NCA celebrates its nurses on Nurses Day

THE Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA) is shining a light on its nurses and all they have achieved during the pandemic for International Nurses Day, which takes place on 12 May.

During the pandemic nurses and care workers in all parts of our organisation have adapted to working in new ways at pace. For example, many nurses were moved to different wards or locations to help support and care for patients suffering from COVID-19.

Since the pandemic began the NCA has treated and discharged over 4,867 COVID-19 patients to their usual place of residence. Broken down, that number equates to 1,494 patients in Salford, 1,930 in Oldham, 1,248 in Bury, and 195 in Rochdale.

Libby McManus, Chief Nursing Officer at the NCA, which brings together the Salford Royal and Pennine Acute trusts, said:

“Across the NCA, we are saying a massive ‘thank you’, not only to our nursing workforce, but to all those who have stepped up to help during the pandemic, been redeployed into other roles, or who have kept the wheels turning behind the scenes in roles such as estates, laundry and admin.

“We are rightly proud of each and every one of our NCA Family. Our nursing workforce is some of the best in the country and it’s not just us that think so – our patient feedback also shows us this is what our patients and service users believe too.”

Nurses at our Care Organisations
Here are just some of the nurses that have a unique story to tell at our Care Organisations in Salford, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale. Their stories include helping to set up NHS Nightingale Hospital North West within a fortnight, a nurse who switched from a career playing the double bass in orchestras with BBC Philharmonic and the Hallé to help care for patients affected by COVID-19 two nurses who sang together to comfort a COVID-19 patient in their final hours, and a nurse who helped keep essential cancer surgery going throughout the pandemic.

Oldham
Julie Flaherty MBE works in the children’s emergency department at The Royal Oldham Hospital. She has 47 years’ nursing experience and has worked in humanitarian situations across the globe – all of which stood her in good stead when she was asked to help set up the NHS Nightingale Hospital North West within a fortnight.

Julie spent three weeks at the hospital site in the Manchester Central Convention Complex and advised on standard operating procedures (SOPs) for how the hospital should run. The hospital had 700 beds which are a step down from intensive care.

She said: “We had a very tight deadline with the whole place up and running from start to finish in two weeks. As well as the procurement, and planning, there was a whole mound of standard operating procedures (SOP) which had to be developed that would guide the smooth running of the hospital on a day to day basis.

“I stayed for the third week to help with the education, training and development of the clinical teams and was instrumental in the simulation sessions which were run on a daily basis as the staff became familiar with the new hospital and the processes of working in a very different environment and team”.

Bury
Mhairi Simpson works as a nurse in the Acute Medical Unit at Fairfield Hospital in Bury as well as picking up shifts at the GM Vaccination Centre.

After qualifying as a nurse Mhairi had a successful career playing the double bass in orchestras in England and Scotland, doing a lot of work with BBC Philharmonic and the Hallé in Manchester.

Mhairi was performing in the Sound of Music before COVID-19 struck and performances had to be cancelled. It was at this point that Mhairi decided to re-join the nursing register.

Mhairi said: “I wanted to come and be involved in the vaccination programme and jumped at the chance, I fit the shifts at the centre around my full time work at Fairfield Hospital. I love the buzz at the centre, everyone is there for the same reason and it is a great team effort.”

Salford
Salford Royal nurses Emma Swinnerton, Ward Sister on L6, and Sally McManus, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Palliative Care, both went above and beyond the call of duty early in the pandemic when they supported a COVID-19 patient in her final hours by singing together to comfort her.

Emma said: “It was a special experience and I am just grateful that we were able to do this for our patient and her relative.

“We always hope to be able to make a patient’s last moments as dignified and as peaceful as possible for them and their loved ones, and I feel especially proud that we were able to do that for this lady, especially at such a difficult and challenging time for us all.”

Rochdale
Sue Anderton is Divisional Director of Nursing at Rochdale Care Organisation and played a key role in remodelling Rochdale Infirmary as a ‘green site,’ which means there are no COVID-19 patients operated on in theatres there.

This meant that the hospital could take on as many essential operations, including cancer surgery, as possible to assist other hospitals who needed to postpone surgery whilst they battled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sue said: “COVID-19 has taught me to value what I have. It’s made me so proud to be a nurse, working alongside my team, and giving me the ability to give something back. The team have been incredible. They’ve done everything they can to help the situation, and a little bit more. I’m honoured to work alongside them.

“By carrying on with a lot of the urgent cancer treatment here in Rochdale we’ve been able to help patients who have been very frightened about not receiving treatment during the pandemic, and we’ve been able to help and make a real difference to their lives.”