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.

For further information, go to www.st-anns-hospice.org.uk.

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