Hi my name is Diane Yates, I am the Hospital Ministry Manager.
I was brought up as Christian attending church and taught that the word Pagan meant Devil Worshipper, Satanist or Occultist as was the teaching of the Church I attended. In my teens when I left the Church I wanted to find something that fit who I was, after all I was this nature loving, couldn’t sit still, outsider. You were more likely to find me playing in the dirt, watching the wildlife or what I didn’t know at the time was communing with a tree. I found a book on Paganism. I was initially put off and rejected that because of what I had been taught, I was fearful of this word Pagan and the connotations it brought about because through the teachings I had heard that they/we were and are bad people! But I was still curious, they talked about trees and the earth and so it was only after much more reading, and regularly stumbling across the word Pagan that I began to wander and question what I knew.
I did a lot of soul searching and investigating and eventually found out about Druidry, Shamanism, Wicca and other specific Pagan paths. I spent time learning at least the basics about many different paths partly as I have a thirst for learning, but also I wanted to learn and see if there was a right path for me as well as challenge what I had been taught as none of these books talked about what I had been taught. By seeking clarity in books and starting to spend time with Pagans, I learnt what Paganism is in the broader sense of the word and came to find the paths I felt fit for me me. I now know that I follow the Pagan paths of Druidry and am a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, but I am also a Traditional Witch. I belong to the Clan of the Pheryllt in the New Forest were we practice both Druidry and Witchcraft. So now I can say I have been a happily and proudly Pagan for many years.
Within my career I worked within the NHS for over 20 years within General Medicine, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities. As an auxiliary nurse (as they were called at that time) and then as a qualified nurse I was always passionate about helping people and worked in many hospitals around this beautiful country of ours either through permanent contracted work or through agency work, I’ve always been a bit of a traveller never staying in one place for too long. I stopped working as a nurse when I had a life changing accident and could no longer perform my job physically so medically retired. I now work as a therapist and so am still very enthusiastic about supporting people through change and difficult times.
The World Health Organisation and various heads of many of the most recognised and known religions all identify and speak out about the importance of having our spiritual needs met, especially in times of difficulty or health crisis. That supporting a patient’s spiritual needs can help aid their recovery or peaceful passing just as much as the nursing staffs professional care or good nutrition.
Within the NHS there has been much misunderstanding about what Pagans are which I have seen as a nurse from within, and as a patient after my accident when requiring operations and hospital admission. Consequently, Pagans are often not represented within the hospital chaplaincy departments. I have seen and heard people’s fear due to a lack of knowledge (which I am able to understand to a degree when many are taught a negative and incorrect view point as I had been as a child about our beliefs, or they just do not know other than that reported within the media).
I would therefore like to be a part of supporting that change, of educating people within the NHS at least, to bring about understanding of what Paganism is. What I would like to see is that one day Paganism and every belief system/tradition/religion is able to be represented, accepted and accessed for any patient at their request when requiring support for their health physically or through mental health NHS services.
For me I am no longer able to nurse, but I can support people spiritually, and am looking for likeminded people to join me in my team. Please contact me here if you are interested.