The first thing Michelle Piper did on completing her first shift on intensive care was to ring her mother and say she was OK.
“I was so nervous donning and doffing for the first time,” said the health care assistant who had received a call at Christmas saying she had been rotated to work with critically ill covid patients at Northwick Park.
Michelle had seen many of her nursing colleagues from Central Middlesex seconded to Northwick Park during the first wave and was determined to do her bit.
“It was strange seeing events unfold there and realise it was only just down the road. I couldn’t believe it when the next wave hit us and I got the call.
“I’ve done a lot of praying over the past two months but am so glad I’ve have been able to make a difference and help people.
“I’ve worked as a healthcare assistant for more than 20 years so my training just kicked in,” said the mother of two whose duties include helping staff don and doff, restocking supplies and speaking to relatives about how their love ones were doing.
“I remember arranging for one man to come in to see a dying relative and him being there when they passed away. I spent a long time chatting to him afterwards and that has stayed with me.”
Michelle keeps the words of writer Maya Angelou close to her heart in the form of a written note she carries in her wallet for inspiration.
‘I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.’