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Nurses’ Day: From pattern cutting to palliative care

To mark Nurses’ Day, Marie Curie celebrates those who have switched to a career in nursing.

A pattern cutter who quit his career in fashion to become a nurse is among those being celebrated on Nurses’ Day.


For Justin King, extra work as a healthcare assistant led to a career change. Picture: Marie Curie

London Centre of Fashion Studies graduate Justin King was set to follow in his father’s footsteps with a long career in the fashion industry. But he decided to switch to nursing after working as a healthcare assistant (HCA) to supplement his pattern cutting and design income.

‘I found I was getting more enjoyment from my HCA role, being involved closely with patients and their families,’ he says.

Mr King, who works for Marie Curie in London, says his design skills can be helpful during the final days of a patient’s life. ‘I make sure the bed is neat and comfortable and my fashion instinct kicks in when I choose something beautiful for them to wear in a good fabric,’ he says.

Career change

Nurses Day is celebrated every 12 May, the birth date of Florence Nightingale. This year Marie Curie is marking the day by celebrating nurses who have switched careers.

Among them is Clare Horgan, who moved to nursing from a career in restaurant management in the Caribbean and America, following the death of her brother due to cancer.

She decided to join Marie Curie in Essex having seen a patient at her brother’s hospice who wanted to die at home. Marie Curie helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by delivering person-centred care, emotional support and guidance.

‘People skills are key when supporting people who are at their most emotional point – it’s about being a shoulder for them as well as the care giving,’ Ms Horgan said.


Ian Chisholm, who switched from hotel management to nursing, says he wanted to continue working with people. Picture: Marie Curie

‘A natural choice’

Ian Chisholm, who works in the Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh, also switched from hotel management. ‘I wanted to continue using my skills and love of working with people and providing the best quality service. So nursing was a natural choice,’ he said.

Marie Curie director of nursing Dee Sissons said all three nurses work ‘tirelessly in hospices and people’s homes to give care, support and peace of mind when they’re needed most’.

‘That they’ve come from such varied working backgrounds demonstrates the wonderful range of skills and expertise our nurses bring to Marie Curie. They are at the heart of the charity and it’s important we take time to celebrate these incredible men and women,’ she said.

To find out how to become a Marie Curie nurse click here


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