Meet the Christmas Angels

While most of us are tucking into our turkey and unwrapping our presents on Christmas Day, thousands of people up and down the country will be working hard to keep us all safe.

And it’s not just the nurses that are angels... doctors, physios, porters, domestics and cooks will also be on duty in Greater Glasgow and Clyde looking after our patients.

You can call them Christmas angels or just true professionals – meet just a few of the NHS heroes who will be working hard in on the big day.

The District Nurse

Barbara O’Brien will be working on a day shift in the community in Partick.

“For a district nurse Christmas Day is similar to many other days, although a little quieter. It’s quite a nice feeling and the roads are lovely and quiet!

“As a nurse I could be visiting diabetic patients, dressing wounds, administering drugs or providing end of life care.

“Patients’ families tend to take on the role of the nurse whilst visiting their loved one over the festive period. However, sadly for some patients our visit is the only contact that day with a familiar friendly face.

“Some families live a distance away or for some patients they have simply outlived all family members, so loneliness can be palpable with these patients.

“This means we try to bring a little smile along with some company, “cheery banter” and usually the sharing of a traditional mince pie whilst visiting.

“Those patients are always really glad to see you.

“After work it will be a quick change - in a phone box like Supernurse - and off to my sister’s for Christmas dinner, which will be all made and waiting for me. I’ll be driving - and drinking Schloer - as I am also working on Boxing Day.

“Our goal is to share some good will and Christmas spirit with our most dependant patients ensuring a Merry Christmas for all.”

The Consultant

Professor Kevin Rooney will be working in the Intensive Care Unit in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

“I will be on call for 24 hours over Christmas, from 8.00 am on Christmas Day until 8.00 am on Boxing Day. What this usually means is that I will be in for a ward round in the unit in the morning and this includes the review of up to seven complex critically ill patients. When - or if - I go home at some point completely depends on the complexity of the patients’ illnesses.

“The great thing is that patients get the same service whenever they come in to us, whether it’s a normal Sunday or Christmas Day.

“There’s always a nice atmosphere in the hospital and staff have a real can-do attitude. Nobody moans and we all just get on with it, after all it’s so much worse for the patients we care for and their families who are worried.

“A patient once told me that the best bit about his care was on Christmas Day, being bathed by a nurse who told him all about her family and children opening their presents that morning.

“Some might think that unprofessional but it was the highlight of his day as he just wanted to hear about normal life at a point where he was feeling very low.

“Thankfully I have a very understanding wife and two boys – as they won’t know whether or not to expect me home. My parents are coming round for dinner and mine will be in the oven waiting for me to get back – whenever that might be!”

The Midwife

Jill Martin will be working at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital from 7.30 am till 7.45 pm.

“This will be my first Christmas working as a midwife in Glasgow, but I’ve worked on Christmas Day in London, Wishaw and Australia before, so know what to expect!

“In saying that, when I worked in Australia whilst backpacking, I spent the day having a barbecue on the beach before going to work!

“The ward I work in is a great ward and lots of my friends are working too so it should be great fun. We’ll bring in some goodies and the consultants often drop off food too, so we will try to sit down together, if work commitments allow.

“I will be working on the antenatal ward, usually with ladies quite far into their pregnancies. Many will be sent home for Christmas if it’s safe to do so, but some who we need to keep an eye on will stay in.

“There will also be ladies in the early stages of labour who need our help. There are bound to be lots of visitors too, so the ward will be busy.

“After I finish my shift I will celebrate Christmas with my boyfriend’s family – they promise to keep me a plate of food and I can relax with a wee drink too as I’m not working Boxing Day. I am really looking forward to chilling out after a busy day.”