Stories from the Heart: Kate's story
Kate is a Critical Care Nurse at Wrexham Maelor Hospital. Her specialist role involves caring for extremely sick patients who require high levels of care.
I work on the Critical Care Unit which receives the patients that are the most unwell. Many of the patients are on ventilators or have had major surgery. They need a lot of care, such as requiring 1 to 1 care, close monitoring, or specific pain relief. Working within the Critical Care Unit is extremely intense, you must be on the ball constantly as patients can deteriorate quickly.
I am also a part of the follow up and bereavement team as I feel passionately about supporting patients and their loved ones, when they pass away. Now that the pandemic has passed, we are able to make home visits to see some of the families of patients we lost during the pandemic. It was a really difficult period for everyone so it’s really important to talk about what happened and share memory boxes funded by Awyr Las, our NHS Charity.
Whilst we’ve moved on from the pandemic, things will never go back to normal. We do still get Covid patients and when that happens, staff worry that we will experience another wave. We would be able to do it again if we had to, but this is a big fear for my staff who are still recovering from this time.
NHS staff are really struggling at the moment. Since the pandemic, the number of patients hasn’t decreased at all. During the pandemic, we only cared for Covid patients, but now we get a mixture of Covid patients and other types. For example, we now have patients admitted with flu, which we haven’t seen in the past couple of years.
I am a huge supporter of wellbeing projects for staff within the hospital. Recently, the matron has started raising money to develop a new garden for the critical care team. Projects like this are so important as we will be able to take patients there, and staff can also take time out to reflect. It’s important to have these areas as sometimes we have particularly difficult cases, such as when we see young people, and we must take the time to process what we have experienced before taking on new patients. Staff can also have other pressures going on outside of the hospital and may want space to recharge before returning to the intensity of the ward.
I’ve worked in the NHS for 24 years – I decided one day that I wanted to become a nurse and I never looked back. We are so lucky to have the NHS compared to other countries. I feel very passionately that we should protect it and support NHS staff.