Alison’s story – being a nurse during COVID-19
"My team have been in a unique and what I consider privileged position, supporting these patients when their loved ones can’t."
Patient recruitment for studies was suspended as soon as COVID 19 came along and our focus for the last 10 weeks has been recruiting hospitalised COVID patients for research that may help us understand more about the virus. This may involve taking samples from patients such as throat swabs, bloods or randomising patients to drug studies. Additionally, I have been supporting staff by providing nursing care in the COVID wards. This has been busy and very challenging at times, both physically and mentally, but also exciting to be part of.
My team have been in a unique and what I consider privileged position, supporting these patients when their loved ones can’t. One thing that was very evident to me from the start was how few personal belongings these patients had. This could be anything from toiletries, reading glasses, phone chargers and nightwear. Most people were admitted under emergency conditions and with families isolating they had nobody to provide them with items we take for granted.
I decided to put out an appeal on for toiletries and £500 to buy an iPad that I thought would be useful to connect families. The appeal gathered momentum quickly and within a week we had reached around £20,000!
We came up with the idea of Rainbow Boxes – coloured, organised drawers of single use essential items that would be easily accessible in wards. We decided that a nightwear Rainbow Box would partner each ‘essential items’ Rainbow Box as nightwear has been something desperately needed by patients.
We also provided all COVID wards at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with iPads enabling families to connect with loved ones in hospital. These moments for me as a nurse were so special and memories that will never leave me. I connected a wife with her husband just days before he sadly passed away.
I’m so proud of what we have achieved. We are now a registered charity and have provided over 60 wards across 10 hospital sites in and around Edinburgh with Rainbow boxes.
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