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COVID-19: photograph starkly depicts stresses nurses are enduring

Picture of nurses hugging during gruelling shift at Nottinghamshire critical care unit attracts global comments
Picture of nurses Jill Kirk and Karen Colbeck-Rowe consoling each other

Picture of nurses hugging during gruelling shift at Nottinghamshire critical care unit attracts global comments

A picture of two exhausted nurses embracing during a gruelling 12-hour shift on a COVID-19 critical care unit has been shared around the globe.

The black and white photograph shows Jill Kirk and Karen Colbeck-Rowe consoling each other at Kings Mill Hospital near Nottingham.

During this particular straining and difficult night shift, I needed a

Picture of nurses hugging during gruelling shift at Nottinghamshire critical care unit attracts global comments

Picture of nurses Jill Kirk and Karen Colbeck-Rowe consoling each other
Jill Kirk and Karen Colbeck-Rowe consoling each other Picture: Holly Beacroft

A picture of two exhausted nurses embracing during a gruelling 12-hour shift on a COVID-19 critical care unit has been shared around the globe.

The black and white photograph shows Jill Kirk and Karen Colbeck-Rowe consoling each other at King’s Mill Hospital near Nottingham.

‘During this particular straining and difficult night shift, I needed a hug with someone who understood,’ staff nurse Ms Kirk said of the photo. ‘I needed a few minutes to recuperate and gather my strength to carry on caring for my patients and supporting families in such a difficult time.’

Photograph reflects the united bond felt throughout nursing

Before the pandemic King’s Mill Hospital had nine critical care beds. Currently it is nearing three times its capacity, according to Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Ms Colbeck-Rowe, a team coordinator who has worked in the critical care unit for more than 20 years, said the photograph, shared online last week, reflected the ‘united bond’ felt throughout the nursing profession.

It was taken in January by fellow nurse Holly Beacroft, who said it summed up how front-line staff worldwide felt a year into the pandemic. She added: ‘By sharing this image, I hope members of the public see the hardship, exhaustion and emotion endured by all NHS workers during the pandemic.

‘Unfortunately, this photograph taken at Sherwood is not unique. There are nurses, healthcare assistants, doctors, cleaners, porters, administrators, key workers and teachers around the globe who feel like this every day.’

A post on the trust’s Facebook page featuring the picture has been shared more than 1,000 times by people in the UK and countries including Argentina, St Kitts and the US, as well as attracting more than 140 comments.

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