Kodie Waters, Band 6 Critical Care Nurse

Kodie Waters, Band 6 critical care nurse. Image shows her in scrubs and a mask in a critical care bed space

Working in critical care throughout the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, but for Band 6 nurse Kodie Waters, it is her colleagues who have helped her through.

She joined the unit in summer 2018 as a junior nurse, and took on the band 6 role in the summer after encouragement from her management team.

And even if hospital admissions continue to rise, she is confident the support of her team, together with the mental health initiatives put in place by the Trust, will help her cope.

She said: “Covid has been really challenging. It was horrendous but we all pulled together.

“We have had the worst shifts imaginable, and everyone has cried together and laughed together.

“When you’re working in the blue area you can feel shut off from the world, and I think no one can really understand what it’s like unless you have been there.

“But we all understand, and we all support each other. I definitely wouldn’t still be working here after everything we have gone through without the support of the whole team, and the wider Trust.

“I don’t know what more they could have done to help us.”

A specialist psychologist is available for all staff in the unit, and during the peaks there were weekly debrief sessions to allow people to talk about what they had experienced.

Counselling is available, and anyone who had arranged their own external support was able to have costs refunded.

Senior staff are trained in mental health first aid, and one of the ward managers completed a university course in the subject.

Kodie said: “We are like a family here; even though the team has expanded massively in the past two years we still look out for each other.

“My role involves supporting the juniors as well as patient care and I really enjoy it. It was the next step for me and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

“I had worked on the wards before but I wanted a new challenge – I felt I was getting too comfortable there. Working in critical care is a completely different way of nursing and you need a completely different set of skills.

“But there is plenty of help when you first start and the training is fantastic. Now we’re looking forward to our new unit and all the opportunities that will bring as well.”