International Nurses' Day 2020 - Celebrating our nurses

Ann-Marie Murtagh

Ann-Marie Murtagh

"My usual role is Research and Innovation Director and Head of Nursing for Research. I have responsibility for all research conducted within King’s College Hospital. I provide strategic, professional and operational research nursing leadership across the Trust to ensure that research is carried out safely and effectively and with the needs of patients at the heart of all we do.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic I was able to carry on part-time in my usual research role as research is one of the four pillars of the Government’s COVID-19 response strategy, as well as working part-time as a registered nurse on one of our wards providing cover on evening rotas. The ward was designated as an admissions ward taking patients from ED with suspected COVID. Once swab results were known patients were moved to the appropriate wards or, if well enough, discharged home.
This was the first time I had worked clinically for more than 15 years. I was apprehensive about going back to frontline nursing and was grateful for the refresher training sessions provided by King’s. However, electronic drug charts were terrifying for some time!

"On the ward I was responsible for 3-4 patients during a shift and provided all of the required nursing care. During April it was extremely busy and I was surprised at how rusty basic nursing skills were quickly remembered. After a couple of shifts, and huge support from the regular and redeployed ward staff, I thoroughly looked forward to my clinical days. The interaction and feedback from patients was amazing and there was huge job satisfaction, whether caring for someone at end of life or getting a patient ready for discharge home.

"I was really impressed with the team work and camaraderie within the ward from nursing, medical and support staff, especially as many of us were working outside our normal areas. I hope to find a way to incorporate some hands-on clinical time within my job plan when things return to the “new normal”.

"My husband and grown up sons are currently all staying at home during the COVID pandemic. My husband is a mental health matron and has been continuing to go into work during this time also. There has been some concern from the boys regarding whether there were more at risk because I was working with patients who had the virus, but once I explained that the scrubs we wore were left at work and the PPE and precautions were in place they were reassured. It has been much harder on my parents who live locally but are over 70. I haven’t been over to see them in person for the whole time and they are finding the lock down very difficult – they are used to having visitors most days.

"There are four nurses/midwives who live down our road and the neighbours are always keen for us to be visible on Thursdays at 8pm and really let us know how much the NHS generally is appreciated, which is really nice.

"I think this International Nurses’ Day is a particularly special one. Although nurses play a pivotal role in patient health and wellbeing every day, it’s during challenging times like these that the importance of nurses in our hospitals, healthcare centres and within the community is really brought to the fore. You can probably see and hear the gratitude that people have for the work that nurses and other frontline workers do at 8pm every Thursday (like my neighbours)! So, on International Nurse’s Day, I’d say be proud to be a nurse and know that you are appreciated – every day - by people around the world."