Student social worker shares feedback on hospice placement

Madeleine Bowen is a student social worker apprentice. She’s studying at The University of Brighton and is in the first year of a three-year course. She shadowed the hospice Social Workers for three-days recently and told us all about it just before she left.

‘I’ve absolutely loved my time at St Wilfrid’s. I’d never even visited a hospice before, and was a bit apprehensive, but it’s just shown me what a beautiful place end of life can be. It’s been incredible and I’m genuinely really sad to be leaving it so soon.

‘I’ve been working for the YMCA Downslink with the Brighton Young Family Service for the past four years. We support people when they’re struggling, and signpost them to what they are entitled to. Being a qualified social worker will help me further advocate for marginalised people in all different areas.

‘I think the biggest takeaway from my time at the hospice is that I have realised how amazing it is to be working alongside a multitude of professionals. Having doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, therapists, counsellors and social workers all together and being able to tap into everyone’s different professional knowledge is so amazing and I’ve never seen it in action before.

‘When everyone is physically in the same building, it means that the quality of care is so good, and I’ve realised that I would definitely like to work somewhere like St Wilfrid’s in the future. It wasn’t something I’d thought about before, so it’s been really eye opening and has had a big impact.

‘We were randomly given placements and my vague plan at the end of qualifying is to work with children and families. I said I was open to going anywhere as I really am open to all aspects of social work, so I’m really glad I got given St Wilfrid’s.

‘I thought it might be quite a sad place and it hasn’t felt like that at all. It’s actually felt really positive, but not shying away from when sad things happen. It’s open and transparent in the fact that it’s sad when people die, but we’re all going to die, and to be able to do it in the most comfortable and lovely way possible is really important. And I feel like that happens here.

‘I know I’ve probably barely seen anything in three days but I’ve been able to go to a Multi-Disciplinary Team meeting, which was so moving. Everyone is so friendly and caring and it’s just a really amazing environment. It’s lively as well! There’s a buzz about the place and that’s partly down to the café.

‘I’ll qualify in 2026 so it’s a little while away, but I hope to be back.’

Pictured: Madeleine (centre) with social workers Michael and Paula

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