Here at St Luke’s, we don’t keep our expertise to ourselves. We share it with others so that more people benefit, and this includes welcoming placement students keen to gain experience to complement their theoretical knowledge. So, it’s a happy turn of events when a student shines during their time with us and then the right opportunity subsequently opens up for them to apply for a position as part of our paid staff.

Such was the case for St Luke’s Bereavement Support Worker, Sue Martin, who joined in April, following Janet Hearl’s retirement.

With more than 25 years’ valuable experience in the health and social care sector in roles ranging from care assistant to registered manager of a nursing home, it was following the death of her husband that Sue decided to follow a new path and study towards becoming a counsellor for her own personal development.

From supporting people with issues around drugs and alcohol to helping those with phobias, there are many different areas of counselling but Sue found herself leaning more towards a role where she could not only draw on her previous professional experience but her own personal experience of loss, too, to make a difference to others.

It was following conversations with Jutta Widlake, Head of Social Care at St Luke’s, that Sue then had the opportunity of a placement with Jutta’s team as part of her Level 4 Diploma in Counselling. Not only did Sue complete the 100 hours necessary to help her get her qualification, what she learned working alongside our Social Care Manager Helen Koffi-Young, Social Workers Carolyn and Danielle and Bereavement Support Worker Andy Searle also meant that when the opportunity arose to apply for a full-time post, she was keen to take it. Sue, who has a daughter and two grandchildren, and lives in Lipson with her cat Eric, said:

“Doing my placement gave me really helpful insight into the work of the team and the huge variety involved in their work across the community, from helping families who might be struggling to care for their loved one to giving bereavement support.

“With that experience under my belt, plus the knowledge and skills I gained from previous work as well as my studies, I felt I would be a good fit for the permanent post and was really delighted to get the job.”

“Things have dovetailed well and I’ve been warmly welcomed into the team. I love the variety involved and being out and about where I’m needed to provide support, whether it’s coming alongside the relative of a patient in their own home or being there for a patient at Turnchapel.

“Although it’s early days and I’m still learning about St Luke’s, shadowing our Community Nurse Specialists and Social Workers has only confirmed to me that I’m part of a really special organisation that means so much to so many people. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.”