27/04/2020 | Press releases

“I couldn’t do nothing”

A retired nurse has returned to the frontline at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) after saying she “couldn’t sit at home doing nothing” while her former colleagues tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Donna Booton spent more than 38 years in the NHS, first working as a nurse and then holding a variety of senior roles before becoming head of quality Improvement covering Colchester and Ipswich hospitals.

Although she retired just before Christmas, Donna has now returned to the wards as a site matron for Colchester Hospital, where she is supporting colleagues, offering advice and reassuring anyone who is feeling anxious. Donna is also helping to manage beds while making sure patients are being cared for by the right specialist teams and have access to tests and services so that they can get home as soon as safely possible.

“A lot of friends still work at the hospital, so I was well aware that demand was beginning to increase,” said Donna. “I immediately knew that I should put my experience to good use and offer to help.

“Once you are a nurse, it gets inside you. I couldn’t just sit at home and do nothing knowing that my colleagues would be up against it. I had absolutely no reservations at all about going back.

“It has been lovely returning to work and everyone has been really welcoming. In other ways it has been quite surreal – because there are no visitors at the moment, the corridors are very quiet and you can walk through the hospital and not see anyone else at all.

“I am happy to stay at the hospital for as long as I’m needed and just want to feel as if I’m helping.”

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