Abbey is an Intensive Care Nurse and past Nurses In Action Volunteer currently working at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. For Abbey, the most difficult part of nursing during the pandemic has been the minimal human contact she can provide her patients in their time of need.

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a scary place where no one wants to end up. As ICU Nurses we understand this. With a smile, a look in our eyes and holding a patient’s hand we can provide reassurance and alleviate anxieties,” Abbey highlights.

However, when a patient with covid-19 is admitted into the ICU we are all dressed in full PPE; scrub hats, masks, face shields, gowns and gloves. We all look the same. We try to minimise the staff in the room to minimise the exposure risk. We cannot allow families into the room for comfort. I just hope our patients know we are human underneath it all - we care greatly, they are not alone and we are fighting for them.”

Abbey’s time in the ICU has shown her that covid-19 does not age discriminate.

In the ICU we are seeing young people very unwell on ventilators. People aged in their 30s & 40s. People with young children at home. Fit young healthy people are contracting covid-19, and there is no explanation as to why some are ending up on life support.

Like most Nurses and Health Professionals, its been a very challenging few months for Abbey working so closely with those so effected by the coronavirus, however it’s a challenge that Abbey was prepared and trained for. Abbey chose to work in intensive care after embarking on a trip to Kenya for the Nurses In Action program in 2013.

The experience in Kenya remains the happiest time for me. I was lucky enough to experience the Nurses In Action program with my 4 best friends. We met some extraordinary humans in Odede. They were hard working, inspiring, welcoming and brave. Hearing their stories, struggles and triumphs inspired me to be brave. When I returned to Melbourne I changed my nursing path to intensive care. I took a path that challenged me, encouraged vulnerability, growth, and further study. And I love it,” reflects Abbey.

The most memorable experience I will cherish forever was working with the pregnant women in the village. We were trying to encourage the women to begin birthing in World Youth International’s new Odede Community Health Centre. Each woman had a story that blew me away. I heard stories of women delivering babies on the floor of their homes, delivering twins whilst having no idea they were even carrying twins, cutting umbilical cords with corn maize! The loss many women experienced during child birth or the few years after was incredible. The strength and resilience of these mothers was inspiring.

It’s a privilege to care for people in their most vulnerable time of their life,” says Abbey.

We are so proud and in awe of Abbey’s ongoing dedication and passion for her work. Our thoughts are with the millions of Health Professionals worldwide, in particular our past, present and future Nurses In Action Volunteers. Stay safe <3

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