• Name: Stuart Oliver
  • Job title: Nurse in the Community Palliative Care Team
  • Joined the team: August 1996

What’s a typical day like?

I have no control over what happens! If I’m rostered to be in ‘Hub’, I respond to all the calls coming in from patients, their relatives and other health care professionals, like GPs and District Nurses. If I’m rostered to be ‘Response’, I review those patients who have an urgent need for a review. That might be via Telemed (video or voice call) but these often lead to face-to-face visits. If rostered to be ‘Planned’, I book initial assessments, then follow up on any of the outstanding calls that need to be made.

What do you wish people knew about hospice care?

For most people who have never had anything to do with a hospice, they tend to think it’s all to do with death and dying. They are quite surprised when they hear the longest I’ve known a patient come and go needing our palliative care support is 13 years. And despite serious life-threatening illness it can be fun! Creating quality times are the complete focus of everybody who works here. Working in a hospice can be like any other job with both good times and bad times. 

What makes Katharine House so special?

You mean apart from the patients telling me they love the car park as it makes visiting so much easier and it’s free? I feel lucky to have found a job I enjoy and can happily do till I retire. It’s never boring because there’s always something to learn and no two days are ever the same. Also, Josh the Cook is awesome!

Now for some quick-fire questions…

My idea of a perfect day is: there’s no such a thing … if every day is good enough, it doesn’t need to be any better.

My favourite thing to eat is: a very hot curry! My nan’s from Shillong, North India.

The best advice I’ve ever been given is: focus on establishing a rapport, everything else comes after that.

My all-time greatest song is: I can’t pick just one song – so here’s a playlist… In My Time Of Dying by Led Zeppelin, closely followed by Alex Descends Into Hell For A Bottle of Milk by U2, then From The Floorboards Up by Paul Weller, then Hyper Music by Muse, then After Dark by Tito & Tarantula, then Slow Ride by the Beastie Boys.

My favourite season is: anytime I can drop the roof on my car. One autumn a patient told me his favourite season was spring, while asking if I thought he’d see the next one. I responded having no idea how many springs he might see, and he saw another two!

If I won the lottery, I would buy: an aluminium massage couch from Australia worth £6k. I have my own business in Headington providing deep tissue massage, but I don’t massage any patients or their relatives.

People are often surprised when I tell them: I used to have orange hair down to my shoulders that naturally dropped into ringlets. Or that I cry when watching people dance on the telly. This doesn’t have to be salsa or ballroom dancing, as includes break dancing.

My proudest moment was: cycling across the desert in Jordan to raise money for charity back in 1997.

My favourite way to unwind is: swimming in Banbury’s open air pool or when on my Klein mountain bike.

My go-to biscuit is: a custard cream.

My all-time favourite film is: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

If I was stranded on a desert island, I would want: my wife and a bucket of factor 50 sun cream.