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Meet the Team: Monica & Gemma – Advanced Nurse Practitioners

There have been many exciting new innovations at Ardgowan Hospice recently that we’re looking forward to sharing with you. One of which is employing our first Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP), Monica Keenan, along with trainee ANP, Gemma McCahill.


Monica and Gemma kindly gave their time to talk a little about the role of ANP.


“No matter where you die, you should get the same standard of care” says Monica who is bringing 25 years of nursing experience, 17 of which is palliative, to Ardgowan Hospice, “the quality-of-care patients receive in a hospice should be available to everyone”.

Monica (Left) & Gemma (Right)

96% of deaths occur outwith a hospice. 50% of these deaths are in hospital. The remaining 46% are where Monica and Gemma seek to make a real impact.

While based out of our In-Patient Unit, the Ardgowan ANP role is primarily community focused. At any given time, the phone may ring and they’ll be off into Inverclyde to help a patient in need at home or somewhere such as a care home.

However, a large part of the role is supporting and advising other health care providers – giving them practical and emotional advice on how best to provide compassionate palliative support for patients under their care.

It’s all about education, “my passion” says Monica. “I like to be accessible and work alongside other health care professionals, getting to know them and encouraging them to pick up the phone and give me a call. I believe in helping the hand that touches the patient. If I can advise one nurse, that advice will spread through their network.”

Calls can come in from GPs, District Nursers, Care Home Workers, Carers, and the team at the IRH; and Monica’s experience in palliative care from across the world puts her in an expert position to help.

“I feel that this role is vital in the hospice and that we can help support and educate other healthcare professionals, patients and families whilst learning myself. I feel our main role is education and symptom management”
– Gemma McCahill

After spending time working in Australia and in Fife, Monica “wanted to come home and look after my own people.” She returned to Greenock this year and soon joined the hospice team.

Gemma has been employed as a trainee in ANP for around 7 weeks (at time of writing) after leaving critical care in IRH to do palliative care. “I am now currently studying my masters in advancing professional practise to become a fully qualified ANP. I’ve been working with Ardgowan hospice since April 2019 on the hospice bank as a staff nurse. Palliative care has been my dream job and I am looking forward to the rewards and challenges that lie ahead.”

When not providing care out in the community, our ANP team provide night and weekend cover in the Ward. Monica hopes more trainee nurses will be inspired to train to be an Advanced Nurse Practitioner.

If you would like to learn more about the ANP at Ardgowan Hospice and/or could benefit from their expertise, please contact or call 01475 726830.

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