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Nursing Stars: Nicola Mckenzie



We are profiling amazing practice and community nurses, and midwives, during the Covid-19 pandemic as part of our Nursing Stars campaign, partnering with the cross-sector movement New NHS Alliance. Here we speak to Nicola Mckenzie.

What is your role?

We are a team of five advanced nurse practitioners based in Glasgow primary care, supporting residential care homes. Our role involves assessing patients presenting with acute needs, such as chest infections and urinary infections. Our main role is to prevent hospital admission. We are able to assess, treat and discharge patients, working closely with over 70 GP surgeries to support and provide care when required. We prescribe, clinically assess as well as support other MDT’s.

What work have you been doing during the Covid-19 pandemic?

During the first wave of the pandemic, our team was supporting residents within the care home patients as well as implementing treatments. We managed 600 patients within the care homes and did our very best to support relatives as well as staff too.

With Covid hitting our care homes fast, we felt very much isolated. We were watching people deteriorate very quickly day after day. Our team found this incredibly difficult – particularly as at first, families couldn’t be with their loved ones at the end. This became our job.

Thankfully, it was then apparent care homes were struggling – not just with PPE but with all aspects of care. Our initial role of acute care was put to the side and palliative care became our main role. We would admit patients to hospital if we and the family thought it was in their best interest. We were supported by GPs via telephone as well as a few other services. However, a lot of the daily decisions were being made by ourselves, care home managers and the next of kin.

We are now moving into the second phase. The vaccine has arrived and thankfully patients are pulling through this dreadful illness.

Why would you say you and your team are a Covid Nursing Star?

Becaue of the absolute determination, passion for our job and bond we now have. We have worked tirelessly throughout covid. Working weekends, starting early and finishing late. Worrying about what we might bring home to our families. However, we have made it through much like other teams have.

What have you learnt from the experience of working during Covid?

We have learnt that working together, supporting one another and really trusting each other have shown us that we are amazing nurses. We have never worked in a pandemic before. We hope to never see things like this again.