathy when caring for patients. My roles have taught me the importance of teamwork and sharing ideas.

What is your highlight of 2017?

Professionally, my highlight is being involved with the Living Well project, where I have met like-minded professionals from around the country with the aspiration to improve the care we provide to dying patients. As part of the project we have looked at all forms of patient feedback, including shadowing, surveys, audits and staff feedback, and from this we are developing an ‘End of Life Toolkit’ app, which will collate all the information staff need to access to allow them to provide the best level of care possible to dying patients.

Personally, my highlight of 2017 was seeing the Foo Fighters on the pyramid stage at Glastonbury. I never thought seeing Lionel Richie on the same stage a few years ago could be beaten, but I was wrong – Dave Grohl and his band were completely amazing, topping off an incredible festival where I didn’t wear my wellingtons at all! The first time since 1992 that I haven’t worn wellies to Glastonbury Festival.

What do you like the most about living in the South West?

My husband and I run a cattery and we love living in the rural outskirts of Exeter. I grew up in Torquay but did my nurse training in London and lived in and around London until five years ago. We have two border terriers, Elvis and Ruby, and love taking them to the beach at Exmouth and going for long walks. I enjoy running (albeit not very fast) and we have Killerton on our doorstep where I am one of the run directors of their parkrun. I’ve met so many wonderful friends through parkrun and our running club.

Favourite thing about the festive season?

EVERYTHING!! I completely adore Christmas and start a countdown 99 days before. Cosy evenings, Strictly on telly, I’m a Celebrity countdown, good food, crisp walks, films that still make me cry even though I have seen them a thousand times. Hearing the first Christmas song on the radio, Jona Lewie, the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, Slade… Dogs in Christmas jumpers, family get-togethers, laughter and fun – and yet I still leave Christmas shopping until the very last minute every year, I never learn.

Favourite book/film?

Spending so much time in the car commuting, lately I have started to listen to Audible and Eddie Izzard narrated his autobiography, which, as a *slow* long distance runner, I found inspirational. His view on achievement is so in line with mine – if you believe you can do it, you could achieve it. If you don’t believe it, you never will.

As for my favourite film, it has to be Up. Guaranteed to make me cry every time, the sentiment rings close to my heart and my love for Mr Fredricksen runs deep. I can’t be friends with anyone that doesn’t cry in the first 15 minutes of Up – I don’t need that negativity in my life.

Will you be making a New Year’s resolution? If so, what?

I won’t be – it’s just another day. I will be hopefully running a parkrun double on New Year’s Day, but what I do hope to continue to do is run every day. I started on 21 July 2016 and have run a minimum of a mile every day since, and whilst this might not suit everyone, it has absolutely worked for me, increasing my stamina, strength and speed. In 2017 I have completed two trail marathons (with a third trail marathon on 16 December), at least 14 half marathons, numerous 10k runs and 5k runs. In 2018 I am running Brighton and London marathons a week apart, another marathon in May and an ultra (100km over 2 days) in July. Eddie Izzard believed long distance running is 80% mental and 20% physical, but on meeting some ultra runners they informed him he’s wrong – in fact, its 90% mental and the other 10% is in the mind.