People Management: Three minutes with... Nicola Monks staff nurse, St Ann's Hospice

What's your latest accolade? According to a recent Sunday Times poll, our hospice in Manchester is the second-best place to work in the UK.

Were you surprised that St Ann's did so well? We were surprised when we came seventh last year, the first time a charity made it into the top 100 in the Sunday Times list, so we were over the moon to be second this year. I love working here, but you don't expect a charity to be able to compete with big companies that can offer lots of perks.

Doesn't it get depressing working at a hospice? There are lots of misconceptions about working in a hospice. People presume it must be a very sad place, but there's actually a very happy, calm atmosphere.

A lot of patients use humour to deal with their situation, so it's very light-hearted here. We all get on really well and get a lot of support.

The pay isn't an issue for me, but it's about the same as I was on in the NHS. For me, what's important is making a difference.

How does it compare with other places you've worked? I was a senior staff nurse in the NHS for 10 years. That was very different - it felt like you were on a conveyor belt because people were in and out of the place all the time. Here you can give people the time they deserve - it's a privilege to get to know them and their families.

Of course, you get attached to people, but it's good to know you've been able to help at what can be a very difficult time in their lives.

How did the poll work? In order to be considered for the list, at least 44 per cent of us had to fill in a questionnaire. We were asked, for example, whether we got free meals, or had access to a company ski chalet or dry cleaning facilities on site.

All we get here is free tea and coffee, but I couldn't enjoy my job any more even if we did have all of the other things.

Would you move back to the public sector? I'm certainly not thinking about it.

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