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The Charity's Beginnings by founder Natalie Greening

Let’s rewind to 2019 for a second. Can you remember what you were doing or how you were feeling? What about your colleagues? We know that for many working within the health service, feelings of emotional isolation and burnout were manifesting long before the pandemic. We know that statistics supporting this have been widely circulated. We know that we have historically experienced a lack of support and that these issues have only been exacerbated by recent global events. However, it is also well known that times of crisis, whilst hard to endure, have the capacity to inspire innovation and resilience. Who is better placed than nurses and midwives at ground level to be the driving force for sustainable change and at the heart of influencing and implementing such? So, we thought we’d take matters into our own hands…

In 2019, the vision for Nurse Lifeline was first realised-

creating space for nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and the friends and family of such staff to offload and chat with someone who gets it.

Developed collaboratively by a small group of frontline staff united by an acute awareness of the pressures facing the workforce, Nurse Lifeline becomes the first nursing and midwifery-led initiative to offer a national, free and confidential peer-to-peer listening service by nurses and midwives for nurses and midwives. But we’re not planning to stop there, we’re all about creating community. We want to use our platform to empower, encourage and to amplify the voices of those within the nursing and midwifery workforce through sharing uplifting stories of those who have overcome challenges and through creating a service that can be shaped and contributed to at all levels.

During the onset of the pandemic, things really started picking up pace behind the scenes at Nurse Lifeline, and in June 2021, we were thrilled to launch a 12-month pilot of the listening service. 

It’s been a pretty tough ride. We’ve navigated this process in between our full-time clinical roles in ICU, out on the streets and on the labour ward. We’ve held bleary-eyed meetings in between night shifts with CEOs of other charities, written funding proposals during breaks from our PPE, taught ourselves about the intricacies of charity legal requirements, built a website, secured a £50K grant, recruited a Charity Operations Manager and Communications team, and received acknowledgement from the CNO, amongst other things. The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife was not the year that was anticipated. Yet, we hope that through our combined efforts, Nurse Lifeline brings the promise of an unwavering positive legacy, lasting far beyond the pandemic.


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