Neonatal Intensive Care Sister

Manchester, UK


I would not have thought I would be sitting and writing about a global pandemic- I don’t think anyone did. Covid for me was a game changer. Everything I thought I knew about healthcare and resilience quickly left me, and a new way of working and thinking soon became the new normal. I’m a frontline nurse, I have worked shifts that have lasted 20 hours. I have come home broken and ready to quit, I have faced death and both won and lost against it- and this was all before Covid even existed.

Covid changed my game more than I ever imagined it would, I suddenly went from being a confident, nothing phases me kind of nurse, to a genuine fear, and this time, it was more than just me.

Before Covid was announced, I found out I was pregnant- a very much longed for and precious baby. But one that came with complications. Last year, I became unwell, really unwell, from an unknown virus that caused my body to be overwhelmed and brought me close to dying. It was terrifying. This episode changed how my body dealt with everything, and that meant, even before covid, we didn’t know how pregnancy would affect me.

When covid hit, there was a whole new world of worries. If it was just me to consider, you bet your bottom dollar I would be behind a facemask, carrying on doing what I love to do. Care for my patients and their families- being there right at the very start, all the way to the end. But this was bigger than me.

When Covid really hit- when we saw hundreds dying in intensive care, I got the dreaded 12 week isolation message. I wasn’t allowed to be what I trained for so many years to be. I wouldn’t be allowed to stand shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and sisters and use every ounce of knowledge and skill I had to make sure families lives weren’t ripped apart.

My world changed over night- I was told not to come back to work for the foreseeable future. I was too much of a risk, and they were right, this virus very well would kill me if I got it. But I am not someone who can sit at home, knowing my colleagues, my friends were dying to protect others from this. So, my working changed. I reached out to multiple agencies, I spoke with people in different parts of the healthcare landscape and offered every bit of my time to take the pressure off them. To keep up work they had stopped so they could focus on the crisis unfolding in front of us. That work soon became Covid focused, and since, every day I have been working on national plans to help with Covid. Zoom has become a new normal, policy, transformation projects, national initiatives are my daily bread and butter. I may not be there physically to fight this- but my god, I am giving everything I possibly can to help.

I miss my team, I miss my unit- it’s my home, it is a safe place for me. I reach out to the staff I can’t see anymore and let them know my phone is always on, my emails are constantly being refreshed to ensure they know that when they are needing support and guidance, even though physically I may not be there, I am always standing right by them.

Covid is something none of us expected. Covid has taken more from people than we ever knew it could. But my god, Covid has shown us just what amazing resilience and adaptations people will make to keep people alive.