A kind-hearted frontline nurse from County Down has dedicated a recent award to “all nurses working everywhere” who “ploughed through the pandemic”.
Jenny McCoubrey was recently awarded Inspirational Nurse of the Year at the 2022 Inspirational Women of the Year Awards, in recognition for her work on the frontline throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The registered nurse has been working at Balmoral Healthcare at the Ulster Hospital for ten years and, after a brief career break, returned to nursing full time at the beginning of the pandemic.
From the emergency department to general hospital wards, Jenny provides care in areas that face staffing pressures to ensure that patient safety is prioritised and safe staffing levels are maintained.
Jenny described her career as a “calling” and said that when she was told about the award she was “so shocked”.
“It was definitely a nice surprise and lovely for Balmoral to put me forward for the award,” she told Belfast Telegraph.
“But this award is definitely not just for me, it’s for all the nurses who ploughed through the pandemic; others have their stories and what goes on behind closed doors but at the end of the day all nurses have one thing in common – they put others first to help.
“It’s thanks to Balmoral that I received this award and I think they definitely recognised my stamina and my ability to keep going.”
In 2021, Jenny sadly lost her son Jake to sudden adult death syndrome due to an underlying health condition.
The Bangor woman said that returning to work helped her to keep busy and to cope with her grief.
“We are still grieving to this day, but work has helped me,” she said.
“The last two years have been the hardest for me, both personally and professionally, but as a registered nurse, I take pride in helping other people and in doing whatever I can to make the lives of my patients as comfortable as possible.
“Work was really just a way to put the time in when I was struggling to get out of the house, but I know the work was vital to helping others especially during the pandemic,” she added.
“I’m only one of thousands of nurses doing this job right across the UK; so, what we do really is a team effort.”
Jenny left nursing briefly before the pandemic hit but said that she was glad she returned.
“It’s difficult everywhere at the minute, there really is nowhere escaping the difficulties the healthcare system is experiencing, whether it be bed shortages or a general shortage of nurses and doctors,” she said.
“I think this sort of job needs to be a calling for you to survive it.
“So, if any of the future generations would like to pursue nursing as a career, just go for it, follow your heart, because you won’t find another more fulfilling career.”
Kieran McCormick, Managing Director of Balmoral Healthcare said: “We are absolutely over the moon that Jenny has received the greatly deserved recognition for being an inspirational woman.
“She is a true professional and a valued member of Balmoral Healthcare and always puts the needs of her patients first.
“She continually strives to do better through building on her professional development and even at the eleventh hour, Jenny will answer the call to help and works resolutely to lighten the burden of those in her care. Congratulations Jenny, we are very proud of you.”