A British nurse on the front line of the UK’s coronavirus crisis has given an emotional account of what it’s like to treat patients battling the infection.
The ICU nurse admitted it is a “crazy and scary time” for families, but called on everybody to “pull together and support each other”.
In an anonymous open letter to the world, the nurse admitted she is proud to treat and look after patients battling Covid-19.
With visiting restrictions now in place at hospitals, meaning many patients can no longer see their loved ones, the nurse said they and their colleagues will “do our absolute best for each and every one of you that needs us”.
The nurse also emotionally described how they said goodbye to their mum this week, not knowing when they will see them again.
NHS workers are considered to be most at risk during the outbreak due to their proximity to those infected (stock photo)
(Image: Getty Images)
“As we said goodbye I felt my mum was packing me off for war,” the nurse said.
“I guess she was in a funny kind of way. This is a war. And it’s a war I’m ready to fight in.
“Come at us Covid-19, you won’t be met with doctors and nurses, instead you will be met by warriors ready to fight you until the bitter end.”
As of 9am on Friday, 3,983 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus, while 177 patients have died.
It’s feared thousands more may have the virus, although due to testing restrictions not everyone showing symptoms is being tested.
A sign directs directs patients to an NHS 111 Coronavirus Pod testing service area for COVID-19 assessment at University College Hospital in London on March 5, 2020. – The number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the UK rose to 85 on March 4, with fears over the outbreak delaying the global release of the new James Bond movie and causing lack of demand for air travel that has proved the final nail in the coffin for British regional airline Flybe which went into administration on March 5. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP) (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)
In Italy the death toll leapt by more than 600 in one day yesterday. The death toll is now over 4,000 – more than China where the outbreak originated at the end of December.
Crematoriums in the Lombardy region are full with the army being drafted in to help transport the bodies from the outbreak.
Last night pubs, clubs, cafe and restaurants shut in the UK for the foreseeable future with schools also shutdown as the Government wrestles with the unprecedented situation.
The death toll and cases figure in the UK is expected to rise once again and further restriction in the coming days and weeks are expected.
Letter in full
As an ICU nurse during this crazy and scary time I thought I would write this letter. This letter portrays the rambling thoughts of one single nurse. However, I’m sure these feelings are felt by so many others.
There’s little doubt that Covid-19 is instilling fear. Everybody has heard about it. Everywhere you look there is news, some of it real news, a lot of it fake news and sadly, little of it good news. However, if you look around you will always find a rainbow in the storm. Acts of kindness, messages of hope.
When the human race pulls together and supports each other the results are unbelievable. Old bonds will become stronger, new bonds will be made.
Friends and family members have asked me if I regret my career choice at the moment. I did perhaps regret it… for one split second. Yes we have difficult times ahead but in many ways we are the lucky ones. For starters our jobs are safe, in fact there may well be more work than we can cope with. Secondly, we get to care for people when they’re at their weakest and most vulnerable. Let me tell you, and I know I speak for all nurses, this is one of the biggest honours there is.
Nurses across the country are doing their best to battle the virus
(Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images)
With visiting restrictions being put in place we may well become the only people these patients see. We will hold our heads high, put on our biggest smiles (which admittedly won’t be seen under the PPE) and do our absolute best for each and every one of you that needs us. We have machines and gadgets which make even the most advanced Dyson Vacuum Cleaner seem boring (okay, maybe it’s just me that gets excited by a hoover) and we will use these machines along with the best basic nursing care to give the best chances of survival.
Sadly however, we know that we won’t save everybody. A sad fact of our work in ICU is that despite our bestest attempts simply not everybody makes it. This is a fact that’s currently more prominent than ever. Dr Morgan addressed this beautifully in his letter. We as nurses echo what he said completely. We won’t forget about you. We will care for you, give you every treatment that is reasonable, laugh with you, cry with you, hold your hands and try and make you feel less scared. We are nurses and this is the core of what we do and it’s what we do best. The fancy machines and drugs are just the added extras.
A member of the public is swabbed at a drive through coronavirus testing site in Wolverhampton
(Image: Getty Images)
I waved goodbye to my mum this week knowing that I may well not see her for a few months. Her and her partner fall into the vulnerable category. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared for them. What I’d really like to do is put them in a little box, hide them away and bring them back out when all this chaos has subsided. Much like putting a tortoise into hibernation I guess. Sadly I can’t do this. I can only advise them to be sensible, limit visitors and take care of each other. As we said goodbye I felt my mum was packing me off for war. I guess she was in a funny kind of way. This is a war. And it’s a war I’m ready to fight in. Come at us Covid-19, you won’t be met with doctors and nurses, instead you will be met by warriors ready to fight you until the bitter end.
The phrase of the year ‘in a world where you can be anything, be kind’ is now more important than ever. Look out for each other, care for each other, check in on each other. Just know that us nurses are doing everything we can and we appreciate the support shown to us.
An ICU nurse.
P.S. To all those offering us free drinks we are eternally grateful, coffee is our best friend in times like this.