Kate Middleton and William speak with nursing student
Kate and Prince William spoke to the trainees from Ulster University’s School of Nursing during a virtual practical lesson this week. The duke also shared his sympathy with the group who took part in hospital placements during the pandemic, as he said: “That’s really baptism by fire.” During the first lockdown, the students joined the frontline fight against Covid-19 working on wards or in the community.
Speaking during a video call held on Tuesday, the duchess told them they had made an important career choice.
She said: “Nursing is one of the most trusted professions in the country, so you couldn’t have chosen a better career choice and it’s needed now more than ever.
“You’ve got almost three generations now – those coming back from retirement but also you guys doing your training who are stepping up – it shows real commitment and real teamwork, and it should really be celebrated, so really well done.”
The three students were stood around a dummy in a bed being supervised by lecturer Stephanie Dunleavey as they assessed the mock-patient.
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William told the trainees: “It’s very difficult for you guys to go straight into a pandemic I would imagine, that’s really baptism by fire as they say, isn’t it?”
Lisa Semerdzhieva, a Year 3 nursing student, replied: “Yes, right, although it was frightening at the start, you know, you really want to go out more.
“Now you can’t wait to get back out and practise, to feel like you’re helping, you know, because that’s what we were born to do really.”
The Cambridges also chatted separately to Abigail McGarvey, a first-year adult nursing student who has kept a video diary to illustrate a typical shift during her first placement as a student nurse.
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In footage she is seen getting up for a night shift, travelling to work and putting on personal protective equipment (PPE) of a mask, apron, gloves and visor.
Later on, she then puts on higher-grade protection for working with Covid-19 positive patients.
William asked if training in a pandemic had changed her thoughts on becoming a nurse.
The student said: “It has really confirmed that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life – this is the job I was meant to do.”
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She added the pandemic meant families were not able to visit and support their loved ones so “you have to give them so much more”.
Ms McGarvey, whose grandmother, mother and sister are all nurses, said: “My first day on the wards I showed up and within a few hours there was a massive cardiac arrest.
“And seeing everything just go up in the air, and how the team comes together and how everyone is really working to look after these patients.
“It really just solidified that this is exactly what I want to do.”
It comes as Kate and William also honoured other inspirational people this week.
They sent a birthday message to Connor Iynes on his 20th birthday after he shared a moving summary of the challenges he has overcome in his life.
He suffered two strokes following a head injury sustained while playing rugby.
But he went on to raise more than £20,00 for a charity helping children going through similar trauma.
Connor was also awarded the Diana Award in 2019 for being an “incredible role model for determination, resilience, sheer grit, and passion”.
He tweeted: “My dad died when I was one. My mum left when I was three. My nan died when I was eight.
“Nearly lost my leg when I was 10. Two life-threatening strokes age 15. Wouldn’t survive, not much hope!
“On Tuesday I turn 20, I’m proud, I’m strong, I am me #neversaynever #Survivor.”
Kate and William tweeted: “Happy Birthday Connor! You’re now much more than a #Survivor @DianaAward.”