Editorial

Unsung nursing heroes deserve recognition

Whenever disaster or tragedy strikes, nurses are often among the first on the scene. Last week was no different, with nurse consultant Tony Kemp one of the first healthcare professionals to attend the Shoreham air crash. In this week’s issue Mr Kemp tells of the horrific scenes he and others witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the incident, and how the various emergency services responded magnificently.

Whenever disaster or tragedy strikes, nurses are often among the first on the scene. Last week was no different, with nurse consultant Tony Kemp one of the first healthcare professionals to attend the Shoreham air crash. In this week’s issue Mr Kemp tells of the horrific scenes he and others witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the incident, and how the various emergency services responded magnificently.

Mr Kemp’s contribution extended beyond the urgent care that casualties required at the scene. Some hours later, he was helping people who had been trapped at the airshow and therefore unable to get home to take their medications.

Nurses tell their stories in a matter-of-fact fashion yet they are extraordinary

Nurses at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton played their part, too, by accepting casualties during the afternoon. Trust chief executive Matthew Kershaw spoke highly of their calmness and professionalism, commenting that staff had raised their game and that he was proud of their efforts.

This week we also tell the story of the RAF nurses who flew to the rescue of people who contracted Ebola during the outbreak in Sierra Leone. Sergeant Kay Ward was at home one bank holiday weekend when she received a call asking her to drop everything and join a mission to bring home a British patient who had the disease. It is a compelling story.

Others to join the mission included reservist Maggie Durrant, a lieutenant colonel and service improvement facilitator at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Shropshire. The timing of Ms Durrant’s deployment meant she missed Christmas at home and was away from her two teenage children.

As is invariably the case when nurses are involved in such work, they tell their stories in a matter-of-fact, ‘I was just doing my job’ fashion. They refer to their extensive training, and give credit modestly to other members of their teams. But the reality is that these are outstanding individuals doing extraordinary things who deserve greater public recognition.

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