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Career profile: Maria O'Neil

Maria O’Neil, Palliative Clinical Nurse Specialist for Cambridgeshire Secured Services

How did you get into the nursing profession and how did your career develop?
In Wales I did my enrolled nurse training and qualified in 1988. I moved back to the Midlands and worked on a medical ward and then a few years later I did my nurse conversion course.

During that time my granddad actually developed stomach cancer. And I remember distinctly that I wasn’t sure which career path I wanted to go down at that point. I remember the day that he wanted me to tell him that he had stomach cancer and that was probably one of the hardest things that you ever have to do in your life. I was sleeping on a mattress for nine months. I was having to work full time. I had very little support from the family. I had no support from the hospice. It wasn’t a very good experience.

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