A Glasgow nurse has cut the trip of her lifetime short to put her skills to the frontline as the country battles coronavirus

This time last month, Ruby Low, from the Isle of Mull, was four weeks into a year-long trip between New Zealand and Australia.

Four weeks later, Ruby is armoured head-to-toe in PPE as she cares for coronavirus patents in intensive care units at the city's Royal Infirmary.

Ruby, 24, said: “It just didn't sit right to wait out in a lockdown for it to end when I have skills that could help at home.

“I felt responsible, but I also wanted to come home to be closer with my family, too.

“I took the decision to come home a bit quicker than my friends did."

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Ruby had been anticipating her trip for a whole year and saved up for six months before she decided to bite the bullet. 

She added: “With everything going on, I don’t feel that sad because I came back to work and there had been so many people have their annual leave cancelled - where they have had no holidays at all.

“So essentially, I just had a really nice, long holiday and now I’m recharged.

“I’m really lucky. Although I did have to cut my trip short I have a job and I’m working and able to make an income. A lot of people elsewhere have been furloughed or lost their jobs."

Ruby had trained to be a nurse at Glasgow University, going straight from her studies to the Royal Infirmary's intensive care wards in 2017.

"I was quite anxious about returning but I guess it is just the uncertainty that is intimidating.”

“It’s not like anything we have ever dealt with before at work, so we are learning a lot as we go – even the most senior and those with the most experience.

"We’re learning more and more every day."

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The intensive care unit has been joined by theatre nurses as all non-emergency operatons have been cancelled across the country.

Ruby added: "It has been challenging but everyone is working hard as a team for the same purpose and we are all grateful for that.

“Normally, we’re used to working in our own separate teams but it’s amazing to see everyone work together.

“Everyone has been so supportive of each other. Our work has been intensified but it has been such a good spirit and we all thank each other for our hard work.

“Everyone really is just wanting the same thing at the end of the day."

For the past four weeks, the nation has united to show solidarity to frontline workers as part Clap for Carers and NHS campaign.

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Commenting on the clap, Ruby said: “A big thing that has been keeping us all going at work is the big Thursday clap.

“It makes us all cry in the ward and  we do feel really appreciated. We give ourselves a clap at 8pm on Thursday too.

“It shows that the whole country is appreciative of us. Not just us though – people who work in supermarkets, people who do deliveries, porters and cleaners.

“Everyone is in this together and that’s really how it feels.”

When asked about her plans for when the pandemic ends, Ruby and her colleagues plan to hold an evening on the scale of a Christmas night out to celebrate their hard work.

“I think at the end of the pandemic, we will be the last ones to come out at the very end of it all.

“We’ll still have a few patients when pubs, shops and cafes are open again so I think after that, we will end up having a massive night out to celebrate our hard work.

Then, Ruby plans to return to New Zealand.

“I would really like to go back to New Zealand even for just a holiday because I didn’t finish what I wanted to do there.

“I had the best time ever, but it doesn’t mean I can’t go again. I’ll be sticking around until this has been seen through. So it hasn’t been cancelled, it has just been put on hold.”

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