The 12th May is International Nurses Day, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. 2020 is also the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, marking the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth.

An embedded nursing team within an alcohol and drugs service is a rare and valuable thing and it’s not only our service users who feel the benefit of them being with us. Today we would like to celebrate the contribution that our nurses make to the work of BDP and thank the nurses we work with in partnership across Bristol.

Their problematic alcohol or drug use hasn’t stopped just because the world has - so we can’t either.

- BDP Nurse

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our nurses’ roles have understandably changed as they respond to the challenges of lockdown, social distancing and embrace best PPE practice - but they have been busier than ever. They have been taking their skills and services to the people that need it most, with increased street outreach and targeted services at Bristol’s homeless hostels.


We caught up with Nurse Rosa earlier today to find out how she has been adjusting to the current challenges.

"Nursing during COVID-19 has been like living in the Land of Oz – but fortunately at BDP we have the heart, the nerve and the brain. This morning we are going out in central Bristol to look for some vulnerable people that may have physical health needs that we can support.

"It’s nice to meet people where they are and be with them during a time where many of the services they rely on aren’t functioning properly. But it’s also worrying because they’ve still got so much going on. Their problematic alcohol or drug use or their poor mental health hasn’t stopped just because the world has - so we can’t either."

"We visit homeless hostels in our truck (the Mobile Harm Reduction Centre) to provide support on their doorstep. I think all of us are finding it hard to know what day it is during lockdown, so it is nice to visit as a routine, providing them with a bit of structure and a change of scene.

"People are usually delighted to see us. There’s not so many people out and about and a friendly face goes a long way. We always follow social distancing and PPE guidelines as it’s important that we keep them and ourselves safe. Sometimes it is difficult not to feel like you can be truly alongside somebody, especially people who are in distress, but you just have to find a way to manage it. It's very important to be out there visibly, to let them know that BDP and Homeless Health are still open and there for them during this time."