On the evening of 26th March I was at work with a colleague, providing personal care to patients. We were aware that at 8pm there was due to be a Nationwide round of applause for frontline workers, which we were keen to join in with.
We pulled on to a residential street just before 8pm in a very well populated area, ready to see our last patient of the evening. As it was so close to 8pm, we stayed in the car, so that we could clap for all the other frontline key workers in the country – our colleagues, our friends and our family members included.
The streets are very quiet at 8pm now, completely different than it was up a week ago. Sitting in the car, we started to notice lights turning on around us, front doors opening, people coming out to sit in their front gardens, hanging out of upstairs windows. As 8pm came round, all of a sudden there were claps, whistles, cheers, police sirens, even fireworks from the houses on the street and beyond! It was the most amazing sound.
Once the cheers died down, we headed in to our patients house. A few of the neighbours who were still outside even gave us an extra cheer as we walked towards them.
After chatting to the patient and their family for a few minutes, they asked the time. I told them it was just past 8pm. The patient and their family had been wanting to clap at the window with the rest of the neighbourhood but had lost track of time, so as we were in the patient’s home with multiple family members, they gave us our very own applause. It was hard not to show how much it had touched me, my flushed cheeks and pink eyes gave it all away!
Sitting listening to the resounding show of appreciation from the public felt so poignant and emotional, and just at that time, the enormity of the situation we are all in really hit me. To me, being able to come out to work feels normal. As normal as it can do currently. Apart from the extra precautions, I’m doing the same job, I’m providing the same care. By no means do I ever feel like I need or deserve a round of applause for simply doing my job, sometimes a small thank you, or just a cheeky raised eyebrow means the absolute world. But hearing that all over the country, people made the effort to go out in the cold and say thank you, I felt really quite moved.
I finished my shift and went home to my other normal. My family – all safe and healthy. For a few minutes I sat, after taking off my uniform and name badge, to reflect on the enormity of what had just happened and the love that had been shown by complete strangers. I’m never ashamed to show emotion and I did have a cry, as I’m sure many others did and felt an overwhelming sense of pride that I was making a difference to people’s lives. Thank you to everyone who took the time to clap and cheer. It may have felt like a small gesture for you to show your thanks, but for me and for thousands others like me, it really did mean everything.
Reflection by Emma, Hospice at Home – Trainee Nursing Associate