Following on from last week, we are thrilled to introduce you to the seven amazing UK NHS frontline workers who have won a well-deserved vacation with us in the ‘Operation Recuperation’ initiative. For those of you who may have missed last week’s news, the Karma Group participated in this incredible initiative set up by Rachel Sherwood – to help front-line healthcare providers recover from the fight against Covid-19. The seven winners selected will be holidaying at one of our resorts located in Bali, Greece, India, and UK and beyond. These are their stories….
Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield
I would love to get a free stay for my husband (and of course I would go with him)! I’ve worked at Good Hope Hospital for 18 years – 17 of which have been as Bereavement Officer and then Medical Examiners Officer. The pandemic has been extremely difficult for everyone. Working in the Bereavement Office was extremely emotional and having to speak to relatives of deceased patients – sometimes speaking to family members that had lost more than one relative – was very difficult. My husband recently started working in the same hospital as a porter and was on AMU (the designated Covid ward). He ended up getting Covid and it was when he struggled to breathe that he ended up as a patient on the ward where he’d seen so many people sadly lose their lives to this awful disease. He’s now back at work and on the road to recovery, albeit very slowly. He has not been a porter for very long but I’m so proud of him which is the reason for this nomination.
St Barts Hospital
I am a trained ITU nurse and normally work throughout the hospital helping to prevent ITU admissions by treating patients on the ward. I was recruited to help on ITU during the Covid 19 outbreak and have looked after patients on ITU and supported junior staff during this time. It has been particularly stressful due to our normal coping mechanisms being altered. A holiday for myself and my partner (who is also a nurse) and for myself and my children (who I was unable to see for 10 weeks due to travel restrictions and self isolation) would be just what we need to get a sense of normality back. Thank you!
Fairfield General Hospital
During the first wave of COVID-19, I spent 4 months redeployed from the MSK department to the new COVID-19 ICU and respiratory wards to help set up our newly-formed proning team as well as the physiotherapy respiratory team. I also got engaged to my fiancé (who also works for the NHS) a week before lockdown – a bit of a strange start to engaged life. We were supposed to go away for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Canada for my 30th birthday which unfortunately was cancelled due to COVID-19. During the second and third waves I was once again redeployed, this time to help the in-patient teams with the rising number of COVID-19 patients in hospital. A year after first being redeployed, I have now started back at my normal place of work. With things hopefully looking as though they’re going in the right direction, my fiancé and I are really looking forward using the holiday very kindly donated from Karma Group and Operation Recuperation and to get married!
This has been the most challenging 12 months of my career. Work has been relentless and morale has been very low. Covid-19 is a horrible disease for the patients and dreadful for their loved ones who haven’t been able to visit them during their illness. But when patients do get better and leave intensive care, it gives me hope and has gotten me through. It’s hard to switch off from work, even on days off, and I would love a holiday!
Kings College Hospital
Whilst the world was just learning of COVID-19, my ward suffered seriously with lack of knowledge, no testing and no access to PPE. Unfortunately I became unwell and tested positive. I spent two weeks at home, completely housebound, no interaction with friends or family. My family live in Belfast and supported me through FaceTime where possible. As a nurse, I thankfully got through the illness and returned back to to work earlier than I should have for fear of my colleagues working in the pressurised environment. We dealt with things that I never dreamt of. There were days that we just couldn’t help people and the only thing we could do was make them the most comfortable we could whilst reassuring their family we were with them over the phone! There were many days I thought I wanted to give up and cried myself to sleep for my patients but my colleagues were the biggest support throughout it all. I had a volunteering trip booked to Uganda in June for which I raised £2,000 through fundraising and paid for my flights. Unfortunately this had to be cancelled as the NHS came first for me. We aren’t through the pandemic yet, but we’re certainly at a stronger point in the NHS and I feel like we can finally breathe and reflect on all the hard work and emotions we went through. I really am proud to be a nurse in the NHS and I’m so fortunate I was able to be a part of all my patients’ journies, through discharging and unfortunately for those that sadly lost their lives to Covid-19. May they rest in peace.
Queen Elizabeth Birmingham
I am a band 6 critical care nurse who worked solidly on COVID ITU throughout the pandemic. These were the hardest times of my career, caring for the sickest of patients and multiple numbers of them. At the same time, I am due to be married in September however have had to postpone due to the restrictions in place. This stay would give me and my fiancé a great pick-me-up and would be very much appreciated. However, whoever wins, thank you for your kindness – these gestures really make me appreciate our country and our sense of togetherness. Thank you!
I worked as a critical care doctor on the intensive care unit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hospital in Birmingham was one of the worst hit in the country. Our shifts were substantially changed and, for months, I worked a rota of 50:50 day or night shifts, each 12hrs long. The rota was rolling and marched through weekends. The whole thing was completely exhausting. Clinically the work was tough, dealing with an unpredictable and devastating illness that the medical community knew relatively little about. We tried our best to provide the absolute best care we could to so many, but unfortunately many did not survive. We cared for young and old, the vulnerable, those with co-morbidities, those previously very fit and, distressingly, our own healthcare staff. Outside of work, the strains were also felt by my wife as I was so regularly tired, stressed, irritable, and often not present. Understandably, all plans for annual leave and holidays were cancelled at short notice. Now things have settled down and after going through so much, I really feel I could do with a holiday!