Student starts campaign to fund wellbeing packs to support her patients

Date 16.02.2021

A University of Northampton (UON) nursing student working on the COVID-front line has launched an initiative to donate wellbeing packs for patients to keep them occupied while spending long hours in care.

Charlene Field, based at Kettering General Hospital (KGH), has launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy mindfulness activities and items and create wellbeing packs to boost patients’ mental and physical health, with the help of her friends Tanya Cox* and Danielle Crook.

Charlene, who is in the final year of her degree in Adult Nursingis raising funds to develop the packs which will include colouring pages and pencils for grown-ups, word searches, suduko, knitting packs, books and personal care products such as combs or mini wash items.

The idea came to her while working on the wards. She said: “The wellbeing packs idea came from what patients have given me as a student nurse, just to say thank you. One patient gave me a colouring page she had completed, which she was very proud of because it helped keep her occupied during her stay.

“Another patient was even more creative and made me a boat from one of the disposable food menus. She was so overjoyed at doing this she used it to thank me and open up and start talking about her past working in the navy; I felt so grateful she revealed that to me.

“I know on the face of it things like this sound like something only children would do, but colouring has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. I thought, if something that simple works for one patient, it might work for many others and help with their hospital recovery. Hence starting the crowdfunder, so I can buy the items and make up the packs.”

“I just want to give back to the patients a little joy, as their care has been altered due to the pandemic, so some have been isolating and not been able to have visitors; I feel these packs will help relieve their anxieties.”

Medicine and Older Adults Matron, Alice Chalmers, said: “This is a lovely and thoughtful gesture in these challenging times. Charlene’s idea of a pack full of puzzles and activities to keep people busy and occupied, especially when we can’t allow face-to-face visiting, is an excellent one.

“I know it will be very much appreciated by many of our patients and I want to say a big thank you to Charlene and everyone who has supported her fundraising efforts so far.”

Charlene, a single mum with three young children, has worked long shifts, often in full PPE. But she has managed to maintain her academic studies and achieve a work life balance during her placement at KGH, with the help of family and friends.

She continues: “Just being able to go home and hug my children and appreciate them a little bit more after a heavy day helps.  My nine year old son admitted he was scared at first, but he knew mummy would do a good job. Although he misses me on my long shifts, he is proud of what I do.  My children’s resilience and adaptivity makes me proud of them, as they have been supportive throughout knowing their mum is following her dream. My work during the pandemic also allows me to show my kids that with hard work and determination, good things are possible. You really do start to cherish what you have during difficult times.”

Anyone who wants to support Charlene’s crowdfunding campaign can do so here.

*Charlene and Tanya are pictured on a 14km fundraising run to give a boost to their donation total.