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Remarkable Women of the NHS
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Remarkable Women of the NHS

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Since day one at Birdsong, we've known that our customer base was made up of remarkable, caring and hard working women. It was no surprise to learn then, even back in 2014, many of our followers were NHS workers. Though we've always been in awe of everything that they do, it's even more pertinent to show our gratefulness and respect during this pandemic. We're also offering 10% off for all NHS staff - message our WhatsApp for the code. 

We asked our followers to nominate their loved ones into our Remarkable Women hall of NHS fame, for their advice, tips and real talk about what it's been like on the frontline. This is how they responded... 

Some advice from NHS workers during the COVID-19 outbreak -what it’s like:

“Working for the NHS is a massive challenge right now, but we have many moments of belly laughter and the best Mancunian banter you will hear.” - Paul and Rebecca, Manchester Royal Infirmary 

"I haven't been able to go home in over 2 weeks due to the current climate. Reality is tough. We are working really hard to keep patients in the community out of hospital as we always have and will continue to do. A message I'd like to put out there is that we must NOT forget about all the other key workers out there who are also unable to stay safe at home! They also deserve a round of applause. And for those who are stuck at home, feeling vulnerable or scared - it's time for new things - read more books, find a new hobby within the house or learn a language online. Most importantly, for all the keyworkers, all the people working from home and everyone self-isolating too, make time for self-care. It's the perfect opportunity for it."- Laura

“I've always felt proud to work for the NHS but only recently have I seen it get the recognition it deserves, as an example of healthcare that doesn't judge and doesn't exclude based on privilege or wealth. It simply is there for all...Most of my friends and colleagues were in tears for the Clap for Carers - whilst we never expect thanks, it's also something that is often understandably overlooked. To have the nation on their doorsteps in solidarity, recognising the efforts being made not just by NHS staff but all essential services at this time, was almost too much to witness. And that is why the world doesn't feel broken anymore…” - Sophia, Doctor

“I'm a junior doctor working on the Infectious Diseases Ward and have just finished a 70 hour week working, with many COVID-19 patients in my care. The past week has been a whirlwind of emotions: exhaustion, sadness (many tears have been shed), and fear about the next few months, but above all an amazing sense of gratitude. I'm thankful and immensely proud, now more than ever, that I get a chance to serve in our NHS. 

This virus doesn't discriminate against race, religion, colour or creed and neither does the treatment of any patient in our country. I'm thankful to work alongside the most compassionate of doctors, nurses, porters, domestic staff, biomedical scientists and pharmacists on the frontline. In the past week I have seen extraordinary acts of kindness in exceptionally difficult circumstances. I'm thankful for my wonderful friends and family who have made me smile on the days I wanted to just crawl into bed and not wake up for the next year. 

Finally, I'm thankful to everyone staying at home. I know that now is hugely difficult for those who are suffering from isolation, homelessness, mental illness, domestic abuse, the threat of job losses and economic insecurity. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm hopeful that our society will come through this crisis stronger, fairer and above all kinder.” - Shalin, Junior infectious Diseases Doctor

What they want you to know.

“I know there’s a lot of people hurting during this crazy scary whirlwind. A lot of families are not able to kiss their loved ones goodbye. I just hope they know that as nurses we will be there in their last moments, we will hold their hand, we won’t let them feel alone or scared. Your loved ones are our loved ones and nothing will change that.” - Laura, Nurse

“Keep up the good work to all NHS Heroes; from the Doctors and Nurses to cleaners, porters and administration staff, ambulance staff. To the firefighters, the army, volunteers and supermarket staff, simply THANK YOU. We are all in this together, and together we will win against COVID-19.” - Monica, Sister at Royal London Hospital

“Just by messaging a friend you know working for the NHS (or any key worker), irrespective of their role, will make more of a difference than you will ever know…” - Jessie, physiotherapist 

“ If you can spare any money or food, please consider donating to your local food bank. This pandemic has exposed a lot of the ugly truths of inequality, but among the positives are the support and solidarity people are showing each other through acts of kindness and the strength of our communities - if you can take action in any way, like mucking in with your local mutual aid group or spending half an hour making calls to people in self isolation in your local area (covidcall.org) it'll be really appreciated and help to spread hope at this challenging time” -Olivia, Community Mental Health Social Worker

“The amazing support from the public has boosted NHS workers’ morale no end- this is invaluable. We can achieve incredible things when we all come together (building a 4000 bed hospital in a week?!) If you feel helpless staying at home, know that you’re making a huge difference by doing just that (keep it up!)” - Sally, Doctor

“... I just know what it’s like to see them cheering when they denied us a pay rise. I also know what it’s like to work a 12 hour shift with no break and broken equipment. 3 days in a row. And so does every cleaner and porter and doctor and pharmacist and physio and healthcare assistant. We aren’t your #healthheroes. We’re people and we need you to remember this feeling. Use your anger and fear to vote for an NHS that’s fit for purpose and fully funded. For a social system that can properly support people with disabilities and complex health needs. We need you to remember us next time you’re at the polling station.” - Rhiannon, Midwife 

Top tips:

"Instead of wearing disposable gloves when out and about, just wash your hands more often and make sure you moisturise!” -  Rebecca, A&E Doctor

“Accept that you have no control over the situation. Let go of any thoughts of trying to plan too much for the next month or two. Things change so fast. Don't be angry and annoyed at the system. Anxiety goes down, and you make the best of the situation - whatever that might be for you. Accept that this is what it is and things will get easier. Try not to listen to/read/watch too much media. It WILL drive you crazy. There is a thing as too much!.” - Shujing, A&E Doctor

"Self-care can often be left at the wayside when your mind feels full to the brim with the million things you have to do that day. My tip for anyone that is struggling at the moment, is to set yourself a manageable goal each day. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem, a little victory can go a long way to improving your mental well-being. My goal yesterday was to sit on my balcony for half an hour in the sun and be mindful of the world around me. Taking time out from thinking about myself and others and just observing the present moment really helps me calm my mind. I hope this advice will help people during this time of uncertainty feel a little more in control." - Jessica, Occupational Therapy Student and health care worker 

“Appreciate this enforced downtime. When do you ever have time like this? Now is the best time to build relationships with loved ones and develop those hobbies you haven't had time for! You learn to appreciate the little things; sunshine through the window, flowers blossoming and being able to enjoy a coffee in a cafe. Last but not least: listen to what you are told, follow the rules and look out for each other. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Stay home, stay safe!” - Robyn, Anaesthetics and ICU doctor

“The only thing us nurses really care about, is keeping other people safe and well. We put ourselves through so much risk to do so; it would make our lives so much easier if other people took this more seriously. Keep yourselves safe, snuggle in, so that one day we can do the same :)” - Alice, Nurse

“I keep hearing ‘You’re safe at home, not stuck at home’ which is quite a good way of  looking at it. If you’re a family make sure you each get some time to yourself. Don’t worry if the home schooling goes out the window go with the flow.” - Rachel

“in a storm a boat drops anchor- the anchor won’t stop or control the weather, but keeps the boat steady and calm until the storm passes. We can’t control coronavirus or how we feel about it, but we can take charge of the way we respond to it and drop our own anchor until this passes…” - Shannon, teenage mental health

On behalf of all our team here and followers at Birdsong, thank you so much to everyone featured, and all key workers at this time, and always.