‘We are the last people that some see’: Queen’s Hospital Covid-19 nurse reveals how acts of kindness keep her going
PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 May 2020
A nurse has described how acts of kindness have helped her cope with working on a Covid-19 ward.
Jordan Leatherbarrow from Collier Row completed an access to nursing course at Barking and Dagenham College five years ago, going on to complete an adult nursing degree.
The 27-year-old has worked at Queen’s Hospital, Romford since graduating in 2018. When the pandemic began, the oncology and haematology area she worked on was converted to a Covid ward.
In her new role, Jordan is responsible for looking after Covid-19 patients who are very ill, but not in intensive care. Jordan said: “It’s a whole different type of nursing. We had to learn very quickly. It was a big adjustment.
“We were completely maxed out at the start of the pandemic and it continues to go up and down, but we are slowly getting through it.
“It’s been very challenging and also very sad. We have to try to put a smile on our faces because we realise that we are the only faces that many of the patients can see. Very sadly, we are the last people that some see.
“My team are all amazingly supportive of one another and the public had provided the hospital with so many donations which helped us get through some of the tougher days.”
Jordan was cheered by the delivery of an oil painting of herself wearing personal protective kit, which was painted for free by artist Xiaobang Zhang.
A project called Portraits for NHS Heroes was started by artist Thomas Croft in April when he offered to paint a free portrait for the first NHS worker to reply.
Jordan was delighted to be selected by the artist from Edinburgh and received her treasured oil painting last week.
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She said: “It was such a kind thing for the artist to do and also all of the other artists that have taken part in the project.
“It has pride of place on my wall and will be cherished forever. This, and other kind acts by people, have been so important to my mental health over the past two months.
“As it is mental health awareness week and the theme is kindness, I just wanted to say, ‘Thank you’ and to remind people of the positive effect that doing kind things can do.”
Jordan has a seven-year-old son, Harrison, and her partner is a police officer, so juggling the challenges of being key workers and managing childcare has been tough.
However, there has been a positive side to the situation.
“I suffer from quite bad anxiety and often worry about the little stuff. However, this situation has required me to focus on the practical things, things like the fact that my partner and I have to make sure that we thoroughly clean ourselves and our clothes every time we return to our home after our shifts,” Jordan said.
“The challenge of juggling childcare has kept me busy and enabled me to focus on sorting out these things. Somewhat oddly, this has actually eased my anxiety.”
Jordan’s proud mum is following in her daughter’s footsteps by studying an access to nursing course at the same college where she studied.
Amanda, 47, is due to study nursing at university this autumn.
She said: “As a single mum of three, I’ve done my best to bring up my children. Looking after people comes naturally to me. I had children young and always knew I wanted to complete a degree once they were grown up.
“I failed my own education and that was something I have always regretted. I’ve found college very inspiring. All of my tutors have been brilliant, they don’t let you struggle, and they are very helpful.
“For me, it was about having confidence to keep going and not give up. My daughter Jordan is my biggest inspiration and, along with my college tutor Annie Woods, I wouldn’t be here today without them.”
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