Bethany Woodward had such enormous care shown to her by her team, that when Chief Executive Dr Nick Broughton highlighted Caring as one of Oxford Health’s core values in his staff email, she wanted to share her own experience.

Bethany joined Oxford Health nine years ago as a newly qualified nurse. Since 2015 she has been a community psychiatric nurse for the South Oxfordshire Older Adult CMHT. She says: “My job is not just a job to me, but an integral part of who I am.”

Last December after having twin boys, Lucas and Isaac, now aged 19 months, Bethany was excited to return to her team after a year’s maternity leave. But the mum of three struggled to find her feet despite feeling capable of doing the work, which led her to realise that she was suffering with postnatal depression.

“I became incredibly stressed and felt I was failing. I flagged my feelings up to my supervisor and seniors and was given the most wonderful care and support.

“My team cocooned me in their care, encouraging me to not only get the support I needed to get better, but making sure that I still felt valued within my role at work.”

But just as things got better for Bethany, who is pictured with her sons and daughter Isabel, the Coronavirus pandemic hit.

“Once again, my team showed what an incredibly caring entity they are, all adjusting to our new way of working and supporting each other via Teams with smiles on our faces,” she said.

Bethany then became unwell with suspected Covid-19. A swab test was negative, but her symptoms meant she had to self-isolate for six weeks. “Without complaint my team covered my caseload and went above and beyond for my patients,” she said.

Now back at work, she continues to feel cared for by her immediate team as well as other Trust staff who regularly check in with her and in her words “really take the time to listen.”

“I genuinely feel extremely lucky to work in the team and in the Trust that I do. It’s like I have a work family and a home family.”

Dr Nick Broughton, chief executive of Oxford Health, said:

“I’d really like to thank Bethany for sharing her story and it’s wonderful to hear she’s had such fantastic support through some difficult times.”