To my fellow nurses,
I write this letter to you my colleagues, my comrades, my friends. I know you are scared. I know this because I am scared too. Scared of what each shift will hold. Scared because you know that no matter what, it feels as though you can never do enough. That no matter what you do, you cannot make a difference. Many of us are taking on roles we never expected to in our careers. Taking on roles which we are literally being thrown into.
Sometimes I feel those expectations set on us, by ourselves, and by the public are not achievable. We are the so called superheroes, the army in blue. Going into battle with our armour of masks and aprons. Fighting with our hearts and brains to take on an invisible enemy. But what choice do we have? We cannot step away, we cannot stay at home. Although would we want to? We are nurses for a reason, after all.
Our bodies are battered. At the end of a shift you feel so drained both physically and mentally. The toll of wearing personal protective equipment can sometimes be too much. Your eyes feel heavy, your feet feel heavy, your heart feels heavy. We do not only take on our own fears, but the fears of our patients too. We take on the fears of their families when we hear them over the phone. We take on the fears of our friends and families, the fears they have for us.
So I write to you my fellow nurses, acknowledging the struggles you face, as I face them too. I want to tell you that it is okay that you feel scared. It is okay that you feel out of your depth. It is okay that you feel tired and exhausted, mentally and physically. What we are going through as a profession is unlike anything we have experienced before. What we are doing is extremely hard. You should not feel bad if you feel like you are struggling. I want you to know you are not on your own.
I want you to realise how amazing you are, how amazing your colleagues are, how amazing we all are. In the face of this we are still as resilient and adaptable as we have always been. Nurses across the NHS are being redeployed to intensive care units, being trained in things they've never done before. Some have volunteered to go and work in NHS Nightingale. Some are moving away from their families to protect them and be closer to hospitals. Some even despite losing a loved one themselves continue to work as hard as ever to provide patients with the best possible care. Everyone is doing their absolute best, and when it feels like it is not enough, I promise you it is.
I do not think this was what anyone expected when it was announced, at the start of the year, that 2020 would be the year of the nurse. I do not think any nurse expected what is happening now to happen in their careers or their lifetimes. Yet, here we are.
Why did we become nurses? To be there for someone in their hour of need. And gosh! We are needed now more than ever. But who will be there in our hour of need? One thing I know for sure, we will be there for each other. We will come through this together with the support of our colleagues, our friends, our families, and the public. This will pass. This is temporary. After every storm, there is always a rainbow.
All my love
If you feel like you have nobody to talk to the NHS helpline provides a telephone support service for front-line staff from 7am to 11pm and an equivalent text service 24/7, phone 0300131700 or text FRONTLINE to 85258.