A nurse from Camberwell is one of the NHS staff who have been redeployed to COVID-19 wards to help care for the huge influx of patients.
Celestine Thomas-Frazer started training as a nurse in her 50s, and was in her final year of university in Essex when the virus first hit the UK last year.
She put herself forward to move straight into work on the wards, and is now caring for patients at King’s College Hospital.
“I’d worked as a healthcare assistant for many years, and my colleagues kept encouraging me to train as a nurse,” she said.
“When I got to my fifties, I decided to follow my dream.
“Like everyone else who was redeployed to work on COVID-19 wards, I was anxious and fearful.
“But I knew I could make a difference to patients, and nothing would have stopped me from joining the frontline.
“I joined the team at a time when everyone was working long hours, under huge pressure.
“But I couldn’t have been given a warmer welcome and at the end of my first shift, I left feeling like I was exactly where I needed to be.
“Love and compassion are what nursing is all about, and we would never have come through the other side of the first wave of COVID-19 without those two things.
“I was privileged to be able to reassure patients who were feeling scared, make them more comfortable, and help them feel well again.
“There’s no better feeling than knowing you have helped make someone feel better.”
Celestine is now a fully qualified nurse and has chosen to stay at King’s in future.
“I thank God that I made this decision,” she said.
“I love nursing. My goal has always been to help people, and do something good.”