A gift for the NHS video by medical student Kathryn Fu

A medical student inspired by the work she’s seen on placement has produced a video to help lift the spirits of healthcare staff, in what is set to be a very different festive season.

Kathryn Fu, in her third year in the Peninsula Medical School at the University of Plymouth, came up with the idea of recording Mariah Carey’s ‘Hero’ during the initial lockdown, and has now been able to bring the dedication to life. 

The vocals were provided by fellow students from across the University’s Faculty of Health, along with healthcare professionals from University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPNT). The video pays homage to NHS staff past and present – with students holding up messages of thanks amid photos from healthcare settings around the UK.

Kathryn approached The Cube, the University’s business creation and growth service for students, to help make the idea a reality.

She said: 

“It’s been such a tough year for everyone, and the news of a second strain of the virus has made it even more so. But all NHS staff – from clinicians to people in office-based roles – have been truly amazing. I’ve done placements in departments ranging from cardiology to substance abuse, and everyone has been incredible, both in providing patient care and helping me with my learning experience. As a third-year, I haven’t worked directly with any COVID-19 patients, but we all know the extra pressure that the virus has placed on all aspects of healthcare delivery. Watching staff work so selflessly and tirelessly has been beyond inspirational.”

Unable to meet as a choir due to COVID-19 restrictions, each of the 20 participants recorded their parts individually at home, with the vocal arranged by Samuel Adedero, a University of Manchester medical student who intercalated in music at Plymouth. 

Dr Poorna Gunasekera

Dr Gunasekera said: 

“The positive of being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 is that I was treated in Derriford – it’s where all of our students are trained and has a fantastic reputation. In fact, three of the wonderful staff that treated me were former students of the University’s Faculty of Health.

“Our medical students are exposed to healthcare environments in their first month with us, and gain progressively greater exposure with time, seeing first-hand how the NHS works as a team to deliver patient care. Kathryn has always been an outstanding student who has been able to enrich medicine with her own unique skills. That she has celebrated the work she has seen by putting this song together is wonderful.

“It’s hard to get across the gratitude I feel for people saving my life, but this song is a great testament to the hard work of everyone working in one of the most challenging landscapes of our lifetime.”

Since being at university, Kathryn has discovered a way of connecting her love for the arts and medicine.

“I found the beauty within music in bringing people together and in communicating deeper messages,” she said. “Hopefully, the video can help to spread some positivity amongst our NHS staff, who have been working around the clock to keep us safe this year and, like many of us, might not get to see loved ones this Christmas. Even though they all deserve much more than we could offer, I hope our little gift will be able to bring a smile to their faces this festive season.
“I would like to give a personal thank you to all the NHS staff and healthcare students involved from across the country who helped me transform my idea into a reality.”

Medical student Kathryn Fu, who made a video as a gift to the NHS December 2020

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