A STUDENT nurse whose university course got interrupted when she contracted coronavirus has passed her second year and is now able to complete her final stint.

Mum-of-three, Natasha Jenkins, of Barry, spent 22 days in an intensive care unit after being diagnosed with coronavirus in March this year.

She was taken off a ventilator on Tuesday, April 21, and returned home on Saturday, April 25 - where she was reunited with her children.

Following her recovery, award-winning singer Rod Stewart sent his best wishes together with a cheque for £5000.


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Ms Jenkins, 36, said her condition has improved and she is doing well.

She has had two follow-up appointments after being in the ITU (intensive therapy unit) including a virtual appointment with the ITU consultant, physiotherapist and psychologist just to check on her recovery and see if further help was needed.

She said: “Two weeks ago I also attended an appointment at Llandough Hospital with the ITU consultant who talked me through everything that happened to me.

“He showed me all different stages of my chest x-rays which showed the pneumonia brought on by covid which was interesting.

“I've had further x-rays on my chest which have come back clear.

“However, because i still get breathless i am being referred for further chest CTs (computed tomography scan) as well an echocardiogram to assess my heart to see if that's been affected.

“I've also been left with weakness in my legs and significant pain in my right knee so I'm waiting on a physio appointment to investigate that further.

“Whilst in the coma I was fitted with a tracheostomy and this has affected my voice which still hasn't returned to normal and I am unable to cough properly or shout.

“I am being referred for that to see if there is any evidence of tracheal stenosis caused by the tracheostomy.

“Given that, he was extremely pleased with my progress and seemed quite surprised, but happy that I was returning to nursing.”

Ms Jenkins attends Cardiff university and at the end of July she had to submit a literature review.

“I missed handing it in due to covid,” she said. “And due to the current times if I was to fail that particular paper then I would have been back cohorted and had to re-sit my second year.

“Thankfully even though I’ve been left with cognitive issues and only a couple of weeks to write it, I was able to pass which meant I can progress to my final year.

“I was completely expecting to fail as I really struggled with this paper so was elated when I received the pass and cried because I was so shocked and relieved.

“The course itself is three years and involves 50 per cent on placement and 50 per cent in university doing theory.

“Whilst I was in hospital we were supposed to submit a literature review, sit an exam, and submit a case study as well as complete our portfolio.

“Apart from the literature review these now have to be carried over to year three.

“I am officially back enrolled as a student after taking an interruption of study due to the expected time that I was advised my recovery would take, but as I have improved and got stronger, I wanted to return as soon as possible.

“Our classes are now currently online with the occasional classes in small numbers for certain training, being held socially distanced.

“I am able to return to my placement in November with my cohort however, after having my occupational therapy appointment they've advised I should only start with four hour shifts rather than the normal 12 hour shifts, “It will take me longer to complete the necessary placement hours but this can be reviewed at a later date as I get stronger.

“My goal when I embarked on my nursing course was to eventually become a practice nurse, but now I would love to work in ITU and help others who have been in the same position as myself.”

She added that would she advise others to try to have a positive mindset.

“Since getting my diagnosis and being told my recovery could take six to 12 months,” she said. “It sounded bleak and difficult.

“However, I feel that my positive outlook has helped with my recovery and I just took it at a slow pace.

“I concentrated on the things I could do rather than what I couldn’t do and eventually I became stronger and more independent.

“I’ve joined a gym which is helping me physically and mentally and life is really good at the minute.

“I've received the best support from all my friends and family and I really wouldn't be in the position i am today without them.”