In a new feature we are contacting past students that are working in various Key Roles during the Covid -19 Pandemic. We want to celebrate their service and thank them for their hard work.


Here’s an update from Jess Lownds:
This is how I currently have to work everyday due to Covid-19. I am extremely busy at work making sure that everyone gets the medication that they need. I have to wear this personal protective equipment to protect myself and others around me. I also wear a face shield that the DT department at St. Margaret Ward have donated to me and my work colleagues.
Pharmacies are under a lot of pressure at the moment due to certain medicines being out of stock due to high demand.  I am so glad that I am able to still work throughout this pandemic and be part of the NHS and key workers!

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Here’s an update from Elle Gajda:
I was at SMW from 2007-2012. After a period of working as a pottery decorator for Emma Bridgewater, I followed my childhood dream and joined the police…. currently based at Longton and love spending my day working with PD Barry (pictured).
During covid-19 we are spending lots of our time dispersing people’s social gatherings ensuring that social distancing measures are maintained to try and keep the public as safe possible as well as everything else we have to deal with on a daily basis.

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Here’s an update from Kim Melvin:
I left SMW after completing my A levels in 2003. I have since qualified as a teacher and am now working as Head of English and Head of KS4 in another local high school.
Since the pandemic hit, I have supported my colleagues and students electronically via sites such as SMHW and Instagram whilst working remotely from home. I am also rostered onto one day a week in school to help support the key workers’ children whilst also home educating my own two KS1 children.
My husband is a postman and is also considered a key worker so we have to juggle the childcare between us where we can.
It’s a challenging time for everyone; one that comes with change and the need to adjust accordingly. I do what I need to do to help those who need it, to stay safe where I can and to protect my own family.
I miss my mum and dad, brother and sister, my children miss their grandparents and cousins but we’re no different to anyone else. Follow advice: stay home, protect the the NHS, save lives.

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Here’s an update from Dr Robbie Horton MBBS. This is what he told us about his career so far and his work in the times of Covid-19:
I really enjoyed my time at St Margaret Ward. I enjoyed learning and knew I wanted an academic career. I found the teachers friendly and approachable. They gave me opportunities to reach my potential and through their support and encouragement, I felt confident to pursue a career as a Doctor.
After completing my Medicine Degree at Newcastle University, including 3 years at Durham Medical School, I started work in the North East at South Tyneside Hospital. Following this I worked at Hexham General Hospital and I am now continuing my General Practice Speciality training in Gateshead.
Without the support of all those at St Margaret Ward I would never have had these incredible opportunities!
The challenges currently faced in the NHS are unrivalled through its history. In General Practice, we have adapted quickly to continue providing care to all of our patients, not least those who are most vulnerable. We have faced difficult ethical decisions surrounding end of life care, resuscitation and treatment escalation. Our aim is to continue to provide as much routine care as possible whilst balancing the increased demands of nursing homes, the elderly, and those with significant comorbidity.
We have overcome many challenges to continue working at the forefront of this pandemic, however we know there are many more challenges to come. It has tested our resolve, but we remain dedicated to providing an excellent service to our patients.
Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.

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