Hospital exhibition highlights staff experience of pandemic

Galway Daily arts

A special exhibition is hanging at Galway University Hospitals to remember and commemorate the difficult experience of the pandemic for frontline staff.

Staff at UHG and Merlin Park Hospital contributed photographs, poetry, prose, and more that shared their thoughts and experiences of the pandemic.

The call for staff to share their personal and professional experiences came after the announcement in January of a national Day of Remembrance and Recognition.

Margaret Flannery, Saolta Arts Director was one of the staff involved in arranging the exhibition.

She said, “A call went out to colleagues to come forward with prose, poetry, photographs or whatever medium they would like to use to tell their story, of their experience of the pandemic.”

“What we received was eclectic, representing the genuine fear, fatigue and pride of hospital staff.”

“It is good to know that despite the trauma of the past two years there is also a little humour,” Margaret added.

The exhibition is on display in the Arts Corridors in UHG and in Merlin Park until the end of April.

While access to the hospital for visitors is limited at the moment, people attending the hospital for appointments are invited to stop for a few minutes and read a few of the thoughts staff have shared.

Anne McKeown, End of Life Care Coordinator at the hospital said that they asked staff to share some of their thoughts from the early days of the crisis, and beyond.

“Fear of the unknown, to the relief of vaccination, the highs and lows and the effect it had on themselves, their family and work colleagues.”

“It is fair to say that there are some staff who are not yet able to talk about their experience of the pandemic.”

All of the exhibits are displayed anonymously, so that the contributors feel freer to share, and viewers can connect with the sentiment, rather than the person.