I was a little apprehensive about meeting an intensive care nurse during a global pandemic! They must all be under so much pressure, real life and death pressure. I need not have been worried at all when I met Georgie. Having been in intensive care myself I was well aware of the special care given by all staff in these surroundings, and Georgie was similar to all that I had come across. Kind, calm and funny, with a touch of seriousness about her.
She had been taken from her day job in the digital part of the Trust to go back into intensive care when Covid hit, which she had worked in previously for the last 20 years or so. There were so many questions I had for her, but I focused on how she was coping “ “Family and friends were nervous about me going back into intensive care during this crisis, but I had no hesitation at all, it was what I was trained to do”
There were so many parts of her work that reflected a demanding, challenging time, but I suppose the one that stuck out was when she said this “It was very emotionally challenging at times when patients were very sick with Covid. As well as intensive care training, we also had holistic care training, which means you care for the family and friends of patients as well, and you would do this normally in person.
We could do none of that during Covid, only able to communicate with loved ones by phone or Face time, which made things really hard and at times heartbreaking” I think this gave me a sense of the emotional onslaught she was dealing with each day.
I was lucky enough to visit Georgie at her home to see the place that she would go to decompress from all that was happening in her work and home life. Her husband being an intensive care consultant, and two children meant that there was a lot of juggling to do. Her small garden gave her an oasis of peace amidst all the turmoil. She really came to life talking about her plans for growing as much as she possibly could!
Covid had touched Georgie too in a profound way as she had lost her Uncle to it. So her whole family had gone through some similar things as the families she had cared for. When she went to see her mother for the first time in two years, she measured her granddaughter on the growing wall, and she had grown 19cm. “I have missed 19cm of her life” her mother told Georgie. When she told me this I knew I had to title this project 19cm.
When I asked Georgie to reflect on the period we have all just been through she said, “The NHS has always been held in high regard. But through this time it’s been about how all the different parts of it have come together, the GP’s have been phenomenal for example. It has all been just one huge effort. Leeds Trust has always been so supporting of its entire staff in such a great way. They talk the talk and walk the walk; they call it the Leeds Way!