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‘Losing a patient can take its toll’: Bangor nurse describes working on intensive care ward

An intensive care nurse from Bangor, Northern Ireland, has spoken out about her experience caring for patients with life threatening illnesses.

Chloe, who treats critically ill patients for NHS - South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, said:

“Working as an ICU nurse is extremely challenging, especially with staff shortages and budget cuts. Caring for patients when they are at their sickest means you are by their side no matter what. “But it is also very rewarding. It can be the best feeling when we help someone improve to the point where they can be discharged. In contrast, death is something I deal with on a regular basis and is inevitably part of my job. Losing a patient can take its toll both emotionally and physically.

“So, I have to remind myself that I’m only human. I also know that it is such a privilege to care for someone approaching the end of their life. It is the most rewarding part of my job being able to provide comfort and support to both patients and their loved ones during these difficult times.”

Chloe was speaking out about her experiences as part of Optical Express’s Thanks a Million campaign, which aims to thank NHS and Emergency Service Workers for the extraordinary work they do by donating another £1 million worth of free laser eye surgery.

As an ICU nurse dealing with emergency situations, wearing glasses is often impractical. Chloe reported having to contend with her glasses ‘flying off’ her head when administering life-saving procedures like CPR to her patients – a hazard in a moment of life-or-death.

Chloe added: “Working in a busy ICU with short staffing challenges means I have to be vigilant and hyperaware of my surroundings at all times. I regularly work 13-hour shifts on the ward, and during the pandemic it was even worse. I had to wear full PPE including tight fitting masks which would cause my glasses to constantly fog up. This was a real problem when I was trying to deliver lifesaving care to critically ill patients. Everything was a complete blur. Since getting free laser surgery, I don’t have to wear my glasses and now I can see properly, which is a huge help especially when monitoring vital signs, ventilators and other forms of specialist equipment. “With the NHS staff shortages and budget cuts, NHS workers often feel under appreciated. The ‘Thanks a Million’ campaign is a great way for Optical Express to thank NHS workers for the work that they do.”

David Moulsdale, Chairman and CEO of Optical Express, said: “Optical Express’s ‘Thanks a Million’ campaign allows us to improve the lives of so many hardworking people. We first launched the campaign because we are passionate about giving something back to those who protect the public and to acknowledge the sacrifices they made during the pandemic.”

Optical Express’s ‘Thanks a Million’ campaign is giving away a further £1 million worth of free laser eye surgery to NHS and emergency workers to thank them for their service. It is the second time the firm has chosen to thank Emergency Service Workers in this way, with the first campaign in 2017. Over the course of the two campaigns more than £2 million worth of surgery has been given to improve the lives of thousands of NHS and emergency workers. Since Optical Express was founded 33 years ago, the team are proud to have supported hundreds of humanitarian and philanthropic projects, donating over £33 million to worthwhile causes in the UK and abroad. By the end of this year it will be over £34 million.