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“I just wanted to be able to look after people." Nurse Areema Nasreen’s moving words about her passion for the job

Areema Nasreen. Credit: Family handout

The nurse Areema Nasreen who has died after contracting coronavirus, aged 36, had always wanted to work for the NHS.

In a moving account posted on the Walsall Healthcare trust page in February 2019, Areema detailed her passion for working in the medical field.

She said: “I cry every morning because I’m so happy that I’ve finally realised my dream of becoming a nurse.”

The post revealed that the mother-of-three had wanted to be a nurse since she was a teenager, after caring for her grandmother who suffered a stroke.

“I just wanted to be able to look after people, particularly those who are elderly and vulnerable.”

Walsall Manor Hospital. Credit: Google Maps

She explained the importance of her Muslim faith, her family and her career.

“I was taken to Pakistan to be married at 17 and there were family members who told me that my focus shouldn’t be on study or a career but on making my marriage a supportive one. It felt at that point that nursing was so far away from me.

“I got a job in housekeeping at Walsall Manor Hospital and at that interview found staff to be incredibly supportive of my dream. They didn’t dismiss it in any way although I was applying to do a job that wasn’t in my chosen career.”

– Areema Nasreen, speaking in 2019

That was back in 2003 and Areema concentrated on working hard – all the time talking to as many staff as possible about her desire to take up nursing.

“The trust has been nothing but supportive. I spoke to so many staff who really encouraged me to follow my dream until I gave up housekeeping and became a Healthcare Assistant here while raising my three children with my husband. Then four years ago I finally took the plunge, with the full support of my husband, and started studying to become a nurse.”

– Areema Nasreen
Areema wanted be a nurse since she was a teenager. Credit: PA

Areema qualified in January last year and became a Staff Nurse on Walsall Manor Hospital’s Acute Medical Unit.

She said that she was "so blessed" to have this role and absolutely loved it.

"I want to make a difference and remember occasions such as the time I stayed with a patient who had no family and was End of Life. I held his hand through his final moments and that was a privilege for me. I’m so glad he had someone there."

I would like to think that I could inspire others; particularly within Muslim communities. My own family members have since changed their views as a result of seeing me become the first person in my family to go to university. They are encouraging my younger relatives to follow their dreams and that is amazing.

– Areema Nasreen

Areema added: “My husband was a stranger when I met him and I didn’t want to get married but actually we’ve been really good for each other and he is also doing well in his career as a businessman. I would urge anyone reading this not to give up.”

Tributes have poured in for the Walsall nurse who medics described as “professional and passionate”.

Her vocation in nursing was clear for all to see and she always said that she was so blessed to have the role of a nurse which she absolutely loved because she wanted to feel like ‘she could make a difference’ – and you did, Areema, you will be very sadly missed.

– Richard Beeken, Chief Executive of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

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