When Catriona Looby left Ireland for Glasgow to train as a nurse, little did she know that three years later she would be starting her career in the middle of a pandemic.
Catriona (28) is from a rural village called Rahan in County Offaly and set her heart on a nursing career after working as a care assistant in Dublin. Glasgow has been her home since 2017, where she’s been studying for a BSc in Nursing at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Catriona is one of hundreds of Student Nurses throughout NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to join the workforce early in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is working in a ward nursing patients, some of who have been admitted with Covid-19 at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
Catriona said: “I feel ready for this and I want to do my bit. We have the training and now it’s time to put it to good use.
“I was working in HDU on placement and was due to do my final exams and then another placement before finishing up in August. All that changed with the arrival of Covid-19 and I am now working as a Band 4 and being paid as an NHS employee.
“Of course it’s a bit scary, but I also think this experience will stand me in great stead for my career. Coping with this will mean I can cope with anything.
“I was so glad that I got to stay in the ward I was working in as I have got to know the staff and feel very supported. Both my mentors are great as is the whole team.”
Catriona lives with her flatmates in Partick, but feels she needs to isolate from them to keep them safe.
She said: “I live in a tenement flat and there are lots of families around. This means I don’t use the garden and also try to stay away from my flatmates as being a healthcare worker I want to protect them as much as I can.
“My friends right now are my work colleagues and I like getting to work for that reason, for a bit of company. Personally it's been an emotional time not being able to visit my family back home in Ireland, especially to see my mum as she's currently going through chemotherapy for breast cancer.
“My mentors and other staff members have also been a great emotional support for me during this time, especially knowing that I won't get back to Ireland anytime soon to see my family. It’s strange to say but work for me is my only social outlet and I'm grateful for that and their support.
“I have also been overwhelmed by the special thanks NHS staff are getting from the public. Standing in the street on a Thursday night make me feel quite emotional. The feeling of goodwill is amazing and I am so proud to be a part of it.”