In celebration of this year’s International Nurses Day, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has unveiled a piece of artwork painted by a nurse at the trust who turned to painting during the coronavirus pandemic and produced a piece to reflect their experience.
Staff nurse and budding artist Laura Ghosh has been a nurse for 12 years and started at the trust in 2016, working within the surgical division. When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, Laura was redeployed to the intensive care unit (ICU) at Royal County Hampshire Hospital (RHCH) in Winchester.
Laura spent 10 weeks being supported by the ICU team during her redeployment, before returning to the Treatment Centre (TC) where she was supported by clinical matron Sarah Gold and senior sister Georgina Fisher. Despite her apprehension and the circumstances that brought her there, Laura found ICU to be an incredibly supportive and calm environment to work in.
Looking back at her experience, Laura said: “I didn’t fully appreciate at the time just how much it would test me, both personally and professionally. When we started to see signs of a second wave, I started to paint as a way to express how I felt, we have been lucky to have access to lots of support at work, but this was something I could do at home.”
Sarah, clinical matron at RHCH, had previously seen some of Laura’s artwork and approached her to paint a piece for the ward that reflected the last year for it to be displayed in the Treatment Centre at RHCH.
Laura said: “I have been very grateful for the support I’ve had during my time in ICU and I was really delighted when Sarah asked me to create a painting for the ward. The first things that came to mind were the waves, which to me represented the rise and fall of the pandemic, and rainbows which became the symbol of support for the NHS. I feel very honoured to have been asked to take on this project and I'm really pleased the final ‘untitled’ piece has been chosen by the TC team.”
Laura has also created another painting that was gifted as a surprise to the chairman of Hampshire Hospitals, Steve Erskine.
Sarah Gold said: “It is widely recognised that nurses and clinical staff have been working tirelessly through this pandemic, but it is important that we do not forget our non-clinical colleagues who have also been there supporting in the background every step of the way. Whether providing on the ground support or making tough leadership decisions we have all pulled together. We wanted to recognise their contribution too – Laura’s other painting will be displayed in the management offices for all to see.”
Steve Erskine said: “COVID-19 has affected everyone in a different way, whether it’s shielding at home or doing extra shifts at the hospital, Laura’s painting is really about us coming back together as one family and one team, and I think she’s really captured the essence of that. Our teams have had to deal with all the emotion that came with the pandemic at the same time as worrying about all the things the rest of us might be worrying about with our own families and the pressures that brings. Everyone still carried on and did a fantastic job and this picture really captures that for me. I am also delighted that Laura took the time and effort to create an additional painting, we will display it in the management offices as a reminder of the entire workforce’s resilience and ability to come out the other side through such challenging times.”