A STUDENT nurse from Rainbow Hill who moved in with colleagues and patients to help limit the spread of Covid-19 at the height of the pandemic has been honoured.
Abigail Brookes, along with three other colleagues, received the ‘Inspiring People’ award from employer, learning disability support provider Dimensions, for their work going above and beyond their duties to support people who use the service.
The second year University of Worcester Adult Nursing student was among a handful of Dimensions staff who volunteered to live with the people they support for an indeterminate period of time as Covid-19 spread rapidly in the spring of 2020.
“I volunteered to live at work because I understood it was an extremely unique circumstance, and I realised it was something not everyone would be able to do, mostly because of commitments outside of work,” she said.
“I volunteered most of all for the people I support, whom you work with closely and get to know. I wanted to make sure their anxieties were alleviated as much as possible.”
Before starting her studies, Abigail was a full-time employee at Dimensions which supports adults with a range of learning difficulties and she still does occasional shifts.
As the pandemic began, her manager asked four colleagues to volunteer to be prepared to live at the service where they worked if any of the people they supported had, or expected to have, coronavirus.
This was so they could self-isolate together and minimise the spread of infection.
This situation did occur in May 2020, and Abigail and her colleagues moved in without knowing how long it was likely to last. In the end, they lived in for a week.
“Most importantly, we tried to make the experience as comfortable and normal as possible for the people we support, who don’t always deal well with a change of routine,” she said.
“We were also very grateful for the other staff for sending us food supplies and general messages of support during that time.
Abigail is now working towards a career in nursing.
“The skills required to support the people living in the service I work at are fairly complex, which is what prompted me to go into nursing,” she said.
“My job inspired me to help other people and support them to live happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives as much as is possible.
“I also like to be constantly learning new skills and gaining as much experience as possible, which is why I think nursing is the perfect vocation for me.”