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Nursing Associate crowned "unsung hero"

Published on 10/11/2021

Neelam Dhansey holding her award on the MBCC awards red carpet
Neelam Dhansey holding her award on the MBCC awards red carpet

Neelam Dhansey, a Nursing Associate working in ICU at Good Hope Hospital, has been labelled as an unsung local hero after winning the Frontline Worker of the Year award at this year’s Multicultural Business and Community Champion (MBCC) Awards.

Neelam, who was a Healthcare Assistant in the ICU for seven years before completing the Trainee Nursing Associate programme, was nominated for the award by a relative of a patient she cared for in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to BBC Radio WM after the award ceremony, Amer Awan, the son of the patient, said: "We lost our father due to COVID-19. It was quite an emotional time for us because we couldn’t go to the hospital to see him while he was in his final moments of his life.

"About a week later I got a call from the ICU and it was Neelam. She said to me: 'I was there during his final moments and I held his hand, and I prayed with him', and that meant a lot, Neelam didn’t have to do that.

"I am forever grateful to Neelam, she’s like an angel."

Neelam recalls spending the final moments with the patient and how she felt compelled to sit with him and say some prayers before he died.

She said: "I just couldn’t get the son out of my head. I really felt that I needed to let him know that I was there when his dad died and that he looked at peace."

Overwhelmed by winning the award she said: "I really didn’t think I was going to win.

"I do my best for all my patients. To us it’s just what we do, it’s my job. It’s really crazy that the little things have made such a difference in this situation.

"It’s so overwhelming, but I’m so grateful. It’s really nice to know that I am making a huge difference to families."

Speaking to about her time working during the pandemic, Neelam said: "Words can’t really explain how difficult it’s been, not just for me but for all of my colleagues as well. You never get used to losing patients. These patients aren't just a statistic to us, they’re someone’s mum or dad and we really try and do our best for them."

Lisa Millin, Matron for ICU at Good Hope and Heartlands hospitals, said: “On behalf of the entire critical care team I would like to say how proud we are of Neelam, who thoroughly deserves to be recognised for her hard work and dedication.

"She has done incredibly well to continue her TNA studies and pass with flying colours, whilst also coping with the physical and emotional demands of working in critical care throughout a pandemic.

"She is an absolute credit to the team and always strives to go that extra mile for her patients which brings great comfort to their relatives."

Another UHB colleague, Nathan Samuels, Regional Nurse Advisor for Young People's Healthcare Transition, was also a finalist for the same award.

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