Everyday Evangelism: Clare Doig

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Clare Doig is part of the church family at St John’s Great Sutton. Away from church, she is a Palliative Care Specialist Children’s Nurse at Claire House Hospice on Wirral. Here she reflects on her everyday evangelism and how her faith shapes how she acts in the workplace.   

Everyday Evangelism is a series of stories and reflections on the ways in which people and parishes in the Diocese of Chester are living out the good news of Jesus, and following him with confidence, in all areas of our lives, Monday to Saturday as well as Sunday.
 



Clare Doig
Claire House 
Hospice, Wirral
 

I work in Claire House Children’s Hospice and have done for nearly 20 years. I have found my vocation in life and plan to be here till it’s time to retire.

We look after families from before birth and up until the age of 23. For us to care for a child they must meet certain criteria, which usually means having a life-limiting or life-threatening condition. As a palliative care lead nurse, I am responsible for leading the team clinically. I specialise in managing symptoms and end of life care. I have been involved in many deaths during my time at Claire House, either supporting families or other staff.

The most common question I get asked is, ‘how can you do this job, you must be an angel’. My answer is always that, ‘the children are the angels’.

I feel a great privilege being a part of their life – sometimes for only a very short time – and enable them to die in peace and with dignity. We only have one chance to get this right.

So how does my faith in God help me? I can honestly say that I often question my faith and battle with it internally, but at other times it is the thing that makes me go back to work after a particularly difficult shift. Faith and my belief in what happens after death keeps me strong and I believe that the children are destined for a better life.

Many of the children I care for suffer daily with their conditions, often enduring continuous pain, seizures and other debilitating symptoms. I feel a sense of relief when these children pass, and they are at their most peaceful just prior to dying. I believe that is when they are being cared for by Jesus.

Many will question how God can do this, how he can make them suffer as they do, but I get through by believing that God didn’t do this to the children, he is in fact with them in their pain and relieving them of their difficult struggles and setting them free. I take comfort in my own personal prayer, usually asking for strength for families, but also for myself to help me do my job to the best of my ability and to thank God for his guidance.

Not everyone you meet in life feels like me and often families are very angry with God. On the other hand, parents do often want to involve God at these most difficult times but have no idea where to begin and I will help organise baptisms and visits from clergy. I will involve myself in these processes as my colleagues don’t always feel as comfortable as I do.

At times I definitely question my faith and particularly struggle with the deaths of children that have been perfectly normal and healthy and then are struck down by a horrible illness such as cancer. Why does this happen? I have no answer and am still waiting.

God gives me the strength to go into work and be the happy, confident, skillful nurse that I am; my family also has a big part to play in how I get through.

Being a palliative care nurse has its struggles, but I take pride in the fact that God guided me to this vocation.

Many days at work are full of joy and happiness and that gives me the strength to face the bad days. But even on the bad days, good can happen. The death of a child that is controlled and peaceful can give the family time to be with their little one before they start their life dancing in heaven. That is what I believe is next.

I love my job, I love my family, I love my church family, and I love that God guides us. I am a very lucky person.
 



Everyday Evangelism: Revd Glyn Jones