Leeds hospital chief's tribute to 'compassionate and caring' staff as Trust marks International Nurses Day

The chief nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust has described how staff have been “pulling together” over the past 12 months to cope with both the professional and personal challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:45 am
A nurse tends to a young patient at Leeds Children's Hospital. Picture: Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust

Lisa Grant paid tribute to her nursing team in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening to help mark International Nurses Day today, which the Trust is marking - along with International Midwives Day last week and operating department practitioners day (ODP) on May 14 - with two weeks of celebrations.

She spoke of her pride in the team who she said had remained positive and dedicated to patient care despite the incredibly difficult circumstances of the past year.

“If I could bottle up what I see and feel every day when I walk around the organisation and how truly compassionate and caring [the staff are], I would be a very rich woman.

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Lisa Grant, chief nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. Picture: Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust

“I’m absolutely blown away by what they do. It’s a privilege to be the chief nurse at Leeds hospitals.

“We have challenging years in the NHS and challenging periods - like winter - but this is something different.

“It’s not just a professional challenge, it’s a personal challenge. We all have our personal lives and [have been] trying to balance that and do something we have never experienced before.

“Having that element and our own anxieties and fears - we can’t deny we have had those - but just trying to do the best we could and keep that human touch and kindness.”

Ms Grant, who has worked in nursing for over 20 years, said: “I think you can feel, even more tangibly during these last 12 months, how people were pulling on each other and pulling together to maintain the care and also to support each other to get through this period of time.”

Nursing staff, working across Covid and non-Covid wards, had to cope with heavy PPE and infection controls as well as stepping in when family members were restricted from visiting patients.

Ms Grant said: “All through those challenges, when I walked around the wards, all I could see in faces ‘I can do this’. They just wanted to do their best for patients in their care and making sure they were with people when clearly they couldn’t have loved ones holding their hands or at their bedsides.

“It was incredibly important to us that we recognised that we were going to be that human contact.”

As the YEP reported last week, when we featured part one of our interview with Lisa Grant in honour of International Midwives Day, the Trust’s two weeks of celebrations include the launch of a new reward scheme, the IRIS awards, goody bags, wellbeing sessions and plans to light up hospital buildings different colours in honour of staff.

The IRIS awards are an opportunity for staff and the public to say ‘thank you’ by sharing a story of how a member of the care team has made a difference.

They have been inspired by the success of the DAISY awards which were launched in December 2019 to specifically recognise the work of nurses and midwives and has attracted over 500 nominations so far at the trust.

Ms Grant said: “Our two week celebration of nurses, midwives and operating department practitioners recognises the extremely valuable roles they undertake in the delivery of healthcare.

“The DAISY and Iris Award programmes help us to celebrate their dedication and commitment to delivering outstanding patient care all year round.”

For more information on the IRIS awards visit https://www.leedsth.nhs.uk/about-us/iris-award/Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.