‘Why I’m honoured to be a nurse at Very Special Kids’ – an interview with Theresa Haasbroek

In the lead up to World Hospice Day on Saturday 8 October, we chat to Very Special Kids Hospice Nurse Theresa Haasbroek about the rewarding nature of her work and what she has learnt from her experiences as a nurse.

World Hospice Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. What does World Hospice Day mean for you as a nurse working at Very Special Kids?

Celebrating World Hospice Day is to draw attention to the unique and wonderful work of pediatric hospices and palliative care providers around the world. Very Special Kids is unique in our palliative care services as we use a holistic approach that aims to add quality of life.

Our staff work together as a team in a warm, welcoming and supported environment.  With our tools of compassionate education, presence, listening and medicine we help make the dying process less physically and emotionally painful for the patient and families, bringing more peace of heart and mind to everyone involved.

Our dedicated passionate nursing staff are working side by side with our Pain specialist and Family Support Practitioners so that we are able to address physical symptoms as well as psychosocial or spiritual problems. Our music and art therapy programs also play an enormous role in the way we support not only our vulnerable little children but also their siblings. The quality of care we give at Very Special Kids is second to none.

What do you find most rewarding about what you do?

It’s such a rewarding job because I am gifted with endless reminders of the value of selflessness and unconditional love. I find a great sense of accomplishment and meaning in being an advocate for patients and families without a voice. I am honoured to be called into the most sacred and vulnerable time in young people’s lives. Helping children and their family have as much control as possible at the end of life helps me appreciate how many choices I have in my life.

What have you learnt from your experiences of working as a nurse?

I have learnt how to live and love more fully. My experiences in hospice have taught me to cherish precious time spent with my loved ones, and my limited time here on earth. I get daily wake up calls to the temporary nature of life. If I ever had a chance to change my career the only thing I would have done was to become a Hospice Nurse at Very Special Kids much sooner.

Very Special Kids supports more than 900 families across Victoria who are caring for children with life-threatening conditions. The organisation provides 24-hour nursing care at Victoria’s only children’s hospice, as well as professional support services for their families.