International Nurses Day 2020: An open letter from Andrew Russell, Chief Nurse

Dear Colleagues,

RE: Open letter to all of our Doncaster nursing staff

Tuesday 12 May is International Nurses Day and today I write this open letter to publicly thank each and every member of our nursing family working in Doncaster at the moment.

I would like to begin by expressing my thanks and appreciation to nurses working in these challenging times and for the dedication and professionalism you continue to demonstrate.

As Chief Nurse for NHS Doncaster CCG, I am proud of how the wide range of nursing professionals we have in Doncaster have responded to the Covid-19 emergency across our town. You have all demonstrated positivity and courage across the various practices and service areas we have in our borough.

Your ongoing professionalism and hard work has never been more vital or more valued by your health and care colleagues and the patients you look after. The applause that has erupted from doorsteps across the country at 8pm on Thursday nights shows how much your work is appreciated. I hope you find some comfort in these moments and reflect on the appreciation the public have for your excellent work. I know times are tough, but have no doubt – you are all saving many lives each day and bringing comfort to the people you care for during this breakout.

In Doncaster, we’ve been moved by the sheer volume of key worker households we have in our community and have seen many touching photos of children drawing rainbows which ask the public to stay home whilst their mum and dad go to work.

What we are currently experiencing is unprecedented. The dedication that you have shown patients and the sacrifices you have made are astounding; I can truly say I’ve never felt more proud to be part of our nursing community. Your work, commitment and dedication, from birth, right through to end of life care is vital. And particularly in the Coronavirus outbreak, I know nurses working in and supporting end of life care are facing increased demand, not just physically, but emotionally too. Just being there for patients, their carers and their families in these pressured times is something that families will never forget.

This situation has required the entire NHS workforce to be flexible and work in ways we never have before. I would like to thank you all for your unrivalled work ethic, your understanding and your compassion for people because above all else, that is what will be remembered once we are over this pandemic.

I firmly believe that the work you are all doing will be written about in history books of the future. You are inspiring younger generations to join our nursing family and encouraging those who left to come back. Above all, you are showing people kindness and hope in an unsettling time.

You all represent one of the world’s most trusted brands, the distinct blue colour and NHS logo is something the nation holds dear to our hearts. Thank you for being the most wonderful ambassadors of our most treasured institution.

I would also like to acknowledge the personal impact Coronavirus is having on us all and encourage you to make time for your own wellbeing. As nursing staff, we are familiar with providing care for patients and their loved ones, but now we may also be concerned for our own safety and that of our families. I ask that you look after each other and take time to check in with your colleagues. Every day brings new challenges and adapted ways of working and it’s imperative you all maintain your own wellbeing as well as that of your family.

It’s my hope that as we move through this pandemic we continue to learn from the experience we have gathered. You will all agree that some things have changed for the better in the ways we have worked and responded to Covid-19 in the health care sector and beyond; I hope we can harness these changes and continue to be innovative to deliver the best possible care to our patients.

I want to finish by emphasising my appreciation for everyone who is a member of the nursing community regardless of where you work. There are many of you working outside of direct care in areas such as research, education, policy and commissioning. All of you are contributing to the global fight against this virus and in turn, protecting and saving many lives.

Thank you to all of you.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Russell, Chief Nurse at NHS Doncaster CCG