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29th Mar 2013

“They Not Only Care For The Patient But They’re Support For The Family Too”: Irish Cancer Society Night Nurse Bernie Murphy Tells Us About Her Job

Dublin-based night nurse Bernie Murphy tells us what the night nursing service means for both the patients and their families.

Team is taking part in this year’s Flora Women’s Mini Marathon and we want YOU to join us.

We’ve created The Pink Brigade, where members of Team and our beloved readers will take part in the mini-marathon in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. With so many charities in dire need of support, we’ll be letting you know over the coming weeks why the irish Cancer Society is our charity of choice, and who you’re helping when you run, walk or jog all over cancer!

To find out more about joining The Pink Brigade yourself, click here – we’d love to have you! 

This week we’re chatting to Bernie Murphy, a night nurse with the Irish Cancer Society. She tells us a bit about her job and what it means for both patients with cancer and their families.

These nurses care for patients in their homes and they not only offer care and symptom relief to the patient but they also support the family, giving them advice and emotional support. The families that experience the service are overwhelmingly grateful to those nurses.  


What does the role of being a night nurse involve, Bernie?

The role of the Irish Cancer Society Night Nurse is to provide care and support to patients and their families within their own home. When a person is being cared for at home the family are the main carers. Our role is to support the patient and their family.
The Irish Cancer Society provides 10 nights for each person towards the end of life. These nights may occasionally be used as respite but is generally for end of life care.
The night nurse arrives to the family home at 11pm. They care for the patient until 7am making sure the family have a good night’s sleep knowing that the nurse will assess and manage symptoms and will also offer emotional, psychological and spiritual support. 
Families feel supported and comforted by having the nurse with them overnight. The nurse is there to provide reassurance, emotional and psychological support for the family members as well. 
How did you become a night nurse?

Many people wish to remain at home in the safety, comfort and security of their own homes, surrounded by their loved ones. I feel strongly that those who make this choice should be given all the help and support they need to make this happen. 

I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that my role as a night nurse working with patients and their families in this situation makes this a more positive experience for them.


What difference have you seen the work of the Irish Cancer Society make in people’s lives?

The Irish Cancer Society and the night nurse service offers great support and security to families. It’s providing much more than the physical support of a nurse overnight.

The night nurse service gives the patient and their family the support and courage to continue as the main carer for their loved one.

In 2012 the Irish Cancer Society provided 7350 nights to cancer patients nationwide.


Find out more about this year’s Flora Women’s Mini Marathon here