Patient view

An important relationship

Holly Jackson explains why she believes paediatric emergency department nurse Louise Barrett saved her life
Louise Barrett and Holly Jackson

I met Louise in 2009. She was 18 and a nursing student on the childrens ward at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford.

I was 15 and had been admitted by my childrens home after a suicide attempt. I was not medically unwell so I found being on the ward distressing.

Louise was often tasked with occupying me. Every morning she would come in with a smile that was so warm it made me feel much better. She would sit and talk, help me speak up about what was going on inside my head and what help I needed. She would give me the time to try to express myself and help me communicate with others difficult because of my autism. She was there to help calm me; at times I was cutting myself and trying to take my life.

I have been in the

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I met Louise in 2009. She was 18 and a nursing student on the children’s ward at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford.

Louise Barrett and Holly Jackson


I was 15 and had been admitted by my children’s home after a suicide attempt. I was not medically unwell so I found being on the ward distressing.

Louise was often tasked with ‘occupying’ me. Every morning she would come in with a smile that was so warm it made me feel much better. She would sit and talk, help me speak up about what was going on inside my head and what help I needed. She would give me the time to try to express myself and help me communicate with others – difficult because of my autism. She was there to help calm me; at times I was cutting myself and trying to take my life. 

I have been in the Royal Surrey emergency department repeatedly because of my mental health. If Louise has been on shift she has always found me. Once when I was admitted, I hadn’t seen her for a while, but she was by my side before I was off the stretcher.

Means so much

To others, the care and support she has given me may not seem extravagant, but this has been one of the most important relationships I have had during my illness and it means so much to me. Louise has been a rock during some of the scariest and lowest times of my life. 

She is a wonderful role model and one day I hope to be like her. She shows incredible maturity, kindness and knowledge for a woman of her age, and many times she has given me the strength to want to live so I too can help people. 

I want her to know just how wonderful she is and how she saved my life. 

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