The student nurse who put her heartbreak aside to work on the Covid-19 frontline at KGH

Coronavirus claimed three of her nearest and dearest - but Alley has been determined to help

Alley Eyre.
Alley Eyre.

Student nurse Alley Eyre lost three of her nearest and dearest to Covid-19 this year.

That would have taken many several months to get over - but Alley has put her pain aside to help on the coronavirus frontline at Kettering General Hospital.

She is nearing the end of her adult nursing degree at the University of Northampton and for her current clinical placement has been caring for Covid-19 patients on Harrowden A ward at the Rothwell Road hospital.

Her ‘new normal’ has involved intense but rewarding 13-hour shifts, in full PPE. This includes wearing a face mask - not easy when you also wear spectacles - and a full-length suit.

When the Government originally called for nursing students to ‘opt-in’ for clinical extended placements and provide extra people hours during the pandemic, Alley signed up automatically.

She said: “I said yes straight away. My argument was, I want to be a nurse and the coronavirus situation - although scary - wasn’t going to go away just like that. If I had been qualified, I would have continued working.

“For me, the pandemic is the perfect environment to learn more about working during a crisis and add to my skills. Yes, the heat from the suit is draining, but it’s not difficult to continue with my tasks and only adds a minute or so extra to my usual getting ready time.

“Personally, I’ve been hit hard by Covid. My aunt, uncle and also a close friend died from it, but what keeps me going is knowing that I am helping my patients and their families.

“But my family have been really supportive - my husband said he wasn’t in the least bit surprised that I ‘opted-in’ - even when I grounded them all at the start of lockdown and, with four energetic kids at home, that was no small feat!”

Kettering General Hospital’s director of nursing and quality, Leanne Hackshall, said: “I want to thank Alley and all of our student nurses for the courage and dedication to duty they have committed during the pandemic.

“They have been fully involved in patient care throughout this emergency and have learned new skills at pace in a highly pressurised environment.

“I am extremely pleased and proud of the way they have done this and the support they have provided for our patients and their ward colleagues during a very difficult time for the hospital - and indeed for the whole community.

“I am also delighted with the incredible support our ward teams have given the student nurses to ensure that they have been able to cope well while continuing to learn and develop their skills.

“As a trust we will continue to support all our learners to achieve their academic and professional development goals.”

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