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Welcome to our new nurse - Jo Craine

“Joining Noah’s Ark is the best decision I have ever made… I wish I’d done it years ago”

We have just embarked on the largest care team recruitment drive in the charity’s history to ensure we are there for as many babies, children and young people as possible. We caught up with our first new recruit, paediatric nurse Jo Craine, who told us why she has joined Noah’s Ark 22 years into her nursing career.

Welcome Jo! Can you tell us a little about your background?

My mum was a nurse and I’ve had a passion for helping children to thrive from a very young age. I have worked in in lots of different clinical settings but my last two roles were at The Royal Free in Hampstead, and most recently Barnet Hospital, where I enjoyed caring for children for 17 years.

How has the last year or so been for you?

Tough, but so rewarding. I was redeployed to adult intensive care, supporting Covid patients, where there were rows and rows of ventilated adults with no visitors. We did all we could to get to know each patient so they knew they were with people who really cared for them.

Why have you joined Noah’s Ark?

At Barnet Hospital I used to watch in awe as Noah’s Ark nurses came to visit children, including those at the end of their lives. I recall an incredible moment seeing a senior Noah’s Ark nurse snuggling up to a young girl reading her a book, providing her with so much comfort. I thought ‘That’s what I want to do!’ Whenever a Noah’s Ark nurse visited, the sound of the child’s laughter carried through the ward, it was just magical.

I have supported quite a few children at the end of their lives. You only get one chance to die and I think it’s our duty, as a caring and compassionate society, to get it right for these children. This is something I feel privileged to be able to help to make possible for more children now I’m at Noah’s Ark.

How have you found life at Noah’s Ark so far?

There’s a lot to take in but I’m so excited to be part of the charity in this big growth phase.

The whole ethos of Noah’s Ark is to help children to blossom in spite of their illnesses. When children stay with us, it’s not just a question of saying “here’s your room” - they enjoy music therapy, cooking, soft play. It’s so positive and full of energy. I absolutely love being part of it.

How would you describe working at Noah’s Ark in three words?

Fun. Demanding at times. Very rewarding  - That’s more than three words. Is that okay?!

Yes, it is! Do you have any advice for any nurses thinking about applying to work at Noah’s Ark?

Contact the team who will be happy to help you have a look around The Ark itself. Once you have visited and have a feel for how much fun it is, and how geared up it is for looking after children who are seriously unwell and their families, I am sure you will make the decision to apply.

Leaving my role was a big leap of faith for me but the team here are so supportive and so expert and I’m learning and developing every day. It’s the best decision I have ever made – I wish I’d done it years ago.

If you are interested in working as a nurse at Noah’s Ark, please apply now, or contact Hayley Manley, Director of Care on hmanley@noahsarkhospice.org.uk to arrange an informal conversation or tour of The Ark.

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