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Staff Photo Featured in National Portrait Gallery Exhibition

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

In the midst of the pandemic, nurse Lindsay Macdonald reassures little Hannah as she carries her to the operating theatre at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. This moment was captured by Lisa Miller, photographer with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Medical Illustration team.

It has been selected as one of 100 photos to be displayed in the National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibit: Hold Still which captures a collective portrait of the UK during lockdown and the pandemic over the past six months. Lisa’s photo was chosen out of 31,000 submissions. 

Lisa Miller, photographer NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Medical Illustration team, said: “I took this shot during the height of the pandemic and it shows that in the middle of what was and still is a scary time for everyone, the comfort of a nurse to a young patient.

“I’ve been working in our hospitals throughout the pandemic and have been able to capture moments no one else has been able to. We’ve had to wear full PPE which has made it hard to focus and frame the images through the viewfinder of the camera properly but I’ve been able to expand my skill range and take portraits alongside medical photographs.”

Lisa was only allowed to submit one photograph to the National Portrait Gallery and after much deliberation sought the opinion of her mum because she would look at the image from a mother’s perspective.

She added: “We’re always in sensitive situations, dealing with patients so it’s important to build up a rapport with them to make sure they feel safe and comfortable.” 

Nurse Lindsay said:  “The picture was taken during a time, right in the middle of lockdown and staff were all adjusting to new ways of working.  At that time we were not using the anaesthetic rooms to put children under an anaesthetic and parents were not able to come with children into theatre.  Because seeing staff wearing the full PPE could be quite scary for some children, especially young children who can’t see your face. 

“That day I was going to meet the patient at reception and bring them to theatre.  That way everyone who was already in all the PPE could stay in the theatre room and cause as much little distress for the child before she went to sleep.

“I still remember Hannah, she was such a lovely little girl.  I was walking up the corridor to theatre with her in my arms, as she wanted to be there rather than on the trolley. Lisa was also there waiting to go into theatre when she took the photo.

“As a nurse I believe the patient feeling safe and happy is crucial to our role, as they are going into an unknown place with people that are complete strangers to them.  I am a parent myself and I completely understand that when parents are handing over the most precious thing in the world to them, they have to believe and put their trust in us that we will absolutely take care of them and make sure that they are in safe hands.”

Lisa has also been shortlisted for a Sky Arts TV photo competition, with another photo of Lindsay.

The National Portrait Gallery exhibit is available to view online: Hold Still. 


For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]

Pic:  Nurse Lindsay Macdonald reassures little Hannah as she carries her to the operating theatre.

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Last Updated: 11 November 2021