Nurses Day 2021 on Wednesday 12 May highlights the invaluable contributions nurses make to people’s health worldwide. We share the experiences of some of our Martlets nurses during COVID, and families tell us what a difference nursing care made to their loved ones quality of life.
Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May every year as this date is the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. This year marks the 201st anniversary of her birth. The event is coordinated by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and showcases the work of nurses throughout the pandemic.
“Nurses the world over, alongside all their colleagues, have risen to the challenges that COVID-19 presented,” says Evelyn Prodger, Head of Community Services at Martlets and an RN Queen’s Nurse. “Here at Martlets, I have been humbled by the way our nurses have remained compassionate, patient centred and strong. They were challenged in so many ways – by working over the phone; putting on and taking off PPE on doorsteps; supporting relatives who could not visit, and not being able to hug a distressed relative. They dealt with what Covid brought to them personally.
Throughout, they have continued to do what they do best – caring for those living and dying with terminal illness. Working at Martlets makes me proud to be a nurse. I work with a dedicated group of nurses who demonstrate daily all that is good about nursing as a profession. I feel privileged to have worked alongside them over the past year.”
Our nurses and healthcare assistants share their experiences for Nurses Day 2021
Sandra, healthcare assistant (HCA):
“Working through Covid-19, there was the initial anxiety of the unknown as we didn’t know if we’d have enough PPE. We also worried that we might catch it and pass it on to our families at home. In line with Government safety measures, visitors were restricted. Seeing people looking at their loved ones through the glass door and not being able to hold their hands was heartbreaking. We are a very close group of HCAs and we are always there for each other. Even though we had ‘wobbles’ we got through it together.”
Louise, clinical nurse specialist (CNS):
“Some of our patients in the community struggle with different forms of communication. When they can’t see our mouths because of PPE it can be difficult; if you’re deaf for example you can’t lip read, or gauge our emotions if our faces are covered.
We talk about patients as a group of people but that doesn’t describe the humanness of what we experience when we visit. We are so privileged to go into people’s homes at this difficult time of their lives when they are feeling vulnerable. We bear witness to what they are going through and we see the whole person, not just a patient.
When I go to someone’s home it’s not like being in a hospital. You see their carpets, you see the pictures of their family, you see their intimate possessions and what they like to read. You see what makes them a person and what matters to them. You can talk to them about those things and their lives and who they are beyond their illness. That’s the beauty of community nursing and why I do it. It’s so important that the individual person remains at the centre of what we do and that Martlets remains at the heart of the community.”
The value of nursing care – feedback from families for Nurses Day 2021
Monika, partner and carer:
“When my husband Paul was staying on Martlets’ inpatient unit, the nurses knew exactly when we needed them for support. I know that’s their job, but you can see that it’s so much more than just a job to them. You can feel it.
One amazing nurse answered all our questions because we didn’t know what to expect at the end. She told us that it is an absolute honour to be allowed to share that special moment with a person who is dying. That has stayed with me. What I find so remarkable is the way they consistently treated Paul with such sensitivity and respect. They did that even when he was heavily sedated and may not have known what was going on. All the staff spoke to him with the utmost respect at all times, as if he were fully awake. That was something that was just incredible to me.”
Gus, partner and carer:
“My wife Margot spent her last weeks on Martlets’ inpatient unit. What I noticed most was how well the little things were taken care of by the nursing staff. That’s the nature of care; it is the many small things done well and the promises fulfilled for those being cared for. Charm is a part of the service industry that we are all used to encountering when things are going smoothly in life. But it’s when things go wrong that charm and providing a service needs to give way to authentic care. That’s what Martlets’ nurses provide.”
Alex, family member
“When Mum deteriorated, the Martlets community team would visit us at home and were super supportive. It was during the pandemic and the nurses were great,and answered so many questions we had. The care we received at home was ongoing day in day out which was so reassuring. The nurses and doctors were so amazing and made Mum as comfortable as possible. It really was a better experience than it might’ve been because they went out of their way to put as at ease.”