Heather Riddoch, Senior Charge Nurse, ITU

What attracted you to work in intensive care?

Following a placement in High Dependency during my training I instantly knew this was the type of nursing I felt passionate about, and this was cemented after a secondment to ITU. I love looking after critically unwell patients and it’s nothing short of amazing to see a patient survive and recover from a serious health ordeal. That’s one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as an ICU nurse.

I was extremely lucky that I was given the opportunity to work in intensive care as my first staff nurse post.

What’s your coping mechanism for dealing with Covid-19?

Critical care nursing can be fast paced, and you have to be dynamic and adaptable. I am able to keep calm, especially in emergency situations, due to the specialist training I have completed. Covid-19 has brought us multiple challenges in ITU. My approach is based on the fact that I will hopefully never experience another global pandemic in my nursing career. I want to look back on this time with pride, and I endeavour to provide the excellent care I know my nursing team can provide to our patients despite the challenges we encounter.

How much does working long hours and with such unwell people take it out of you?

I have been much more tired on my days off. As a result, I have started a WhatsApp Wellness group for staff. I can also signpost my team to the links we have available for sites that provide advice and help for staff feeling anxious and stressed. The Spiritual Care Team have been extremely supportive to us and visit the unit twice a week.

Is there anything which lifts your mood – even if it’s only temporary?

My usual coping mechanisms include taking long walks with my family and dogs or a nice bubble bath with candles and a glass of Prosecco. I am missing catch ups with my family and friends but hopefully this will be allowed soon.

What is your favourite book or books?

The Unwind Series by Neil Schusterman.

Exercise or couch potato?

Couch potato at the moment I’m afraid, especially if I get into a good box set on TV.

Saver or spender?

Usually a saver, however during lockdown I have done an enormous amount of internet shopping!

What is always in your fridge?

Humous in the food fridge and lots of wine in the wine fridge!

Which person in the world would you most like to meet?

There are many different people I would love to meet for various reasons. If it was dead or alive though, I’d pick Florence Nightingale. Her ethos of preventing harm and improving quality of nursing care was inspiring, especially as a woman in the 1800s, as life was very difficult for us females then! She took 38 nurses to a military hospital in Turkey, when women were not allowed to go there, and published a book. I am known for using her quotes when I am teaching and through my presentations. Her writings are still very relevant today. My favourite quote from her ‘Notes on Nursing’ is:


This couldn’t be truer in today’s current situation.

What is the best thing in your life?

My husband Chris and children Jude & Jessica, especially when we are on a lovely holiday abroad enjoying life!