Shropshire school nurse steps back onto NHS front line to fight Covid-19

By Lisa O'Brien | Wellington | Coronavirus | Published:

A Shropshire school nurse has stepped up to go back to the NHS on the frontline fighting the coronavirus while pupils are learning from home.

Lousie Madeley dressed in full PPE

Louise Madeley, nurse manager at Wrekin College, has more than 20 years of nursing experience specialising in intensive care and A&E, while also having first-hand experience of major incidents including the Paddington rail disaster.

Wrekin College, in Wellington, has supported the move while pupils are learning from home and less in need of a school nurse on site.

The mother-of-two's skills are invaluable in the current battle to care for patients fighting the deadly disease in Shropshire’s hospitals.

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She said she felt an instinctive duty to answer the call for help after the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Royal College of Nursing issued an appeal for those nurses no longer working in the NHS to come back – particularly acute care nurses.

“These are my former colleagues and friends and I have a professional duty of care to stand alongside them and fight for patients' lives, which at the end of the day is what I have trained for,” said Louise.

Although she admitted it was not without its risks to her and her family, and challenges adapting to a new draining schedule of 12-hour days in full PPE equipment.


Lousie Madeley with her family outside Wrekin College

She said: “Frontline care like this carries extremely high risks to health due to all the patients having Covid-19, especially those ventilated. But I do this because I know my particular training is in need right now and it hopefully will make a difference and help to save lives.

“It is also very emotionally tough, as we are caring for people at their most vulnerable in exceptional circumstances when they cannot have their loved ones near them. But I do see it as an honour to be in that position and we all do all we can to make our patients feel cared for and to connect them to loved ones in any way we can, including online calls and Facetime.


“The situation on those specialist wards though is like a war zone and they are battling all the time to ensure as many people as possible recover from this.

"It is important that everyone who can help towards the overall effort does what they can to minimise the spread of coronavirus and to support the NHS.”

Louise qualified with an honours degree in nursing sciences from University of Hull in 1999, went into acute neuroscience, doing a post grad in neuroscience at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neuroscience.

She moved to University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust intensive care unit, completing specialist training before becoming a senior nurse there.


Following some time in France she returned to England and worked in Royal Shrewsbury Hospital's emergency department.

She left in 2011 to do an MSc in advanced clinical practice, working in primary practice as a nurse practitioner.

Louise then took a break from her career to have her two children.

She was recently appointed at Wrekin College where she is working with members of the teaching staff and leadership team on an all-encompassing Centre of Excellence for Health and Wellbeing, previously known as the medical centre.

“At Wrekin I was also working towards providing first aid training for key staff, as well as those who wish to complete out-of-hospital training in level three first aid, oxygen management, AED training and differing levels of CPR," she said.

"I will also be bringing certified first aid training for pupils during their PSHEE curriculum. It was an exciting time taking these projects forward but I have tried to adapt to this change.”

Despite Louise’s working hours having increased dramatically from a term-time-only role, and her circumstances having changed significantly during this time of crisis, she is still working on the sexual health education sessions and brand new certified first aid sessions, which will be ready to roll out to pupils as soon as Wrekin reopens for business.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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