Grace and Alice embrace

International Nurses Day: Grace Victory reunited with ‘angel’ BNU student nurse one year on

 “Every time Alice was on a shift, the world was a better place,” says YouTube star

A year on from her release from hospital, this week Youtuber Grace Victory was reunited with her ‘angel’, student nurse Alice Finnigan, in an emotional podcast to reflect on their journey and celebrate the invaluable role of nurses on International Nurses Day.

Grace, from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, contracted COVID-19 in late 2020 while heavily pregnant and was put into a coma on Christmas Day the day after giving birth to her son two months prematurely. Grace was given only a 5% chance of survival and, despite suffering multiple organ failures and cardiac arrest when doctors tried to bring her out of the coma early, Grace finally woke up on 8 March 2021 and was reunited with her son, Cyprus, aged 10 weeks old.

Due to muscle wastage and weakness, Grace was moved to Alderbourne Rehabilitation Unit, within The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where she met 19-year old Buckinghamshire New University first-year student nurse, Alice, who was on placement. The pair formed a special bond with Grace describing the student nurse as her “angel” and attributing her recovery to the student nurse’s positivity and excellent care.

Grace and Alice embrace

Ray of sunshine

Grace, who is now fit and healthy and enjoying family life, was ecstatic to see Alice again for the podcast, and she reiterated the incredible impact Alice has had on her life.

When asked what was so special about Alice, Grace said: “Alice just knew what she was doing. The physical care was top notch for me, but Alice is also so full of joy. There was this little ray of sunshine coming through in the mornings. The weekends used to drag when Alice wasn’t there.  Other nurses should look to Alice as an example.”

Alice replied: “From the moment Grace came in, I was gobsmacked at how young she was. Being on placement during the pandemic was incredibly tough. It was all new and we weren’t hearing about this side of COVID – long COVID – on the news and it hit hard. I wanted to give it all I had, and I just tried to make her smile every day. I told her ‘you are going to walk’ and she replied, ‘I hope so’. I said to her, ‘there’s no hoping, you will’. And here she is now.”

Discussing the profession, Grace stated her disbelief that student nurses are not paid. She said: “In my experience, student nurses are the best. Every time Alice was on a shift, the world was a better place. [She is the] most incredible nurse ever.”

Alice discussed the year she has left at university and how her experience with Grace has inspired her to pursue rehabilitation once she is qualified.

Asked what she would say to those considering a nursing degree at BNU, she said: “Do it! It’s so good. I have made friendships there and the staff are really helpful. The course is really good, you can understand what’s going on. I’ve seen different sides of nursing, and seeing Grace’s care as well, it really opened my eyes. There’s still so much out there for me to see.”

Grace replied: “Whatever Alice does, she’s going to be great.”