Meet the Northampton nursing lecturer who answered Government calls to return to the frontline

"The 12 hour shifts and wearing PPE have been exhausting, but worth it to be able to make a positive difference in a time of crisis"

Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 3:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 3:04 pm

A nursing lecturer who worked as a nurse before taking up teaching answered Government calls to return to the frontline during the pandemic.

Sharon Smith has been a senior lecturer in Early Years at the University of Northampton for 15 years, but previously worked as a staff nurse at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London before becoming a health visitor.

In March this year, when the Government called for retired or out of practice nurses to return to professional practice Sharon knew she only had one answer.

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Sharon Smith answered calls for retired nurses to help out on the frontline.

After intense refresher clinical skills training, she was given the uniform and allocated a medical ward at Northampton General Hospital, working as a healthcare assistant.

Sharon said: “I returned to the nursing family after 25 years, which was terrifying but hugely rewarding.

“The 12 hour shifts and wearing PPE have been exhausting, but worth it to be able to make a positive difference in a time of crisis.

“Despite my rusty clinical skills, I was able to care for patients and provide additional support to incredibly hard working and tired nursing staff on a busy ward.

“It was a huge privilege to care for the patients who had no family or friends visiting and they relied on our kindness and smiling eyes behind the masks.

“The energy and teamwork on the wards has been incredible to witness, and the opportunity to work alongside our fantastic nursing students has been amazing – I feel so proud of them!

“It’s several weeks since I started and I’m now back at UoN but I’m very grateful to the University and especially my Early Years colleagues and my family for supporting me to do this.

“We aren’t quite out of the woods yet, so we ask people to continue abiding by the official guidance and stay alert.”

Mark Smith, Chief People Officer for Northampton and Kettering General Hospitals added: “We are incredibly grateful to all our people for going above and beyond throughout this pandemic.

“We especially welcome the support of those returning to practice, whose contributions have been invaluable.

“They have made an immense impact in the care we were able to give our patients, in what for everyone has been a really challenging time, so we’d like to say thank you to all those, like Sharon, who chose to re-join the NHS over the past few months.”

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