for professional reasons we're not giving this young woman's full name or the hospital where she works
Hello, I am Rachel. I am a children’s nurse and have been for over 12 years. As a nurse, you are always aware that if a major incident were to occur, you could be called to work in whatever area needed. However, you never really think this would happen to you. At the start of this pandemic last March, we all received a letter from the nursing and midwifery council that we may be called to work outside our usual field of practise depending on how the pandemic unfolded. The ward I worked on closed as elective surgery was cancelled to help free up beds and staff for potential Covid patients. I received a call late one Tuesday afternoon, to say as of tomorrow you will be working on the children’s intensive care unit. I spent 3 months working there which was very challenging but thankfully children in general were not affected as badly as first feared and therefore I was not needed to the extent first thought. My ward reopened in July, but I believe this experience was to prepare me for what was to come.
When the second wave hit, my job role was even more uncertain. My ward closed again and I spent a month working somewhere new each shift and I found this very unsettling. We had been told that volunteers were needed to help on numerous wards within the adult hospitals and this scared me. There was a chance that I could turn up to work and be told to go to another hospital. I shared this anxiety with some close friends at church and their words really encouraged me that God would give me the skills I needed, if and when they were required.
A short while later, we were asked if anyone would volunteer to go and work on an adult intensive care unit at another hospital. I felt compelled to help my adult nursing colleagues even though I was terrified of the prospect. I prayed about it, and felt it was the right thing to do so I put my name forward. I was redeployed to adult intensive care in the middle of January 2021 and all I can say is I felt a great deal of peace about the situation. I cannot explain the environment I initially entered, but God gave me the strength to do what was needed. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone but I felt completely like I was meant to be there. I worked there for 10 weeks.
God has empowered me to use the skills I have to help others and has blessed me with the very kind words of friends and family and particularly my friends from my worship team at church. God had prepared the way for me in March 2020 by sending me to the paediatric intensive care unit. You may not always see it at the time, but God is there beside you, preparing the way for what you may have to face in the future.
My favourite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29 verse 11 which says, ‘I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.’ I have learnt during this pandemic to truly hold this verse near even when I don’t understand.
EDITOR: I THINK I SPEAK FOR EVERONE WHEN I SAY THAT WE SHALL BEFOR EVER INDEBTED TO PEOPLE LIKE RACHEL WHO PUT THEIR OWN LIVES AT RISK TO CARE FOR THE REST OF US. WE'LL NEVER HAVE A BIG ENOUGH VOCABULARY TO SAY HOW MUCH WE VALUE THE WORK DONE BY ALL OUR FRONT-LINE WORKERS. "THNAK YOU" JUST ISN'T BIG ENOUGH!