Emma Kelly

Critical Care Nurse, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Emma KellyAbout two weeks ago, I had the hardest day of my career so far. One of my patients deteriorated rapidly and a decision was made to switch to end of life care. The patient was a COVID-19 case which meant family visits were restricted. Sitting there holding her hand and relaying messages from her family is something that will stay with me forever. At one point, I had to run upstairs to compose myself. Five minutes later I knew I had to get back to the ward as I had another very sick patient whose relatives were only able to briefly visit. I sat with them, held their hand and kept telling them how much their family loved them.

I originally started training in Australia before returning to England to finish. Nothing makes me prouder than working for the NHS and providing healthcare to everyone. Having lived abroad and seeing how other healthcare systems work, I know there is nothing in the world like this.

Our amazing team has grown even bigger with nurses from other specialisms who have been deployed to help us. It means we’ve also taken on a more supportive role as we know this environment can be very daunting and we want to be there for them. We are so thankful for their help and couldn’t have done it without them.

It can be really difficult going home after a hard shift. Running has been a good release, and a really good way to reflect. I am very close to my family too and have been speaking to my parents a few times a day in lockdown. However, its music that’s one of my biggest loves – especially Ibiza classics which remind me of freer times holidaying on the island. I love bonding with patients over music as well, a patient recently asked me if I could play some Rod Stewart, so we put on a playlist and listened together on the computer. Afterwards he said, ‘Thank you so much, you don’t know how much that means to me’. Moments like that make this job so special.

At first, I thought it must be the wrong Emma as I feel like I’m just doing the job I’ve been trained to do. I didn’t know what to expect but I am so proud to have been involved and loved the process.