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Covid Nurse in Queen’s hospital says ‘acts of kindness’ have helped her to cope

Jordan Leatherbarrow has been looking after Covid-19 patients at the Romford hospital

A nurse has explained how acts of kindness have helped her cope with working on a Covid-19 ward in Queen’s Hospital.

Jordan Leatherbarrow has been responsible for looking after Covid-19 patients who are very ill, but not in intensive care, throughout the pandemic.

The 27-year-old received a delivery of an oil painting of herself wearing PPE, which was painted for free by an artist called Xiaobang Zhang.

A project called ‘Portraits for NHS Heroes’ was started by artist Thomas Croft in April, when he offered to paint a free portrait for the first NHS worker to reply.

Professional artists from around the UK have been painting free portraits for NHS heroes since.

Jordan was selected by the artist from Edinburgh and received her treasured oil painting last week.

Portrait of Jordan Leatherbarrow by Xiaobang Zhang

She says: “It was such a kind thing for the artist to do and also all of the other artists that have taken part in the project.

“It has pride of place on my wall and will be cherished by me forever. This, and other kind acts by people, have been so important to my mental health over past two months.

“As it is Mental Health Awareness Week this week (starting Monday, 18 May) and the theme is kindness, I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ and to remind people of the positive effect that doing kind things can do.”

Jordan has a seven-year-old son and her partner is a police officer, so has juggled challenges of being key workers and managing childcare.

She completed her Access to Nursing course at Barking & Dagenham College 5 years ago, alongside being a mum and went on to complete an adult nursing degree.

The nurse has worked at the Romford hospital since graduating in 2018. When the pandemic began, the Oncology and Haematology ward she worked on was converted to a Covid ward.

Jordan explains: “We were completely maxed out at the start of the pandemic and it continues to go up and down, but we are slowly getting through it.

“It’s been very challenging and also very sad; we have to try to put a smile on our faces, because we realise that we are the only faces that many of the patients can see.

“Very sadly, we are the last people that some of the patients see.”

She told Time 107.5: “You have to remember that you might be having a good today but someone else might be having a bad day, and tomorrow that could be you.

“We have a very good team and we do have a lot of support, even from old teams that we used to work with. They will come in and check on us.

“We are all doing the same job and want to make the environment feel as relaxed as possible for the patients.

“If you can just do something small that makes someone feel a bit better, then do it. That’s just how I am in day to day life. I don’t like to see anyone unhappy or left out, that’s not how I am.”

Mum Amanda,47, is doing an Access to Nursing course at Barking & Dagenham College and will be studying nursing at university this autumn.

She is meant to be doing her exams, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Amanda, like many other people, is going to be graded based on her predicted grades.

Amanda says: “As a single mum of three,I’ve done my best to bring up my children; looking after people comes naturally to me.

“I had children young and always knew I wanted to complete a degree once they were grown up. I failed my own education and that was something I have always regretted.

“For me, it was about having confidence to keep going and not give up. My daughter Jordan is my biggest inspiration and, along with my college tutor Annie Woods, I wouldn’t be here today.”

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