Nurses have been on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 but it’s not just nurses in the NHS.
Nurses working for The Kirkwood, the Huddersfield-based hospice, have been protecting patients, whether out in the community, at home or at the In-Patient Unit.
Throughout the pandemic, The Kirkwood nurses have been determined to play their role alongside the NHS. And being fully vaccinated is a key part of their fight against the virus.
Every day for the last 13 months, Kirkwood teams have spent their working days dressed from head-to-toe in personal protective equipment (PPE) as they do everything in their power to protect patients from the risks posed by coronavirus.
The announcement of a vaccine back in late 2020 was the news everyone had been waiting to hear, and it was a crucial next step for The Kirkwood nurses in their fight against coronavirus.
In-Patient Unit practice development sister, Sonia Tyndall, along with her team of nurses, have continued to work tirelessly throughout the crisis – not only protecting our patients, but supporting one another at the same time.
Sonia has shared how the last 13 months have compared to her previous 11 years working with The Kirkwood.
She said: “I’ve worked at The Kirkwood for 12 years now in various roles. Starting as a senior staff nurse before becoming a practice development nurse. I then worked a secondment as a lecturer practitioner at the University of Huddersfield before taking on the role of practice development sister.
“I’ve always wanted to work for The Kirkwood. As a nurse, I wanted to be part of the high-quality care that we provide for our patients. Even though I’m now a sister, I still get to do the hands-on nursing that I love.
“As nurses, we go through our training, but nothing prepares you to deal with a crisis like this. We have all had to pull together and play our part alongside our NHS colleagues.
“It’s been a really anxious time working throughout the pandemic but we all feel so lucky to be able to come to work and do our bit for our community.
“Our patients are some of the most vulnerable in our community and they were all on the shielding list so it was really important for us, as they came under our care, to support them in that shielding and protect them from being at risk of catching Covid-19.
“And our team have been amazing. The way they’ve pulled together, alongside those working in the NHS, they haven’t just done it for The Kirkwood, they’ve done it for everyone.
“Their vigilance in following rules, the Government guidance and the Infection Prevention guidance that we’ve put in place, has kept our patients safe. It’s prevented us from getting an outbreak of the virus on the In-Patient Unit.”
As the threat from coronavirus increased across Kirklees, many of The Kirkwood team had to self-isolate in order to protect service users and their colleagues.
Sonia added: “At one point, a number of our nurses needed to self-isolate to prevent potentially spreading the virus. But now we have had the vaccine, it helps us to ensure that we won’t have as many isolating in the future.
“It’s important for us all to get the vaccine, but for us as nurses, it makes us safer when we’re caring for patients. Not only are we at less risk of carrying and passing the virus on, but it means we can be here to care for our patients and carry out our duties.
“The vaccine, in conjunction with important measures such as wearing face masks, maintain good hand hygiene and social distancing, is our best hope of the pandemic coming to an end.
“Although there was some concern over how quickly the vaccines were approved, I feel confident that the Government have done everything correctly.
“The MHRA completed all their checks and regulations. I feel confident that it’s safe and they were able to do it quickly because of how much effort was put into it.”
Sonia and her team have now had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and want to encourage the local community across Kirklees to get booked in if they are currently eligible.
“It’s really important to have the vaccine. Not only will it help to protect us as individuals, it will help to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus to others, which protects those around us. It will allow us to get back to some sort of normality.”