Cancer nurse’s career is true vocation

OVER the past 30 years Ruth Keys has seen a lot of changes, but one thing that has remained constant has been her work as a Marie Curie nurse. 
“Although the world around me has changed over the years, my goal as a nurse hasn’t changed – it’s the patients’ needs that matter and I always prioritise them,” she said. 
The local lady’s nursing career started when she took up post as a staff nurse in the Ulster Hospital, Belfast. Ruth remained there for 14 years on night duty. An opportunity later arose to apply for a Marie Curie nursing role and Ruth was successful in obtaining a permanent post in the community. 
“I had the opportunity to visit patients in the Marie Curie Hospice in Belfast and I remember thinking it was lovely there, it had such a nice atmosphere. I thought it was right up my street and was delighted when they were recruiting. Now it’s 30 years later and I have never looked back. I am very passionate about my job, I honestly love it. I really believe that nursing was my calling and Marie Curie has given me the opportunity to do that.” 
Ruth covers the Southern and Western Trust areas visiting patients in their homes to provide care and support. Over the years there have been many memorable moments. In 1997 she was shortlisted for the ‘Nurse of the Year’ awards for NI and represented Marie Curie in 2011 at the official opening of the Belfast Titanic building. 
“As I reflect 30 years later, I have seen many changes within our service which all benefit our patients and staff. From nursing only patients with terminal cancer, we now provide care and support for patients with any terminal illness and their families.
“Working with Marie Curie has really lived up to my expectations and having been a nurse for so long, I’ve lived through the advancement of digitalisation. I see the charity going from strength to strength and processes being simplified.”

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