As the Nelson Tasman Hospice embarks on an $11.5 million project to build a new base, we look at some of the people behind its special service.
Jamie McCay, 36, works with the dying but says his job is filled with laughter and fun.
Position: Community nurse with the Nelson Tasman Hospice
How long have you been in the role?
Nearly three years. My wife and I moved here from Auckland with our son Finn, who’s nearly three, and now we have a daughter Katie too (6 months).
Breaking three vertebrae in my back (in a mountain biking accident) before we left Auckland made my wife and I realise we needed to get on and do what we really wanted to do. I was an oncology nurse in Auckland and now I’m in this role, while also studying towards my Masters in palliative care.
What’s a work day like for you? I visit patients in their homes, where 70 per cent of our patients are cared for. I help them remain at home if that’s their wish. I work with doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers and counsellors.
What is something people don’t know about your work?
I care for young and old. Currently I look after a lady of 96 years who tells me every time I visit how my generation doesn’t know how good we have it, and a young family man who loves to talk about the newest and fastest technology.
What do you like to do outside of work?
We spend time together as a family: We go to the beach, or Rabbit Island. We go out on our bicycles.
What do you find rewarding about your role?
People say to me that my work must be really hard, but I love it. And not in a morbid way. The relationships I can build with people are really special. People in hospice care have different priorities. If I asked you what you were doing at the weekend, you’d say: “I have to look after my children, go to the market, buy vegetables, walk the dog.” Whereas a patient will say: “I’m going to commit my time to my family and friends and I’m going to do the things that I love.” It’s not about watching the final of The Block. It’s about playing cars with my young son.
What is so special about the Nelson Tasman Hospice?
We prioritise the patient and the family