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Heroes of the RUH – Helen Jeffcoat-Marsh

Meet Helen Jeffcoat-Marsh, Senior Sister of MAU (Medical Assessment Unit) at the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

“In MAU we see patients who have been referred by their GP or by a doctor in the Emergency Department. It’s a busy working environment and it is surprising as to how resilient you become as there is so much pressure but we keep going. We are a strong team. I love the fact that no day is the same. We treat a lot of people who are acutely unwell and who are in for various reasons and I love the challenges it brings.

“This Christmas I will be working an early shift on MAU which is 7:30am to 3:30pm. I am not a huge fan of Christmas so I am happy to be part of the team on Christmas morning so that at least one other person gets to spend it with their family. I know that this year there will be patients we care for who may not be able to see their families due to COVID and the restrictions. I hope that behind those masks they can see that there is still a smile and that we will make it the best we possibly can for them.

“I started my career here at the RUH as a student nurse in 1992. I qualified in 1995 and worked on a few different wards before joining MAU and it’s been a privilege to act up as a Senior Sister during my career.

“To let off steam and wind down from work I like to go running. The days on MAU are always so hectic so I don’t wear headphones when I run as I enjoy listening to what is going on around me. I love the peacefulness of the canal path and the humdrum of the town. I feel so much better afterwards, it helps me unwind. They say it’s good for your mental health and I would recommend it to everyone. In the summer I was running after work but now its winter I run before I start work. I get out at 5:30am and run 6km before I start my day and I always run 10km on a Sunday morning. In these times more than ever it’s important to remain fit and healthy. My running also helps me to maintain the resilience I need to do my job.

“As I started to get into my running a few years ago my wife said to me why don’t I set myself a challenge and go for a virtual medal. I’m not very competitive and so couldn’t face competing with others. My first medal was a 5km, and now I do a lot of different ones all year round. I’ve done a winter challenge, this November I did one for Halloween, I’ve done a marathon and last year I achieved 500 miles. This year I’m on course to run 1,000 miles by the end of December. As well as winning a medal and completing personal challenges the medals I enter for also donate money to a variety of charities. During the first lockdown back in April I ran for the NHS and all the key workers. 15% of my medal cost went to Bath mind and other NHS charities. My 88 miles that month contributed to the £75,000 raised.”