Nurse put brakes on F1 role to join Covid-19 fight at JR – Herald Series


A NURSE has put the brakes on her job with Formula One to return to the NHS frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.

Su Chantry, who last worked in the NHS as a neonatal critical care nurse at the John Radcliffe Hospital 15 years ago, said she felt compelled to offer her services.

Describing it as a ‘baptism of fire’ since being fast tracked to the frontline via NHS Professionals’ Rapid Response service in March, she has worked on the general medicine, orthopaedics, and acute respiratory wards – all wards with Covid-19 positive patients.

Ms Chantry, who has a degree in public health nursing, was working as an occupational health manager at Williams Grand Prix Engineering in Grove, near Wantage, before the pandemic.

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She also has her own occupational health business supporting the health and wellbeing of local small and medium businesses.

With her clinical work being paused due to infection control measures and a national call to all registrants to assist in the NHS, the nurse didn’t need to think twice about returning to work in the NHS and supporting staff at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

She said: “Without hesitation, I signed up to the rapid response as I had to do something to help in the crisis management.

Herald Series:

“As an active registrant, I felt I had to assist my NHS colleagues – I think many of us in the private sector felt the same.”

Her role day-to-day is dependent on the allocated area she is assigned to work, which is decided by the Rapid Response service.

She said: “It has been a baptism of fire, but it’s also been enlightening to return to the wards. The technology has moved on so far from my traditional days of ward work in the 1990s. That’s been a challenge, but the nursing process has not changed.”

Ms Chantry said she was welcomed back to the wards and has settled in quickly, saying: “The teamwork and positive support from staff has been a boost of confidence. I’ve really enjoyed going back to my roots and nursing patients in hospital. Basic nursing skills never go away.

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“I may not be part of the permanent team, but I have shared the highs and lows with the amazing staff I have shared a shift with.”

She added: “I plan to be available for as long as I am needed and needed and deemed useful.”

A total of 339 staff members have been recruited to the trust through the NHS Professionals’ Rapid Response scheme. These include nurses, doctors, midwives, and other support staff.

Andrew Carter, director of nursing for workforce at OUH, said: “Our wonderful staff are doing everything they possibly can to meet the challenges associated this global pandemic, and it is invaluable that we are being supported by committed former colleagues such as Su to provide the best care possible to Covid-19 patients. To those dedicated people who have returned to work to help others – thank you.”

Anne Challinor, director of client relations at NHS Professionals, said: “We are grateful to Su and everyone else who has answered our call and returned to the frontline to support patients and our NHS trusts during these unprecedented times.”


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