TWO NURSES from Pendle who have been friends since childhood have found themselves together on the frontline tackling the coronavirus outbreak.

Jasmin Wilson and Ellie Smith, both 21, studied Health and Social Work Professions at Nelson and Colne College together before finishing their nursing degrees at the University of Leeds and being posted to Covid-19 wards at Leeds General Infirmary.

The pair say that their enduring friendship and passion for their invaluable work has helped them face the challenges the unprecedented virus situation has presented to them.

Jasmin, from Barnoldswick, said: “I began my year of work on a stroke rehabilitation ward, but like the ward Ellie is on, I am also caring for COVID-19 patients at the moment too.

“My colleagues are brilliant, and while it is challenging work, it is very fulfilling.

“I’ve wanted to be a nurse ever since my mum was seriously ill a few years ago and seeing the level of care she received during that period really inspired me to go down the nursing career pathway.”

Both Jasmin and Ellie agree that the camaraderie and support they have received from colleagues has also been crucial.

Ellie, from Colne, said: “The ward I’m on is normally a colorectal ward, but the patients we are currently treating are COVID-19 positive.

“It’s a challenging time, but I work with a great team of colleagues who support each other, and we have adapted well to the situation.

“I’ve also wanted to work in nursing from a young age, and there is no better feeling than witnessing a patient progressively improve back to full health - I find it incredibly rewarding and I wouldn’t change my job for the world.”

Both also agree that the training they received from Pendle-based Nelson and Colne College has been crucial to helping them meet these challenges.

Ellie said: “The course is excellent, and the practical nature of it combined with the work placements I did meant I had quite a lot of experience up to a certain level by the time I progressed to university.

“This was advantageous because the foundation of knowledge and experience I had built up meant I wasn’t overwhelmed when I started a course at a higher level.”

Staff at the college have also paid tribute to Jasmin and Ellie’s inspirational example.

Curriculum leader for Health and Social Work Professions Amanda Boyer said: “I’m exceptionally proud of the work that Jasmin and Ellie are carrying out on the frontline of the NHS, and I know we have many other former students who are in similar career pathways working in hospitals at the forefront of the COVID-19 challenge.

“Neither Jasmin nor Ellie could have foreseen that they could have been working in this unique scenario when they began their respective years out of study.

“However, Health and Social Care is a sector requiring a high degree of skill which they both have in abundance, and they have demonstrated real adaptability too in order to meet the challenges they are facing.”