Meet heart surgeon who retrained as intensive care nurse to fight coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to spread in the United Kingdom, many are beginning to make sacrifices and one of such persons is John Dunning, a leading heart and lung surgeon who retrained as a nurse to help combat the novel disease.

With the increase in the need for medical officers in the fight against the disease, Dunning decided to become an ICU nurse.

He started training two weeks ago, and says the few shifts he has already done have made him a better doctor.

“Usually, I perform surgery then walk away leaving the nursing staff to follow through care of the patient. I’ll have seen them in the clinic before and again post-op,” he said.

Joel, 47, spent two 12-hour shifts being supervised by ICU nurses at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where he normally works in the operating theatre so he could feel confident in his new high-pressure role.

He said, “I always respected my nursing colleagues and I know ICU nursing is intense, but my admiration of them has tripled in recent days.”

“I could see the crisis worsening and knew the number of ICU beds at James Cook was increasing from 25 to 104, so obviously more specialist nurses would be needed. It was a no-brainer.”

Joel has already done an afternoon and a night shift. This week he is doing three night shifts, travelling for an hour from his home in Cumbria. His change of job is supported by his wife Sarah, 49, and their children, Alice, 16, and Edward, 14.

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