As part of our #MyBTH campaign, we are highlighting individuals, teams or services that have an important role within the Trust, but who are not often heard of or understood.
Here we look at the Specialist Bereavement Nurse, Megan Murray…
Created from the feedback received from bereaved families, maternity staff and local GPs, the post of Bereavement Specialist Nurse was formed in 1996 and Megan was one of only three such nurses in the country in NHS Trusts at that time.
The service has many areas of specialty, but the main and most important part is to support women and their families throughout their difficult journey through the grief encountered after losing an unborn or newborn child.
And it is this part that Megan has challenged, changed and fought for throughout her time in the role. It is important to understand this is a journey with a bereaved family, to help them acknowledge their emotions, come to terms with their loss and survive the experience of something that can be profoundly life changing.
All women who experience all types of loss now have access to this service. From conception to 28-days-old, this service offers support to families who want it.
Parents can be seen soon after they know there is a problem and be supported from that time, other families may need time to decide if they want this service and they have 12 months to contact and self-refer or have a health professional do this for them if they feel unable themselves.
Referrals can come from various areas such as, the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU), screening midwives, hospital consultants, the Emergency Department, GPs and the Chaplaincy team.
There is no waiting list and in most cases families will be seen within seven days.
Women and partners may want individual support or as a couple. Grandparents often need support and so do siblings. The role is to help the whole family come to terms with the loss of a baby and the loss of a dream.
This service does not keep ‘office hours’ but works whenever the need is there, late in the evenings if necessary for families who need to work but need support too.
Megan can meet at the family home, at GP practices, health centres or in the hospital. With empathy and understanding they all can sit together and regularly evaluate and assess where their grief is currently, so bereaved families can feel confident about when endings arrive.
Importantly families are supported again when returning to the Trust as they are often anxious when pregnant.
For this role to succeed, it is vital to have great working and professional relationships with many services. Effective communication is vital to allow bereaved parents to have a ‘good grief’ in a difficult experience.
In Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust we are fortunate to work with all three local councils, Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde.
Megan’s role with them has covered many agendas, but has mainly concentrated on improving the facilities families have access to when they say a physical goodbye to their baby in either cremation or burial.
After compassionate conversations with all three authorities, we can offer a great service for all bereaved families saying a final farewell to their babies. All cemeteries now have baby areas with many different services offered in beautiful, separate areas, allowing dignity in their loss and grief.
Megan has been such a help and inspiration to these families that she has won countless awards and most recently has been nominated, and shortlisted for, a Butterfly Award.
Organised by Baby Loss Star, Butterfly Awards are for those special people who have inspired, or helped or whose work people have admired. The award ceremony will be held in Worcester next month.
Megan said: “This is a great job, with great job satisfaction and when you see the families start to take control of their lives again, that’s the best feeling of all and it is wonderful to have the privilege to be part of that.
“It is also so lovely to be also recognized for this award, especially as the families I have worked with have nominated me.”
“There are some strong contenders in my category, but even if I don’t win, it’s very satisfying to know that my work means so much to people.”
Should any family require Megan’s services, they can call the main switchboard on 01253 300000 and request to be transferred to her.
To vote for Megan in this prestigious ceremony please go to http://babylossstar.co.uk/Blackpool17
Voting closes on October 1 at 8pm.