12/05/2020 | Press releases

Celebrating the determination of Nichola, now working on COVID-19 ward, on International Nurses Day

The determination of one of NHS East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust’s nurses is being celebrated after she pushed on to complete her training despite losing her mum and “best friend’ suddenly just a year into her nursing degree.

“I needed to carry on with my nurse training for my Mum.” said Ipswich Hospital critical care nurse Nichola Armstrong. The 41-year-old mum-of-two to Eryn, 20, and Niamh, 16, lost her mum in 2016 just a year after starting her course. She was devastated, but knew she had to carry on and complete her training.

Nichola’s Mum “and best friend” had supported her decision to leave her 18-year job at Barclays bank to study for her dream career, but Teresa died suddenly with a blood clot at the age of 58.

Although Nichola, who lives in Ipswich, had the support of her husband Andy, the loss of her Mum was very difficult. She said: “We were so close, we’re such a close family and it was really hard. Also hard for my younger brother Brad, who was only 20 at the time.”

Nichola battled through the dark days of grief because she knew her Mum was so proud of her and she wanted to be an example to her two daughters, Eryn and Niamh. The family were also hit with the loss of Nichola’s Nan 17 months after her Mum died.

She added: “Even though my Mum wasn’t here, knowing she was so pleased I had got onto the course really helped throughout the rest of my degree.

“I also thought if I give up what’s that showing my children? I think I was just trying to show them you have to live your life and carry on.”

Eryn was so inspired by her mum Nichola’s determination to continue with her course that she too is now training to be a children’s nurse at the University of Suffolk.

Nichola said: “Losing my Mum has been devastating, but it’s made me realise you nurse the patient, but you also nurse the patient’s family too. I know my Mum would be proud I carried on with my course and am now doing what I always wanted to do when I left school.”

Nichola worked in critical care following her degree, and just before COVID-19 hit she moved to infection control, but to help support her colleagues and patients, she has returned to the critical care team at Ipswich Hospital. She cares for poorly patients with COVID-19 and is one of almost 3,000 nurses at the Trust caring for sick patients.

Today on International Nurses’ Day NHS East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust celebrates every single nurse in their NHS family.

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