A student nurse who is about to be thrust on to the front line of the NHS has said: “I’m going in there with a smile and will take what comes.”
Bethaney Nicolson, 24, is a final-year nursing student at the University of Hull who will find out this week where in the NHS she is heading out to help at the height of the coronavirus crisis.
Mother-of-two Ms Nicolson, from Cleethorpes, said she started off being angry that the pandemic had hit just at the moment she was completing her training.
But she said she is now excited and proud to be able to help.
She told the PA news agency: “I’ve gone through a mixture of emotions. First I was angry – why us? Why couldn’t it happen further on?
“I’m sort of excited now. There’s still some sort of anxiety behind it – what if we take it home to our families?
“But it’s all what-ifs, and you never know until you actually get there and have to face it. So, just going out there with an open mind, I think that’s best way to be.
“I’m going in there with a smile and will take what comes.”
Ms Nicolson said she will have an intensive two-hour course to get used to using personal protective equipment (PPE) and stressed that, as a final-year student, she will still be supervised and not be able to carry out certain tasks by herself, like giving medication.
She said she had experience of traumatic situations of a different type when she was caught up in the Easter bombings during a placement in Sri Lanka last year.
I'm excited, really excited to go out - excited to make a difference, reallyBethaney Nicolson
She gained valuable experience helping in hospital in the aftermath but it also gave her an even deeper appreciation of the NHS.
She said this belief in the NHS is helping her and her fellow students as they follow the call to help out.
She said: “I’m excited, really excited to go out – excited to make a difference, really.”
Ms Nicolson, who is also the course representative at the university, said: “I’m really proud of our student nurses.
“I’m really proud to be joining the profession. No-one in hospital is too low, no-one is too high. You’re all the same. Everyone plays a really key role in patient care – cleaners, porters, doctors, nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists.
“We all have a part to play in the patient journey. So I really am proud to be joining that.”
Ms Nicolson – who also volunteers in the Army Reserve – said she was inspired by a nurse she met when she had to have surgery on a congenital heart condition at Leeds General Infirmary in 2018.
She said it was 12 days before a crucial exam and the nurse looking after her helped her with revision despite having 10 beds to look after.
“The care was amazing and that just furthered my inspiration to become a nurse,” she said.
Ms Nicolson said her dream is to work in cardiology.
David Barrett, deputy dean for the Faculty of Health Sciences at Hull University, said: “I am proud that all our students and staff are contributing to tackling this unprecedented challenge in many different ways.
“For those nursing and midwifery students that are able to join the front line immediately, the knowledge and skills that they bring will be a huge asset to the NHS.”