Coronavirus: Girl, 17, works at hospital after A-levels cancelled

By Hayley Westcott
BBC News

  • Published
Madeleine CrowImage source, MADELEINE CROW
Image caption,
Madeleine Crow said starting work at a hospital during a pandemic was "a very steep learning curve"

A 17-year-old girl whose A-level exams were cancelled due to coronavirus is working on the hospital front line to help "at a time when it's most needed".

Madeleine Crow, from Exeter, Devon, was due to begin working as a healthcare assistant later in the year but said it was a "no-brainer" to start earlier.

"It's scary for everyone," she said. "If this how I can help, I am happy and proud to."

UK schools and colleges were shut last month as a response to the pandemic.

'Incredible' experience

Madeleine, who is working at the Royal Devon and Exeter (RD&E) NHS Foundation Trust, has been carrying out daily routine tests on patients and monitoring their results. She also helps with feeding them and taking them to the toilet.

She said the experience was "a very steep learning curve".

"It is certainly a tense environment, however, everyone is very welcoming and keen to help me learn.

"I feel safe and am enjoying being part of it. I just wanted to care for people."

Madeleine was taking A Levels in Biology and PE, and a BTEC in Health and Social Care, and had planned to travel around Europe after her exams before starting work. She said having them cancelled was a "huge" shock.

"It was very upsetting as I have put so much work and revision into them. There's still much confusion as to what grades will be awarded so I'm not sure whether I'll take the exams another time.

"I'll have to look into that as they'll be held while I'm working so it'll be a tricky decision."

Image source, MADELEINE CROW
Image caption,
Madeleine said she was inspired by her parents, who both work for the NHS

Madeleine said she was inspired by her parents, who both work for the NHS - her dad is on the RD&E senior management team and her mum works in administration at a practice in St Leonard's.

The teenager said the last few weeks in her new job had been "incredible" and that because of coronavirus, she is focusing on looking for symptoms in at-risk patients.

"Maybe in 15 years time, I will be a registered nurse supervising someone on their first shift, and I'll be able to say that when I started mine it was during the coronavirus of 2020."