Helen McGill is a staff nurse working for the NHS. Having previously worked at the Beatson Oncology Centre, Helen now works with the Glasgow and Greater Clyde Staff Bank. Recently, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, she worked most of her shifts at Gartnavel Hospital and, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, mostly with Covid-19 positive patients.
Helen says she had abandoned her creative side for years, and one day decided to take up painting again. She is an artist as a hobby and writes poetry and will often write a poem about her art piece. Having grown up children who have now left home she has more time to take up some of the creative things she enjoys. She joined an art class approx. one year ago and has been painting ever since. Helen believes painting, poetry, writing and just being generally creative has helped her cope with the conditions she has had to work under as a staff nurse caring for Covid-19 positive patients.
She told us: “I wanted to capture what my colleagues and I feel as NHS workers, especially throughout this pandemic. This painting (NHS Prayer, acrylic on canvas) came around by chance. You see, I was practicing drawing hands one evening (they are so difficult) using images from google and such, and it just came into my head to pop a pair of gloves on my drawing, which later became my painting. I wanted to diffuse the religious connotation associated with my image so I accompanied it with a poem.
I just wanted to add, I am proud to work for the NHS, but I am proud of all key workers, shop workers, firefighters, etc. Also, lots of people kept working from home too throwing together temp offices in the corner of a bedroom while trying to look after children etc or struggling to keep small businesses afloat. We really are all key workers in some form or another.”
We might not clasp our hands together
But we’ll hold hands with you
We might not recite words from our lips
But we will sit in silence with you
We’re not kneeling in plea, or bowing our heads
But we will sit right by your side
You may not think we are listening
But we always hear your cry
We may look distracted as we busy along
And you fear you will be missed
But please rest assured, as we juggle it all
You’re at the top of our list
We may be avid believers
In a Devine being above
We may not believe in anything celestial
But we always believe in love
We don’t turn you off at the end of our shift
We worry about our day
Did we do the right thing, did we give the right care?
This is how we pray
So please, we know it’s a worrying time
We understand, we really do
In this together, we make a great team
And we’ll always be here for you.
In Commemoration of all who sadly lost their lives during the Covid Pandemic 2020, and in tribute to the NHS staff who worked tirelessly throughout.