Coronavirus claims life of ‘inspirational’ nurse who helped train next generation of NHS staff

May 29 2020
Coronavirus claims life of ‘inspirational’ nurse who helped train next generation of NHS staff

A NURSE who worked at Frenchay Hospital before helping to train the next generation of NHS staff has died after contracting coronavirus.

Sandra Hicks passed away on Saturday after testing positive for Covid-19, North Bristol NHS Trust announced today.

She was described as “the heart of a large and loving family” by her relatives, while the trust said she had “dedicated her life to caring for people” over a 35-year career.

Sandra trained as a nurse at Frenchay School of Nursing and spent 15 years working at Frenchay Hospital before moving to NHS Direct in 2000.

After spending time working in a local care home, she returned to North Bristol NHS Trust in 2015, work in its apprenticeship team.

Sandra was the lead practice development teacher in the trust’s Apprenticeship Centre.

In a statement released by the trust, her family said: “Sandra was at the heart of a large and loving family.

Her parents, sisters, nieces, nephews and great nephews were always a very important part of her life, her home with Deb often being the centre for large fun-filled family gatherings.

She always gave generously of her love and time for each of them, her smiles and laughter will be remembered and treasured forever by them.

Sandra’s positivity and encouragement for all of her beloved family was like a button holding them all together.”

Sandra’s line manager, Jonathan Hall, said: “Sandra was a true inspiration to her colleagues and learners that she supported within the trust.

There are so many people that have developed both personally and professionally because of her commitment to them as an individual.

During her time with the team she has supported over 80 learners. Some have progressed to become registered professionals and some will continue their journey.

She truly does leave NBT with a legacy that will impact so many people for decades to come. Sandra will be so deeply missed by everyone within the team.”

Close colleague Becky Holmes said: "My friend, mentor, sounding board, shoulder and a good old push in the right direction when I needed it. She meant a lot to me and I am the person in work that I am because of her.

I have so many questions that I still had to ask her and so much more to learn from her. I will take what she has taught me and share this with her team and carry it on for her and do her proud.”

Trust chief executive Andrea Young said: “Sandra was an extremely valued member of our hospital family and will be greatly missed.

She had dedicated her life to caring for people and worked for the Trust for over 20 years and the wider NHS for 35 years.

She was a hardworking, committed individual that took true pride in the development of others. She was always on hand to provide support and guidance to the team and took great satisfaction in seeing others develop to reach their full potential.

The thoughts of everyone at Southmead are with Sandra’s family, her close friends and colleagues and we ask that you respect the privacy and wishes of the family at this incredibly difficult time.”

Former colleagues at NHS Direct said: “Such a lovely colleague and friend.

Always had a great way of training people and was popular throughout NHS Direct, we will always remember her smile and wicked laugh.”

Medicine Matron Tracey Lucas said: “I have wonderful memories of working with Sandra over many years at Frenchay Hospital during my nurse training from 1983-1986 and as a staff nurse for many years beyond.

Since seeing her battle with her illness and talking to colleagues and friends, the overarching memories and sentiments have flooded back to me from many people who remembered Sandra as a very well loved, efficient, sensible nurse who always took control of situations and sorted things out for her patients and her team.

She was extremely friendly and kind, and friends who remember her as a mentor expressed how well taught, safe and supported they felt by Sandra at their most vulnerable times during their careers.

As colleagues, working with Sandra was always a pleasure, she was an amazing role model, always putting her patients first.

We had a lot of fun together as she had the most wonderful sense of humour and a twinkle in her eye that brightened the most challenging of days on wards 19 and 206.

Strong, supportive always available to listen and help are the things that I especially have heard over these past weeks.

Many people are deeply saddened to hear of her illness but eternally grateful and thankful that they were allowed the opportunity to have been able to work with and learn from her wisdom as an inspirational nurse and colleague.”