'They have gone above and beyond' - Leeds hospital chief pays tribute to staff as trust celebrates nurses and midwives
‘I can’t even articulate how proud I am. They have gone above and beyond.’
The chief nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, Lisa Grant, has paid emotional tribute to her “amazing” staff who she said have been “pushed to the limit” over the past 12 months.
Her comments come as the Trust launches two weeks of celebrations to mark International Midwives Day today, International Nurses Day on Wednesday May 12 and operating department practitioner day (ODP) on May 14.
In recognition of the days’ extra significance this year, given the challenges staff have faced throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trust has organised a fortnight of celebrations including a new reward scheme, the IRIS awards, online wellbeing sessions, goody bags and hospital buildings will be lit up in different colours.
In an exclusive interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post to coincide with the launch, Lisa Grant spoke movingly of the pride she has in her 5,000-strong team of nurses and midwives.
She told the YEP: “They have truly gone above and beyond.
“You go into this profession because you want to make a difference and do the best for our patients. That’s what we want to do. But they have been pushed to their limits.
“We have been managing something we had no understanding about.
“Staff have really stepped up and come into work every day and rose to the challenge.”
She said: “We just want to thank them. Thank you isn’t enough but to try and help them to understand how grateful we are as an organisation - and representing the city of Leeds - for what they have done.
“It’s important to do that - they need that.”
The new IRIS awards will be 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.
It has been inspired by the success of the DAISY awards which were launched in December 2019 to recognise specifically the work of nurses and midwives and has attracted over 500 nominations so far at the trust.
The two-week celebrations will also include goody bags funded by Leeds Hospitals Charity and online afternoon tea drop-in sessions with Ms Grant.
She said the Trust needs to “take the opportunities it can to thank staff” who are “human beings with the same fear and anxieties that the public have”.
“They have lived and breathed it”, she said, adding: “You can’t underestimate the impact that will have had. They will have been anxious going home to loved ones and some made real sacrifices to be away from family during that initial stage as we tried to understand the significance of Covid.”
She said staff have coped with PPE, adapted to constantly changing regulations and stepped in when families could no longer visit patients - something many found particularly difficult.
“As nurses and midwives and ODP, we want families and loves ones to be part of our patients’ care. So having to stop that - that truly goes against the heart of nursing and midwifery,” she said, adding: "[But] they have done so much - that human factor, I have seen that every day. Even now, as things are starting to feel better, that kindness and humanity - you can touch it at Leeds hospitals.”
Ms Grant said her priorities over the next 12 months is focusing on the health and wellbeing of staff as well as helping patients feel “safe and secure” in returning to hospital for treatments.
“Covid will I’m sure always be with us now. It’s how we adapt and how we nurse - knowing if it isn’t Covid, how we can continue to react to things, if this is how our life is going to be - to continue to provide care to our patients,” she said.
For more information on the IRIS awards visit https://www.leedsth.nhs.uk/about-us/iris-award/
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