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The Pandemic and Me: Caroline Buckley.

Hello lovely people! We are back with our sixth instalment of our interview series, The Pandemic and Me. This week we are chatting to the wonderful Caroline Buckley, a neonatal nurse practitioner who has had continued to work incredibly hard during such an unprecedented time for the NHS. She chats to us about her experiences of the past year and how she has dealt with the stresses she has faced through adopting new hobbies and spending time with her family. Take it away, Caroline...

NAME: Caroline Buckley

LOCATION: Yarm

JOB: Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Hey there! Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do for work?

Hello! I’m Caroline, I'm 48 and I’ve been a nurse for twenty nine years. I work as a neonatal nurse practitioner – looking after babies who are born too early or need special or intensive care from birth. I love my job- no two days are the same and I meet some lovely people. It sounds cliché to say it, but it’s a privilege to be part of some special moments in people’s lives. 

What have you found most challenging in the past year?

Most definitely the lack of human contact. I’ve been very lucky in that I do go out to work, so I’m still in touch with the outside world- but it’s been hard not being able to see family as much as we’d like to or would have done in ‘normal’ times.  

I count myself lucky though, I think the most challenging aspect of the last year has been for the families I care for in hospital- parents who are only able to visit their baby for a certain amount of time, and grandparents who can’t visit at all.   I feel for those families so much, and it does really make me appreciate how much trust they place in us to provide human comfort for their loved one when they aren’t able to.

What’s your life motto?

‘Manners matter’– people always notice manners, but especially bad ones. So never respond to rudeness; when people are rude to you, they reveal who they are, not who you are. 

How has Covid-19 changed your outlook on life?

Who knew that all I needed in my wardrobe was two sets of comfy clothes – one to wear and one to wash?!  Seriously though, the last year has taught me the value of so many things that we took for granted before – the little things, like meeting friends, shaking hands, or getting a haircut. But at the same time, it’s made me appreciate how lucky we are that we can go out for a walk, enjoy what’s on our doorstep, and take the time to say hello to people we pass in the street.  

How have you been keeping upbeat and positive during this period

Lockdown meant finding something to do – so I’ve finally taught myself to crochet. I’ve never been a creative person but I was inspired to have a go by one of the lovely doctors I work with. I sat down in front of a YouTube tutorial and after almost giving up, it finally clicked - I’m delighted with the granny square blanket that’s still growing! So although this year has been challenging, it’s been satisfying to embrace something new and accomplish it!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in life and/or in the past year 

Stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives! 

What 3 things do you look forward to doing most once we are in a safe position to do so ?

-Meeting up with friends and family- and giving them a squeeze!

-Going to the theatre or a live performance.

How have you practised self care/love during this period?

Before lockdown, with places to go and things to do, I always seemed to be in a rush. Having time to fill, I started having nice long soaks in the bath of an evening…and I’d forgotten how lovely they are and how much I relax when I’m in one. With a nice bath oil and a face mask it’s become a bit of a night time routine…I think it’s one I’ll be sticking to because I’m definitely sleeping more soundly on bath night…

If you were one of our soap bars which one would you be and why ? 

I think I’d have to be the coconut one, because of the properties – it’s good for your skin and hair, it’s good for your immune system – but also the smell reminds me of holidays and pina coladas, so if I close my eyes and dream, I can imagine that I’m on a sandy beach with a cocktail in my hand! 

Here’s your chance to give a shoutout to someone who has gotten you through the past few months! What is their name and how have they helped you?

I’ve been really lucky to have my lovely family around me the last year or so. I’ve had my kids at home and alongside my husband they’ve kept the house busy and cheerful! We’ve spent many nights playing scrabble and days lounging together in the garden which has definitely helped blow off steam!

Thank you so much for speaking to us Caroline- we think you're amazing.