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Reflections on the last 12 months

Date: 22 March 2021 to 31 December 2098

Reflections on the past 12 months

Tomorrow (Tuesday 23 March) marks a year since the UK went into its first lockdown.

Across the country there is a National Day of Reflection planned, with a minute’s silence at midday to remember everyone who has died during the pandemic.

Mani Pang, one of our Community Sisters (pictured right with therapy dog CoCo), has written a powerful personal reflection piece, which we would like to share with you.

"My name is Mani. I am a district nurse student, working with the Brighton & Hove and Lancing Primary Care Network community nursing teams.

"It is my honour to share some of my personal experiences with you today.

"As the first anniversary of the first lockdown approaches, my working life as a district nurse student during the COVID pandemic has been the most challenging time of my career and that of my colleagues.

"I have seen how my patients have overcome being placed on ventilation in intensive care, only to be rapidly discharged home into the community with little in the way of family or neighbourhood support. Swift discharge in order to facilitate beds for the newer acutely unwell patients has left them dealing with not only the physical effects of this horrendous disease, but also the mental scars and anguish still very much present once the physical impairment has started to diminish.

"Community nursing services have been put under intolerable pressure with caseloads ever-increasing but I am constantly amazed and overwhelmed at the courage and dogged determination of my friends and colleagues to fight for each and every one of their acutely ill patients to prevent them from having to go into hospital, delivering complex care at their bedside, behind closed doors. 

"This is not without consequences: combating infection, supporting a dying person who cannot have their family around them whilst wearing full PPE is leading to burnout within our professional community. 

"I have sat with relatives during the news that their loved one only has a short time to live.

"I have witnessed the abject misery of families losing a father, a mother, a brother, aunt or sister that they have not been able to see for months. Supporting a family who is losing their loved one is all too common, all whilst worrying if today is the day that you will succumb to COVID-19 and how bad it will be?

"I have been thanked regularly for the work that I do by strangers in the street – letting me go ahead in the queues was a small gesture for them but lightened my load by that small act of kindness. However, the media has not recognised the district nursing teams in the same way as hospital staff. We have supported each other through the increased demands of the service with astonishingly compassionate care of each other and our patients.

“A quote from Florence Nightingale: 'How very little can be done under the spirit of fear' - an apt statement to describe my working life today. Fear can be seen mingling with tears in the eyes of every nurse I work with, but they then rise to the challenge in front of them. We support each other to keep going and I have never felt so much pride, in being a community nurse, as I do at this time.

"The district nursing service has people of all nationalities: we are a rainbow family.  I like to think I’m a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.

"Community nurses carry on 24hrs a day in all scenarios: now we can add a global pandemic to this!"