It’s time for the partners of our Critical Care Nurses to take the spotlight

Our gratitude for our Critical Care Nurses during this time is something that’s been highlighted since this pandemic began: but what about their partners? We had a chat with medical professionals Vanessa and Ash Barnard to get their perspective. Vanessa is a Pediatric Nurse who’s been on maternity leave for the past few months and her husband, Ash is a Critical Care Nurse. The couple live in Melbourne with their two small children, William, 4.5 months and Theodore (Teddy), 2. 

Image source: Kelly Jordan Photography 

This is Melbourne’s story of gratitude for the partners of Critical Care Nurses. 

There’s no doubt our health care workers have been our heroes on the front-lines during this pandemic, but the hardships don’t stop when they leave the wards and go home. Ash talked us through his workplace experiences during the COVID19 pandemic, explaining that “you walk into a ward and know that it’s probably going to be a bad day before you get there”. Vanessa, a pediatric nurse herself, has seen the effects it’s had on her husband: “I am so grateful that Ash still has a job despite the fact it’s scary to go to work and see what he sees every day. It’s definitely tough.”  

As well as being a stay at home mum, Vanessa has also taken on the role as Ash’s emotional support system, reporting that “you hear of nurses and medical staff going to work and being confronted with these difficult circumstances but you don’t you don’t hear about that mental load that they take home with them and that’s something I’ve seen in Ash.” She reported finding it difficult to watch him struggling: “there are days where I wish I could jump into his shoes and go to work so that he could stay at home with the boys and have a break.”  

Although his work is tough, Ash is grateful for the people that help him get through it. “You know that the team you’re working with knows what they’re doing and they’re very positive in the way they do it. We all have the same goal and that’s to keep the health of our patients as our priority” he said. He also has a lot to be grateful for, starting with his family: “I’m definitely grateful that our immediate and extended family have remained healthy even though I’ve been exposed to the virus.” He explains how having Vanessa as a support system has been imperative to him throughout his experience working during the pandemic, “having the support of Vanessa has been an enormous thing: when I come home, she just knows if I’ve had a bad day or a good day and she’s here for me regardless and I’m extremely grateful for that.”  

Image source: Kelly Jordan Photography

“The thought of Vanessa and the boys- that’s great to come home to” 

We’ve all been making more of an effort to thank our medical professionals for all of their incredible work during this difficult time, but what has it meant to them? Ash explained that “your first instinct is to actually feel a bit awkward since I’m just doing my job, but at the same time you’re grateful for the fact that they actually said thank you.” He reported receiving these comments of gratitude making a distinctive difference to his mental health: “you feel like you get a bit of a lift from it because you’ve actually made a difference to their experience of what they’re going through.”  

Having a hub for positivity is a convenient way to directly benefit both Critical Care Nurses and their partners, “I think this platform is a great idea because people don’t often see the other side of it”, said Vanessa. With a tool that directly improves her partner’s mental health, a huge weight will be taken of Vanessa’s mind: “There’s such a need for this platform so that people can go somewhere that highlights the positives. With social media you don’t know if you’ll read positive or awful comments. I think Share Gratitude will play a huge role in the mental health of people in all industries.” 

We’re so grateful for the work that Ash does and the amazing support he gets from Vanessa. What are you grateful for? Say thank you the best way we know how, by sharing your story on