A NURSE who had just landed her first job after graduation months before the pandemic hit has spoken of her time on the Covid wards.
Abbie O’Loughlin started working for Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (the QE) in October 2019 after completing Adult Nursing at Birmingham City University where she specialised in Burns and Plastic Surgery.
Within months her career took a dramatic turn and she, alongside thousands of others, was on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19.
She said: “It was surreal, and I think it’s hard for some people to imagine the realities of what was happening in hospitals at that time.
“The ward I was working at had closed in March 2020 and I was moved to Covid wards.
“For about a year, I would come in every day and was assigned a different ward, most of the time it was the Covid respiratory ward.”
The 23-year-old, who started her training as a health and social care student at Solihull College and University Centre, worked tirelessly throughout the first and second wave of the pandemic caring for those who weren’t allowed visitors.
In January 2021 she was assigned to the Intensive Therapy Unit for two months.
She said: “We all took on this duty and got on with it.
“I went from seeing four people pass away during my entire training to seeing four people pass away in a single day.
“There was one day when I witnessed three people die in the space of four hours.
“I had to grow up fast. What I took away from this experience was how important it is to take care of each other.”
When the other wards began to open Abbie was given the chance to focus on her specialist area and now works primarily in ENT Maxillofacial and Plastic Surgery wards.
Speaking on life as a nurse she said: “Nobody comes into this field for the money or prestige, we do it for our patients, our care for them pushes us.
“I grew up in a very nurturing and caring environment and it’s what inspired me to become a nurse. It’s a rewarding career.”
Solihull College and University Centre said it is grateful for the sacrifices Abbie made to keep us all safe during the Covid-19 pandemic and is proud of her success.