Farewell Kay, after 29 years at Dr Kershaw's

Date published: 06 August 2019

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice staff have bid a fond farewell to the longest-serving member of the nursing team, Kay O’Neill, who has worked at the hospice for over 29 years.

Kay has come full circle, she was one of the first nurses to join the Day Hospice (recently renamed the Well-Being Centre) in 1990. She later moved to the wards when they opened just over twelve months later.

Whilst at Dr Kershaw’s, Kay, who was already a qualified SEN nurse, trained to become a Registered Nurse. Over the years she took on more responsibility working her way up to become Ward Manager, before recently reducing her hours and moving to the Well-Being Centre where she helped to provide holistic care for patients with long-term health conditions.

Kay's presentation at Dr Kershaw's

Alongside her professional skills, Kay has a range of other in-demand talents. She can often be found in the Well-Being Centre performing a manicure or two for patients. She’s also an enthusiastic amateur actress, having taken part in the Hospice Christmas panto, appearing as a ballerina, policeman and a Roly Poly. Kay has also been known to take on the role of Father Christmas, handing out presents to patients and staff.

Outside of work, Kay enjoys spending time with her husband Eamon, her son Liam, and their two Jack Russells, Jack and Ruby. Kay met Eamon when she was working a weekend job at Wimpey’s in Oldham as a student. They have known each other for over 35 years, finally tying the knot nine years ago on a trip to Las Vegas.

Kay and her husband are huge Elvis fans, and recently, Kay persuaded her husband to part with some of his beloved Elvis memorabilia which she donated to Dr Kershaw’s. The items were auctioned on eBay and raised a fabulous £4,000 for patient care.

Kay (left) as Elvis

Julie Hague, Ward Sister, who has worked with Kay for more than 25 years said: “Kay has a quiet sense of humour. She is very professional in her day job, but has a great sense of fun.

Kay is the sort of person who people trust and confide in. She will be a great loss to Dr Kershaw’s, both in her professional capacity, but also as a friend and colleague.”

Staff Nurse Linda Algar agrees: “Kay is a lovely, kind person. Over the years she has made a big impact on the nursing staff, patients and volunteers. We are incredibly sad to see her go, but hope that she will come to visit us whenever she has time.”

Adele Doherty, Clinical Matron, also paid tribute: "I have known Kay for 3 years. Kay is a dedicated and well respected member of the Kershaw’s team. Her professionalism and experience will be sorely missed.

“On behalf of everyone at Dr Kershaw’s, we wish Kay all the best in her retirement. We hope that she will continue to visit as she will always be welcome at Dr Kershaw’s.”

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