The florist who became a nurse at 38 heads up care at a Yorkshire children’s hospice

After working as a florist and bringing up her sons, at 35 Judith Bentley retrained as a children’s nurse. Catherine Scott reports.

Judith Bentley was 35 and a mum of two teenagers when she decided to take the brave decision to retrain as a children’s nurse.

“I was 38 when I became a nurse on the children’s general ward at Pinderfields,” explains Judith from Wakefield. “I juggled my training and then the job with my role as mum of teenagers and it wasn’t always easy, but the career I came to later in life has always been my calling and has been hugely rewarding.”

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Judith. now 54, recently joined Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice as Head of Care.

She brings a wealth of nursing expertise and life experience to the role, which involves managing the in-house and community care teams and leading and developing services including day care, short breaks, and nursing on-call.

At Pinderfields, Judith advanced to become the Mid Yorkshire Trust’s Children’s Neurodisability Team Lead for four years. She also specialised in helping children with autism and ADHD, reviewing children and managing their symptoms in her own ADHD 

“I am passionate about delivering high-quality care and this is an exciting time to be joining Bluebell Wood,” says Judith. “We are recruiting now to expand our care team in early 2020, ensuring we can continue to support care in the hospice while also increasing our community nursing team to enable us to further support children and families who choose to stay at home for end of life care.”

Judith is a firm believer that age should not be a barrier or be detrimental to achieving your dreams, success and ambitions.

After working as a florist at the age of 35 she set her heart on fulfilling a childhood desire to work in healthcare and enrolled for a Higher Diploma in Children’s Nursing at Huddersfield University. Since qualifying as a children’s nurse 16 years ago, Judith has continued to attend university while working full-time. She now has a degree in paediatric nursing and is a qualified non-medical prescriber.

“I am now bringing all the experience I gained, and my skills in supporting families and colleagues through potentially traumatic or emotional situations, to the hospice.”

In her private life the grandmother of two is on a mission to try out new life experiences with her partner Glyn.

Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice offers vital care and support to children and young people with life-shortening or life-threatening conditions across South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Derbyshire. It currently supports around 250 families both in the hospice and in family homes.

It costs more than £4m to keep its doors open for families.