Dressed in a smart black blazer teamed with a white blouse, Kate, 39, spoke to nurses from the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust via video link to hear about their work and thank them for their efforts during the pandemic.
During the call, Kate heard the touching story of a senior nurse who held the hand of a dying patient and played his favourite band Bon Jovi after his wife could not make it to his bedside.
Kate praised Vasu Lingappa for going the ‘extra mile’ and shared a lighter moment with the NHS worker who joked the patient’s wife had wanted him to sing the rock group’s hits – but he declined because of his strong Asian accent.
She made the call from the Queen’s Sandringham estate on Tuesday, after the monarch loaned her and Prince William the residence to use as their working base during lockdown.
The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) has thanked NHS staff for ‘going the extra mile’ after hearing how a nurse played Bon Jovi as he held the hand of a dying patient
The grand estate in Norfolk is currently empty as the monarch and Prince Philip are at Windsor for lockdown and it is not open to the public.
The Duke and Duchess reside down the road with their children at the 10 bedroom Anmer Hall but have set up a small temporary office with their staff at Sandringham.
It is just a few minutes drive from Anmer and means they can carry out their work without fear of interruption from George, Charlotte and Louis, aged seven, five and two, respectively.
During the call, Mr Lingappa, a critical care outreach practitioner, told the duchess: ‘A lot of people are dying and we normally have families surrounding them during the last hour, but we’re not able to do that.
‘And if I can give you a little example, we had a gentleman and unfortunately he was dying, so we spoke to his wife and she said, ‘I can’t come to see (him) but can you make sure you sing Bon Jovi and hold his hand?’.
Kate praised Vasu Lingappa (pictured) for going the ‘extra mile’ and shared a lighter moment with the NHS worker who joked the patient’s wife had wanted him to sing the rock group’s hits – but he declined because of his strong Asian accent
Dressed in a smart black blazer teamed with a white blouse, Kate, 39, spoke to nurses from the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust via video link (above) to hear about their work and thank them for their efforts during the pandemic
‘And I said, “If I sing Bon Jovi in my accent. It won’t be appropriate”. So I took my phone out and played a YouTube video of Bon Jovi and I held his hand.’
He went on to say: ‘It’s been tough, but like I said earlier, I’m surrounded by some amazing people with lots of skills and inspirational stories.
‘We are nurses (some) working in critical care for 30 years, 35 years, 40 years – so there is nothing they haven’t seen, but this is unprecedented.’
After hearing the emotional story, Kate told the nurses: ‘You hear time and time again about the amazing things nurses up and down the country are doing – going that extra mile.
‘It’s the things that, you know, it’s not part of the training and the things that you’re taught, but the things that come from your heart.
‘I think that’s what matters so much now, these acts of kindness to the patients you’re looking after, that are in your care, that family members aren’t able to be there, but you are going that extra mile and being there.’
Elsewhere, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge heard about the crucial mental health support being provided for frontline workers during the pandemic by Hospice UK’s Just ‘B’ counselling and bereavement support line last week
The Duchess also heard from retired nurses Caroline Rudd and Judith Smith, who had returned to work to deliver Covid vaccines in care homes. The pair first met when they began training in 1978.
Mrs Rudd told the Duchess: ‘I’m supposed to be retired, I left nursing three years ago after 40 years with the NHS, but when the pandemic came along I felt the need to come back and I’m currently working as part of a vaccinations team out in the community.’
Kate smiled and told her: ‘Well done for coming back.’ Mrs Rudd said: ‘One of the most important aspects [of her returning to work] is to tell people to have the vaccine and to give them the positive side of that because a lot of people have come to me seeking advice.’
Kate said: ‘This is the thing, you as nurses as one of the most trusted professions in Britain, to be able to reassure the public that this is safe and the right thing to be doing is really fantastic, so well done. It’s very much needed.’
She also heard how many nurses from other areas such as paediatrics, dentistry, surgery and general wards had been seconded to intensive care to help care for Covid patients.
Mrs Smith told the Duchess that one man who had been training to be a vicar, retrained as a nurse so he could help with the national effort.
Kate made the call from the Queen’s Sandringham estate (pictured) on Tuesday, after the monarch loaned her and Prince William the residence to use as their working base during lockdown
Joe Colby, Lead Nurse for Gastroenterology, told the Duchess: ‘Spirits are high within the trust. There’s a lot of shared stories and shared experiences and there are tears of both happiness and sadness.
‘I think one of the most difficult things is when someone is sad, not being able to have that contact with them, when normally you would give them a hug if they were sad.
‘With social distancing we have to be more reserved in relation to that. But a smile, a knowing look or a wink can lift people’s spirits.’
Professor Nina Morgan, chief nursing officer at UCHW, added: ‘Some of our nurses on our frontline wards find the shifts incredibly difficult because of the volume of people who have been admitted to our hospital who have Covid.
‘When I’m walking round the ward and speaking to nurses, there are some who are absolutely visibly distressed and upset by what they’re seeing and what they’re experiencing.’
Throughout the pandemic, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have met NHS staff in person and virtually to hear about the work they have been doing.
Last week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke with frontline workers and counsellors about the mental health impact of the COVID-19 crisis, with Kate sporting another chic blazer for the call.
The Nursing Now campaign, of which The Duchess has been patron since 2018, aims to raise the profile of nurses globally.