Inspired to trek to Petra after 30 years as a hospice nurse

Fiona Anderson has been a nurse at St Catherine’s Hospice for over 30 years and now she has signed up to trek to Petra to raise funds for the hospice’s vital care. Fiona explains what her role involves and why she has been inspired to take on the challenge.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

“When I joined St Catherine’s 30 years ago, I knew nothing about hospice care. I didn’t know if I would like it but decided to go for the job because it’s very patient focussed. That was what drew me in.

“Hospice care goes back to the original principals of nursing – keeping patients at the centre. After experiencing deaths in hospital, I could see the difference the hospice makes. We have time with the person and their loved ones.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“After working on the ward for 20 years, I wanted a new challenge and moved to St Catherine’s Community Team where I’m now a Clinical Nurse Specialist. In the community we see people much earlier than on the ward, usually once they have been introduced to palliative care. There is often a lot of change and conversations can be challenging.

Fiona outside St Catherine's where she has been a nurse for 30 yearsFiona outside St Catherine's where she has been a nurse for 30 years
Fiona outside St Catherine's where she has been a nurse for 30 years

People still shy away from talking about death. it’s the one thing that with certainty will affect us all. I understand it’s difficult to talk about for those who have never experienced the loss of someone close to them. Conversations that affect you and your future care should be normal, not scary, and it’s so much better to have them whilst you’re well.

“Dying is a very personal thing, nothing prepares us for losing someone close to us. You learn as you go through it and having the support of St Catherine’s makes such a difference.

“When my partner died three years ago, I saw a different side of death. He didn’t use the hospice, but I saw how amazing my colleagues were when I returned to work. It made me truly appreciate how much you need that support. After feeling so vulnerable, I thought the Petra Trek was a way for me to give something back to the hospice that was out of my comfort zone and personal challenge. I had to look up where Petra was on a map!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The trek is going to be five days of walking over hilly and rocky terrain, and I don’t cope well with heat, so that will be a challenge, However I’m looking forward to sleeping in a tent. I go for walks most weeks with a friend and I’ve recently been introduced to podcasts which are amazing! I can listen to a podcast and walk for a couple hours and I’m hoping to do Box Hill soon.

Fiona Anderson Fiona Anderson
Fiona Anderson

“There are five of us from the community team taking part in the Petra trek. Having met the other participants on the trek, I’m full of admiration for them. They are from all walks of life and all ages and they’re taking part in memory of loved ones the hospice has cared for. Everyone will have their own challenges, but I’m hoping five days of trekking will really bond us together.

“Initially the fundraising target was daunting, but we’ve done some car boot sales to raise funds and we’re organising an 80s themed party night.

“I’m very excited about it. My family know it’s a challenge for me, but they know how much the hospice means to me. I’m 58 now, and my plan is to work at St Catherine’s until I’m 68 and then retire, when I’ll have worked here 40 years.

"It’s definitely not just a job for me.”

To find out more about the Petra Trek or sign up to join the overseas trip from 16-23 November 2024 visit or call St Catherine’s fundraising team on 01293 447361.

Related topics: