Harrogate Hospital nurse's tribute to 'extraordinary' colleagues

Harrogate Hospital nurse Andy Dennis who helps train fellow staff on how to use PPE safely.Harrogate Hospital nurse Andy Dennis who helps train fellow staff on how to use PPE safely.
Harrogate Hospital nurse Andy Dennis who helps train fellow staff on how to use PPE safely.
An experienced Harrogate nurse at Harrogate Hospital's Intensive Care Unit who helped train staff on how to use PPE safely has praised the "extraordinary" work of his colleagues in stressful times.

Andy Dennis, who is usually a nurse in the Endoscopy Department at Harrogate District Hospital, said he had been asked to draw on his previous first-hand experience of treating patients during the Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2014.

Mr Dennis said: "My role in the Covid-19 response has been twofold, Initially I was involved in training the staff on the correct techniques for donning (putting on) and doffing (removing) of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

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"I was asked to carry out this training based on my previous experience in outbreaks of Cholera and Ebola when working with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) in Africa.

"I put together a superb team of nurses - staff nurses Brian Drummond, Daisy Taylor and Rachael Birdsall - and we began the training.

"The training has helped to alleviate some of the inevitable anxiety experienced by staff in this new and unfamiliar context.

"From the outset, we have had positive feedback and enthusiasm from our colleagues."

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Although the circumstances were challenging, Mr Dennis said the hard-working staff at Harrogate Hospital were adjusting to the new normality brought by Covid-19.

He said: "This is a process, it takes time to be comfortable in the ’new normal’ in which we find ourselves.

"At all stages of the training, our team has stressed the need to support one another as we transition through the phases of acceptance of our new way of working."

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Mr Dennis, who who has previously worked as an A&E nurse at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital, said he recently moved back into ICU at Harrogate Hospital where staff were extradordinarily committed to caring deeply for their patients amid all the challenges.

He said: "I redeployed from Endoscopy back to my previous area of work on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the hospital.

"This is a stressful and busy environment but once again I am surrounded by true professionals who care deeply for their patients and will do all that they can to support them.

"Extraordinary times calls for extraordinary people. I am fortunate to work with many such people."

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