Nurses thank colleagues for work during 'horrific' pandemic year this International Nurses Day

NURSES from the Portsmouth area are praising colleagues and fellow medical staff this International Nurses Day.

By Emily Jessica Turner
Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 11:46 am
Melanie Poulter
Melanie Poulter

Celebrated every May 12 - the birthday of nursing icon Florence Nightingale - it is an annual day of celebration for nurses.

Today many of these medical workers are reflecting back over what has been a unique year.

Melanie Poulter and Sandra Spong are both heads of nursing and allied health professionals for the south east.

Sandra Spong

Sandra, who covers Fareham and Gosport, said: ‘We will be marking International Nurses Day by celebrating being a team together. It’s especially poignant after the past year.

Melaine, who covers south-east Hampshire, said: ‘It’s been one of the most challenging years in my nursing career, and I’ve been qualified since 1994. It’s tested all of our knowledge bases, and we’ve had to consider how best to look after our staff as well as our patents.

Sandra, who lives in Waterlooville, added: ‘We’ve never been exposed to anything like this in our lives.

‘It was really scary.

Jacky Hunt

‘We had to learn how to put the PPE on properly, how best to keep ourselves and our families safe.’

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Melaine, from Stubbington, said: ‘As we moved deeper into the pandemic, we learned more about how the disease affected patients, and some of it was horrific.

‘We needed to pull on each other and every one of us to support our patients.’

Both Melanie and Sandra say that their message to their staff and other nurses on May 12 is a resounding ‘thank you’.

Sandra said: ‘I don’t know what we’d have done during the pandemic without the experience and expertise of the NHS. Everyone who worked within it should be extremely proud.’

Sarah Radley is clinical team lead for health visitors and has a background in nursing.

She lives in Eastleigh, and has worked throughout the pandemic to support families with new babies and young children.

Sarah said: ‘We’ve been working to help these families not feel so isolated even when they can’t have the support of their extended families. A lot of local groups had shut.

‘A lot of our work was virtual but we were also able to have some face to face presence for these new mums.

‘It was a quite stressful time - you have your own family as a nurse but you’re still working.

‘But as a committed nurse, you have to put that aside and recognise the needs of the family you’re helping.

‘A lot of my co workers really stepped up and now they are feeling tired.

‘It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but you take solace in the fact that you’re helping people.

‘All nurses should be so proud of the commitment they have shown - where would society be without them?

‘Nurses have supported their communities and their country. Well done everybody.’

Jacky Hunt has written a blog talking about her experience as the lead nurse for infection prevention control across Hampshire throughout the pandemic.

In her blog, Jacky, who graduated nearly 30 years ago, writes: ‘Hands-down, this has been the most professionally interesting, all absorbing and exhausting time of my entire career.

‘Most of the time I felt I kept my head above water but every now and again, a new situation would occur in the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic - like a tidal


‘I felt overwhelmed, ineffective, unprepared and although I was definitely was not solely responsible for the safety of others – I did feel the burden of responsibility.

‘What got me through apart from a strong faith and Netflix? Kindness! Kindness from the public.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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