Monday I'm up at 6.15am, rushing to get my children to their school breakfast club so I can arrive at the hospice by 8.30 for the morning ward round. A young mum with advanced breast cancer has been admitted and she speaks candidly about her devastation at not being able to be the mum she wanted to be. I promise her I will do all I can to help her be the best mum she can for as long as possible.
Tuesday I spend the morning in meetings with patients and their family members to discuss their progress. Families are understandably fearful, so we do our best to provide support and information to address their concerns. One lady who has been admitted to the hospice wants to know everything, including when and how she will die. I listen and give honest answers to her questions. In the afternoon, I supervise the training of junior doctors on the unit.
Wednesday It's my day off and I have an opportunity to focus on my children and prepare for the rest of the week. Palliative medicine can be very uplifting but there are always moments of great sadness, so I find it helpful to have this time to myself. I go for a run and attempt a new recipe. I have recently got into photography and, looking through my recent photos, I realise I have taken a ridiculous number of my children.
Thursday Today I'm based at the Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust, where I carry out a morning ward round and an outpatient clinic. Later, I give a teaching lecture on dementia and end-of-life care to GPs and nurses. Palliative care has not traditionally been part of dementia care, but I believe it is essential.
Friday I work a half day at the hospice to ensure patients will remain comfortable over the weekend. I know they'll be in excellent hands. The afternoon is free for quality time with my family. It can be a real juggle balancing the demands of my job with the needs of my kids, but my experiences at work give me the inspiration to find the energy for family life.
The North London Hospice provides care to patients with life-limiting illnesses