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Pilgrims Hospices nurse Peter Hall, from Folkestone, retires after 44-year career


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A nurse who admits he fell into the profession while "loafing around" after leaving school has retired after 44 years of caring for patients in Kent.

After completing his training, Peter Hall, who is from Folkestone, joined Pilgrims Hospices when the charity's first hospice opened in Canterbury in 1982.

Pilgrims Hospices nurse Peter Hall has retired after a 44-year career
Pilgrims Hospices nurse Peter Hall has retired after a 44-year career

The 63-year-old began his career as a staff nurse, later joining the community team and spending the majority of his career supporting patients in their own homes across east Kent.

"I left school with very few qualifications, just an art O-level at grade C," he said. "While loafing around, I bumped into a friend doing a pre-nursing course and became inspired by a desire to help people, particularly those who were ill.

"So I gathered a few more O-levels and was accepted into nurse training at Kent and Canterbury Hospital."

In between spells at Pilgrims Hospices, Mr Hall worked on the Cheerful Sparrows ward at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate and on the intensive care unit (ICU) at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

Peter returned to the hospice in 1988 as a community nurse, supporting patients in the Herne Bay, Thanet and Folkestone areas.

"Even though a patient is unwell, they're still the boss..."

He said: "I was interested in the holistic nature of palliative care and felt it was a good way to combine my general nursing skills with my mental health training.

"Interestingly, myself and several ICU colleagues transitioned to palliative care around the same time - Frances Guthrie, the first community nurse at Pilgrims, Penny Coe, Debbie Corke and Jenny Farran.

"I love being out and about and visiting people in their own homes, it’s a different dynamic to the wards.

"Even though a patient is unwell, they're still the boss - we don't come to take over, just to advise and help them achieve their goals as best they can. I especially enjoy Christmas, it's fun to see how different families celebrate."

Mr Hall, who is married with three grown up daughters, retired from nursing in November.

A newspaper cutting from earlier in Mr Hall's career in nursing
A newspaper cutting from earlier in Mr Hall's career in nursing

Spending the last part of his career nursing through a global pandemic presented both challenges and opportunities for him and his colleagues.

He said: "Telephone contact was a challenge initially, but it's made me appreciate being able to visit people again now that we can.

"We've also realised that some things can actually be done more efficiently over the phone or online, so this learning will be taken into future practice.

Kate White, head of nursing at Pilgrims, expressed her thanks for a colleague she said had "always gone the extra mile" for his patients

"Peter has been the fabric of Pilgrims for so many years," she said. "His retirement is a great loss to us, but mostly to our patients and their families.

"Genuinely one of the kindest, nicest people you could wish to meet..."

"I have no doubt he will be remembered fondly by all the people whose lives he has touched.

"He takes with him a wealth of experience and knowledge as well as a great sense of humour.

"Peter is genuinely one of the kindest, nicest people you could wish to meet."

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