Intensive care

LSBU nursing staff deployed to Nightingale Hospital to help NHS fight pandemic

Dr Suzanne Bench is training nursing staff in applied critical care practice techniques, whilst Anthony McGrath is helping to plan and construct more Nightingale Hospitals across the country
08 April 2020

Dr Suzanne Bench, Associate Professor of Nursing in LSBU’s School of Health and Social Care, is working at the NHS Nightingale Hospital in East London, helping the NHS to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Suzanne is helping to train nursing staff in applied critical care practice techniques. To do this, Suzanne will be drawing on her 20 years’ experience of critical care nursing and her academic research into the psychological recovery of patients and their families following critical illness.

Suzanne says: “As an experienced clinical academic intensive care nurse, I was keen to offer my help to set up NHS Nightingale and care for the patients being admitted. In addition to continuing my responsibilities at LSBU, I have been working in the education team for the last two weeks, supporting the training of hundreds of volunteer staff from a variety of different backgrounds - both clinical and non-clinical.

“It is amazing what has been achieved in such a short space of time, with everyone coming together and giving their all. The hospital opened to patients this week (7 April) and I worked my first clinical shifts covering long days on Saturday and Sunday.

“I can’t help but feel a little anxious, working with a team of people I don’t know in a completely new environment and under stressful and demanding conditions, but I am also really pleased to be able to contribute by doing a job that I love; caring for sick patients.”

Meanwhile, Anthony McGrath, LSBU’s Deputy Dean for the School of Health and Social Care, has been deployed by his regiment to help with the planning and construction of more Nightingale Hospitals across the country, in addition to the one currently established at the Excel Centre in East London. He will help to plan, construct and run a new Nightingale hospital in the UK, to be launched in June, based on the model recently adopted at the Excel Centre.

Alongside his academic career, Anthony McGrath is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the reserve forces and has utilised his nursing skills while working as Captain Nurse Officer for the British Army and US Air Force, in Basra and Balad, Iraq.

As he helps to plan more Nightingale hospitals for the treatment of Coronavirus patients, Anthony will be drawing on his long years of service as a Nursing Officer, providing medical support to her Majesty’s Armed Forces, at home and overseas.

Commenting on his new role, Anthony McGrath said: “I am a Lieutenant Colonel and currently regimental second in command of 256 Field hospital here in London. My unit is one of the main contributors to military support being provided at the Nightingale hospital in East London.

“I am really looking forward to leading my team this summer as they have proved once again that they are a superb unit and can make a significant contribution to our country.”